Four CSOs Gain Knowledge and Skills on Digital Security and Safety in Yaounde

Four CSOs Gain Knowledge and Skills on Digital Security and Safety in Yaounde

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[Yaoundé- 29 March 2023] From 20 – 22 March 2023, four civil society organisations (CSOs) came together in Yaounde under the initiative of a training for CSOs on Digital Security and Safety by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in collaboration with TechSoup and Hivemind.

This training took place simultaneously in three countries (Cameroon, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire) and had participants engage in a participatory approach learning experience on the subject of digital security.

Digital security and safety refer to the measures and practices which individuals and organisations take to protect their digital assets, such as computers, networks, software, and data, from unauthorised access, theft, or damage. Digital security and safety for organisations, includes protecting personal employee information, financial information, and sensitive data as well as ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital assets and protecting against cyber threats like malware, phishing, man-in-the-middle, denial of access. By prioritising digital security and safety, individuals and organisations can maintain the privacy and security of their digital assets and reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches.

CSOs play a critical role in advocating for social justice, human rights, and other important causes. However, as they operate daily in today’s increasingly digital world, they face numerous security and safety challenges that can compromise their work and put their staff and stakeholders at risk. Some of these risks may be even unknown to them and could go on for unlimited timelines. Here are some key steps that CSOs can take to enhance their digital security and safety. CSOs often deal with sensitive data and information, making digital security a top priority. In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever to prioritise digital security and safety. Which is why WACSI prioritises this training for CSOs in the region.

This three-day training had participants engage on subjects such as introduction to cybersecurity and cybercrime, disinformation, digital self, online settings, safe browsing, secure communications, physical, device and network securities. Most importantly, the training gave participants an opportunity to envisage context specific security plans and policies for their organisations.

Through this training, I have been able to learn a lot on the importance of safeguarding our data as an organisation” – Ballo Ngomna, Research Officer, Local Youth Corner Cameroon.

Overall, through this training, some key steps CSOs gathered they can take to protect their digital assets include:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment: Identify potential risks to your organisation’s digital security, including data breaches, phishing attacks, and malware. This will help you prioritise your security efforts.
  2. Creating and using strong passwords: Ensure that all employees use strong passwords, which should include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Passwords should be changed regularly.
  3. Use two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a second form of identification, such as a code sent to your phone or email.
  4. Encrypt data: Encrypting your data makes it more difficult for hackers to access sensitive information. Use encryption software to protect your files and emails.
  5. Train employees: Educate your employees on the importance of digital security and provide regular training sessions to keep them up to date on the latest threats and best practices.
  6. Back up and double back up your data: Regularly backing up your data ensures that you don’t lose important information in the event of a security breach or cyber-attack.
  7. Monitor your systems: Regularly monitor your systems for any suspicious activity, such as unauthorised access attempts or unusual network traffic.

By taking these steps, CSOs can help protect their digital assets and maintain the trust of their stakeholders.

Amongst other things, this training created a platform for sharing best practices on digital safety by CSOs and collaborating to foster the agenda on digital security and safety of CSOs in west Africa which had been initiated by the implementing organisations.

In the next phase of this capacity strengthening initiative, some of these organisations as per an application and selection process, will be provided with a seed grant which will permit them to amplify the knowledge and skills provided for in this training. This will give them an opportunity to implement lessons learnt in order to document the models provided for in this training and their efficiency in keeping CSOs and their digital assets safe from online security threats.

Thanks to WACSI, Techsoup and Hive Mind, these organisations depart more equipped to provide themselves and their organisations with strategies and remedies to ensure a tight lock security for their digital assets.

 

 

About the author

Adies Akyeiri Bennin Bezankeng

Adies is a Project and Communication Officer at Local Youth Corner Cameroon. She holds a master's degree in Humanitarian Action and Development from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon working in Humanitarian, Peace and Development spaces.

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WACSI Communications

Adies is a Project and Communication Officer at Local Youth Corner Cameroon. She holds a master's degree in Humanitarian Action and Development from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon working in Humanitarian, Peace and Development spaces.

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FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.

DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.

KWABENA KRODUAH

Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.

CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.