Youth who are bullied and abused may retaliate through violence

South African based Phambano Technology Development Centre NPC have created a capacity building programme, #ThembaSouthernAfrica (formerly #hashtagISAIDNO), to empower and equip NGOs with the necessary tools required to eliminate cyberbullying and online abuse.

Who better than our local community protectors i.e civil society to address this growing epidemic head on? It is important to teach parents, educators and youth swiftly on the dangers relating to cyberbullying and online abuse, and NPOs have the direct link to all three” says Samantha Barnard, who is based at the Cape Town office and heads up the programme.

Daily, I speak to nonprofit representatives about the dangers of the internet for our youth and how the landscape has changed and continues to change drastically. As a digital marketing trainer, I recognized early that our youth are not equipped enough to use social media and the likes responsibly. Having recently been made aware of online “SLUT LISTS” in schools (boys add girls to these lists and typically a form of abuse follows), I along with the NPC Board, have recognized how important it is to tackle this issue head-on and with Technology. Our daily function is to equip civil society with tech donations and discounts to help them streamline their day-to-day activities and we now welcome the responsibility of equipping them with the necessary tools to empower communities to stop cyberbullying and online abuse.

To launch the programme, an event was held in Cape Town on 09 March 2018 titled: ‘How Your Organisation Can Help End Cyberbullying’

Thereafter, nonprofit organisations have been invited to attend 4 hour events across Southern Africa, free of charge, and were given a range of tech tools and strategies to further educate the youth in their direct communities.

When I started developing this programme I felt it necessary to create a unique train-the-trainer system that is easy to understand as a parent, educator or youth. The people that are closest to us and love us the most are often best equipped to help end (or deal with the effects of) bullying and online abuse. When taking into consideration the fact that many nonprofit organisations have personal and long-standing relationships within their communities, it was only natural to want to equip them, as trainers, first.”

Phambano Technology Development Centre NPC’s hopes are that every nonprofit organisation across Southern Africa will have access to the #ThembaSouthernAfrica resources and will simply pay-it-forward.

The NPC is currently reaching out to National and International stakeholders to partner and welcomes any invitation to address nonprofits in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.