“The more we encouraged women to grab the opportunities for self-expression and participation presented by the internet, the more we needed to raise and increase awareness of the associated risks, and detail threats as well.”
“In thinking about contributing to a feminist internet, I imagined it becoming a safer space for women to self-express and tell their own stories. Her Zimbabwe as an organization created a web portal to celebrate women and amplify their thought leadership. This was done with the thinking that this would contribute to the creation and claiming of safe spaces. But just the provision of alternative spaces for self-expression was not enough. The more we encouraged women to grab the opportunities for self-expression and participation presented by the internet, the more we needed to raise and increase awareness of the associated risks, and detail threats as well. As well as how to apply technologies of freedom to protect their privacy and overcome inevitable digital misogyny. The more women become bolder and self-expressive in highly patriarchal societies like Zimbabwe, the more they risk experiencing attacks on women-centric content, or abuse of their person and characters online. This is why I founded the Tactical Communications Network, or TCN, within Her Zimbabwe. The TCN is a safe space where selected women activists meet regularly to learn and share skills, while expanding minds and opportunities, as well as growing their technical skills in contemporary information tools, tactics, and strategies, to achieve impact for the organizations that they represent. I envision a curriculum that encompasses, among other things, building learning communities, turning information into action, and leveraging knowledge and digital security. Today, all members of the TCN are on a continual path of digital security learning.”
Natasha Msonza is a member of FRIDA’s grantee partner Her Zimbabwe, an organization that seeks to raise awareness about Zimbabwean women’s lives by creating a digital repository of knowledge through unique content generation, documentation and visualisation of Zimbabwean women’s issues.