Ilizwe Lam, a new youth online safety programme, has been launched in South Africa as a result of a partnership between Facebook and Digify Africa. According to both organizations, the aim is to train 1,000 South African youths aged between 13 to 18 years old across high schools and youth groups nationwide in understanding how they can stay safe online, provide practical tips and guides, whilst creating a number of youth ambassadors to provide peer-to-peer support.
The Ilizwe Lam — which is isiXhosa for ‘My World’— curriculum was created in consultation with various youth groups around South Africa, who, among other things, revealed that they'd like to be creative online and tell their own stories.
L-R: Terry-Anne Simelane-Mathabathe (Junior Digital Content Producer at Digify Africa), Nqobile Tshabalala (student / Ilizwe lam youth ambassador), and Jamie-Lee Simelane (student/ Ilizwe lam youth ambassador).
“The digital economy is growing fast in Africa, opening up a world of opportunities for young South Africans to connect with content, other people and create sustainable livelihoods for themselves. We're really proud to have co-created this programme with young South Africans, to enable them to safely tap into all the resources of the online universe,” said Qhakaza Mthembu, Head of Strategy at Digify Africa.
The iLizwe Lam youth safety training programme will cover topics such as:
Looking after your digital footprint and managing your privacy online.
What to do when you encounter inappropriate content or behaviour on social media.
How to decide what you share online.
What to do when you share something online that you regret.
Dealing with cyber-bullying, harassment and scams.
Examples of young digital hustlers furthering their studies and careers by accessing content and making connections online.
Emilar Gandhi, Public Policy Manager at Facebook Africa.
Also present at the launch of iLizwe Lam was Emilar Gandhi, Public Policy Manager at Facebook Africa. Gandhi explained that the Internet is a gateway to a world of economic opportunities, educational possibilities, fun, and friendships for many young South Africans.
“But it is also important for them to learn how to protect their personal information and to safeguard themselves online. Increasing awareness and ensuring that young people feel empowered is important and something we're committed to. That is why I'm proud to be launching Ilizwe Lam to form part of the work Facebook is already doing in South Africa," said Gandhi.
The youth ambassadors for iLizwe Lam also added that apart from fake news, which affects everyone on the Internet, issues such as cyber bullying, cat fishing, etc. are some of the serious challenges they face on the Internet. As such, they explained, the training they have received as part of the programme has helped them in how to handle the issues they face online and what tools are available to them, both online and offline, to deal with them.
Cover image credit: Qhakaza Mthembu of Digify Africa at the iLizwe Lam launch.