Speakers at the just ended first ever Africa Week of Action for Child Online Protection (AWA4COP) symposium have urged African countries to take seriously the issue of protecting children online.
The symposium was part of the inaugural campaign aimed at urging African countries to consider Child Online Protection Guidelines to develop inclusive, multi-stakeholder national strategies for online child protection.
The campaign was held under theme, Make Child Online Protection Visible.
One of the lead speakers for the event held on June 11, Burkina Faso’s minister for digital economy and postal development, Hadja Fatima Ouattara said “while it is common ground that information and communication technologies are an essential factor in the competitiveness of businesses and nations, it should be noted that they also carry threats. Indeed, they are also used for malicious purposes or even infringing on the rights of individuals.”
She added that “there is a pressing need to ensure appropriate, peaceful and secure access to electronic communications services for sensitive layers such as children.”
Ouattara urged “African countries to seriously address online child protection and make it a priority in development policies.”
During today’s symposium – Africa Week of Action for Child Online Protection #AWA4COP Hon. Fatima Quattara (Guest of Honour) stated that “The relevance of this initiative is certain and does not call for further development; 1/1 pic.twitter.com/12AMXupimd
— BloggingGhana (@BloggingGhana) June 11, 2021
John Omo, ATU Secretary General and Andrew Rugege who is the regional director for Africa at the African Telecommunication Union and the representative to the AU were among the speakers.
?@ITUAfrica was pleased to take part in this important #AWA4COP symposium on #OnlineSafety of children/young people – thanks to @atu_uat & @COnlineAfrica for providing this insightful platform to give visibility & make child online protection one of our regional priorities. https://t.co/87VMQ1EePa
— ITU Regional Office in Africa (@ITUAfrica) June 11, 2021
The event held via zoom was hosted by African Telecommunication Union (ATU) and Child Online Africa (COA).
ATU and COA among other recommendations asked African Governments to consider the following:
- Develop a national strategy for Child Online Protection to include actions to be taken against perpetrators of violence and abuse of children.
- Build capacity for frontline workers regarding online-related risks.
- Initiate a multi-stakeholder approach for country-level implementation of strategies.
- Ensure a dedicated and easy-to-use channel for reporting incidents and counselling.
- Commit resources to the various sectors of Child Protection to mainstream Online Safety concerns while making it effective.
- Listen and respond to the voices of those affected.
The Africa Week of Action for Child Online Protection (AWA4COP) according to organizers will now be an annual campaign that will be taking place every 2nd week of June.