Running the IFF Fellowship has given us vital experience that we want to share. We are excited to launch the Community Empowerment Program (CEP), a unique program designed to improve the skills of community organizers working in the internet freedom field. The CEP will identify, train, and empower them to nurture and safeguard their communities, and in turn, they will increase the resilience of human rights defender networks around the world.
At the IFF, we believe that the internet is a community of communities. As these communities grow, so does their demand for community development capacity and resources. Connecting and empowering diverse and inclusive communities is a fundamental aspect for the defense and promotion of internet freedom globally. However, most of the people who are building and engaging communities at the intersection of human rights and tech don’t have access to resources to improve their community-building skill set.
The program will bring together a diverse cohort of 10 passionate community organizers from the internet freedom space, enhancing their skills in community building, secure organizing, physical/digital security training and facilitation, among others. The cohort will also play a key role in the IFF by reviewing and curating the IFF 2020 agenda. In addition, the CEP program will assist the cohort in obtaining resources to kick-start or grow their own community empowerment projects, and will provide exposure to strengthen and create ties between their local communities and other groups around the world.
The main activities for CEP participants will be: training and skill development through the length of the program; participating in the Community Empowerment Summit; developing/kick-starting a community empowerment project; performing community outreach for and curating the 2020 IFF program; and participating and presenting at the 2020 IFF.
Meet the Community Builders!
Yosr Jouini is a software engineer from Tunis, Tunisia. Her work focuses on the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence. Currently, she serves as an Article 19 fellow in the algorithmic decision-making track, where she researches AI development in the Middle East and Africa. Previously, Yosr was a fellow of the African School on Internet Governance and the Middle East and Adjoining Countries School on Internet Governance.
As a first generation learner and a proud Dalit queer person, Dhiren recently acquired their doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University with the dissertation “Queer Cartographies of Desires in Delhi.” Their research maps the power dynamics within gay dating apps to foreground discrimination and alienation of queer bodies that come from marginalized locations of caste and religion. Currently, they are working as a research associate with Project Mukti where they work towards empowering and co-creating equitable spaces for marginalized communities.
Robin participates in open source communities in civic tech and Internet freedom in East Asia. Their work focuses on participatory co-creation and open collaboration.
Tamara is a journalist from Azerbaijan who spent the last five years with Freedom House in Washington, D.C. focusing on providing emergency assistance to human rights defenders in East Europe and Eurasia. Aside from Azerbaijan focused on Russia, Turkey and Central Asia; feminism and LGBTQI rights.
Jorge Luis is co-founder and president of the Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers, a non-profit organization based in Edinburg Texas. He is leading the Investigative Reporting Border Hub project to produce data-driven stories on corruption issues at both sides of the U.S. – Mexico border. he created digital maps to track crime, corruption, and attacks to journalists in Panama, Mexico, and Iraq. He developed the Salama web application for journalists and human rights defenders to conduct a risk assessment and improve their security posture.
Sunhee is part of the Project Resilience team based in Seoul, Korea. Project Resilience supports North Korea human rights defenders to enhance their digital security capacity, build a strong community to collaborate better, and develop connections with global activists communities, including the Internet freedom community.
Pablo Aguilera is a genderqueer activist that have devoted their career to setting underserved populations at the center of international development. For 11 years, they have collaborated with national and international organizations in more than 20 countries on issues related to Digital Rights, LGBTQI+, HIV, and SRHR. Pablo works at R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales and is a member of the board of All Out. They are focused on developing new synergies and evidence-informed strategies to defend LGBTQI+ rights in the digital realm.
Sub Saharan Africa
Agenonga Robert is a digital security consultant, trainer, auditor and a blogger based in Uganda. Agenonga is currently working with the Environmental Defenders of Ngetha Media Association for Peace as a senior researcher and consultant offering digital and physical security guidance, delivering technical support to local small and medium human rights & environmental groups in rural and peri-urban areas in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo & Kenya working on human rights, corporate accountability, press freedom and political mobilisation.
Currently based in Santiago de Chile, Andres is an architect with a Masters in Project Management. Andres is the lead of FADe Project and Cofounder of South Lighthouse, an organization that specializes in planning, consulting, training, monitoring and overseeing projects oriented to the development of technologies in the service of human rights, security and privacy.