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Kenya hosts Africa’s first Google Web Rangers Summit

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Kenya is hosting the first Web Rangers summit in Africa aimed at spreading awareness about internet safety and promoting responsible digital citizenship on the continent.

Web Rangers is a Google-led digital literacy programme aimed at promoting and educating the youth about how the internet is an empowering tool relevant to their lives and their future.

Drawn from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, 26 Web Rangers will attend the summit at Brook House School Nairobi.

The summit which runs until Friday September 7, is a forum to meet and share ideas on how the internet can be made a safer place for young users in their respective countries.

In a statement read on her behalf by the Deputy Director Ministry of ICT Kenya Timothy Were, Principal Secretary Broadcasting and Telecommunication Fatuma Hirsi said the need to protect children while using the internet has never been more important because most content online upsets them.

“I congratulate Google in conceptualising the programme and scaling it to many countries in such a short time, and for your work in building into your products and services tools and resources that help families to use the Internet safely and responsibly,” said the PS.

Her sentiments were echoed by Google’s Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, EMEA Emerging Markets, Doron Avni who said children have been exposed to some of the worst forms of exploitation, violence and abuse online.

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“At Google, we are deeply committed to protecting children on the Internet and providing all of our users with a safe experience because protecting kids is a responsibility we all share, and our business depends on people being online. We need it to be a safe space.” said Mr. Avni.

Contributors who spoke during the summit programme agreed on a flurry of issues including holding boot camps that will revolve around making campaign videos for online audiences.

The videos will cover topics such as diversity and inclusion, trust, tolerance and responsibility.

Participants will also learn how to tackle real life policy issues focusing on cyber bullying, sexting, sharing personal information online and catfishing.

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In Kenya, Web Rangers was launched in 2015 at Precious Girls Secondary, Riruta.

The programme has been implemented in over 176 schools across Kenya, directly trained 3,500 students and 1,500 teachers and indirectly (through peer training) reached over 30,000 students.

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