Empowering a Safer Digital Space in Kenya: The KensafeSpace Initiative

In a world where the digital landscape is ever-evolving, ensuring a safe and inclusive online environment is more crucial than ever. The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE), in collaboration with Internews, KICTANET, Internet Without Borders (IWB), Tribeless Youth, Mzalendo Trust, and Watoto Watch Network, and with the support of European Union has launched a groundbreaking initiative to create a safer digital space in Kenya.

The Kenya Safe and Inclusive Digital Space (KensafeSpace) project aims to strengthen the voice, capacity, and influence of Kenyan human rights organizations in promoting and safeguarding a democratic, safe, and inclusive digital space. By harnessing opportunities and addressing challenges presented by new technologies, the initiative seeks to promote human rights and democracy in the use of digital technologies, including AI.

BAKE, as a key player in this collaborative effort, will be involved in several activities aimed at achieving these objectives. One of the primary goals is to protect content creators, particularly women and other marginalized groups, from online violence. BAKE will also participate in piloting a toolkit developed by Internews to track and monitor harmful online content. This toolkit will enable the identification and response to harmful speech, ensuring
a safer digital environment for all users.

Additionally, BAKE will conduct training for a network of Kenyan digital content creators to enhance their ability to fact-check, counter disinformation, and hate speech. By empowering content creators with the necessary skills and knowledge, they can use their influence to verify information and counter harmful narratives, ultimately promoting a more informed and responsible digital space.

Public awareness forums will also be a crucial component of the KensafeSpace initiative. BAKE will host both in-person and virtual forums to discuss the state of digital democracy in Kenya. These forums will highlight the issues of online violence, disinformation, and hate speech, targeting human rights defenders, content creators, and marginalized groups. By bringing these issues to the forefront, the initiative aims to foster a more inclusive and
democratic digital space.

In continuing with the already existing annual research project “The State of the Internet in Kenya”.BAKE will conduct research and publish the outcome under this project. This report will analyze the challenges, opportunities, and potential interventions needed to improve the digital space for human rights. By providing a comprehensive analysis, the initiative seeks to inform and guide future efforts towards a safer and more inclusive digital environment.

The KensafeSpace project is a significant step towards creating a safer, more inclusive digital space in Kenya. By empowering human rights organizations, fostering digital literacy, and promoting responsible use of technology, the initiative has the potential to make a meaningful impact on the digital landscape. As the project unfolds, it is essential for all stakeholders to collaborate and support these efforts to ensure a brighter digital future for Kenya.