Sista and CARE in Vanuatu representatives celebrate the launch of materials with GO! participants.  Image:  CARE in Vanuatu

International Girls in ICT Day: GO! Vanuatu

Source: ABC International Development

The Girls Online (GO!) Project strives to empower young women in Vanuatu and Tonga to engage safely and meaningfully online. It is led by ABC International Development in partnership with Portable Design Studio (Australia), CARE in Vanuatu, Sista (Vanuatu), and Tutu on the Beach (Tonga) and supported by DFAT’s Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program. The GO! team is committed to amplifying young women’s voices and elevating their presence in the digital landscape. To fulfil this commitment, the project acknowledges young women as experts in their own experience and supports them to design and produce digital media solutions to address cybersafety issues they have identified.

Sista and CARE in Vanuatu representatives celebrate the launch of materials with GO! participants.  Image:  CARE in Vanuatu
Sista and CARE in Vanuatu representatives celebrate the launch of materials with GO! participants. Image: CARE in Vanuatu

This year's International Girls in ICT Day 2022 was held on April 28, and a group of young women in Vanuatu, who have become role models in their commitment to cybersafety, demonstrated this year's theme, Safety and Access.

As part of ABC International Development’s GO! project the women came together to produce media that shines a spotlight on cyber safety, to demonstrate that cyber threats are a common issue for young people in Vanuatu and that there are ways to resolve these situations.

The women focussed on image-based abuse, cyberbullying and a lack of online protection and have brought together community organisations and government services to promote safety and access. Through a process of co-design, the young women in Vanuatu identified threats and barriers to their digital safety and access and developed the solutions that they wanted but were not available. With the support of the ABC and GO! in-country partners, CARE in Vanuatu and Sista, the young women were able to bring their ideas to life.

Young women in Vanuatu designing solutions to cybersafety issues during a GO! workshop. Image:  CARE in Vanuatu
Young women in Vanuatu designing solutions to cybersafety issues during a GO! workshop. Image: CARE in Vanuatu

They drove the design of a cybersafety booklet and wrote scripts for three videos, which they then helped to produce, with the help of another non-government organisation Wan Smol Bag. Each video tackled an issue they had identified for community discussion (image-based abuse, cyberbullying, and lack of online protection).

Watch the cyberbullying video ‘No spoelem naraman onlaen’ below and check out the full playlist here!

No spoelem naraman onlaen

No spoelem naraman onlaen - Girls Online! Cyber safety in Vanuatu CYBERBULLYING

The videos reached over 200,000 people through the Sista Facebook page alone. The videos are being shared online (Facebook and YouTube) and all feature role models to help guide and empower young women to try to safely resolve what can be distressing situations.

"Now we can use this knowledge of Girls Online cybersafety to share with our families and people in our communities." - CARE Project Manager

The GO! materials were launched earlier this year with stakeholders including the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Health's Mind Care Clinic and representatives from CARE, Sista, and Wan Smolbag.

Official launch of the GO! cybersafety materials. Image:  CARE in Vanuatu
Official launch of the GO! cybersafety materials. Image: CARE in Vanuatu

On viewing the materials for the first time, a Ministry of Education and Training representative stated:

“The Girls Online cybersafety resources are really an excellent tool for the advocacy and awareness on cybersafety. Online bullying is observed to be a growing issue among secondary school students in Vanuatu and in particular girls and boys who are both victims and perpetrators of such activity. Thus, awareness and advocacy in the junior and senior schools is vital as it will inform students to be ethical when they are online.”

The Vanuatu Police Force has also endorsed the project and has distributed the video on image-based abuse though its social media.

The Girls Online (GO!) project is supported by the Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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