Internet Shutdowns and Social Media Crackdowns in Africa

As a leading social innovation centre, we play an active role in the engagement of citizens, civil society, civil servants, researchers and development practitioners in development of novel solutions to local challenges.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) across West Africa are showing innovation by using technology to advance their work. Over the years in the course of our work, we have discovered that the current crop of technologists at CSOs across Africa are not adequately equipped to tackle the technical needs of the advocacy space. This dearth of competent technologists in the advocacy space not only diminishes the desired impact of the work of CSOs, but also puts them at risk of cybersecurity mishaps such as data breaches and identity theft.

To solve the aforementioned problem, we aggregated both current technologists and aspiring public-interest technologists across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya into a community of practice programme. They received training and peer support to leverage expertise to tackle critical technology issues as well as wider issues facing the civic space.

The training spanned across the focus areas of:

  • Digital Security
  • Computer Networking
  • Data Analytics
  • Internet Rights and Policy
  • Graphics Design
  • User Interface and User Experience Design

The Community of Practice (CoP) programme has created an environment for practice members to reach a global audience of other public-interest technologists, organisations and communities across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to foster an environment of learning and growth.

The practice members embarked on various group projects across three main groups.

  • Digital Security Auditors
  • Digital Security Trainers
  • Internet Rights Watch

The Internet Rights Watch Group focused on shining light on issues around Internet Surveillance and Surveillance Capitalism, and Internet Rights and Shutdowns across Africa. The Digital Rights Group, the Internet Rights Watch team conducted studies to understand and contextualize internet shutdowns in four different countries in Africa, namely: Nigeria, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

You can access the full report for free here: