We recently held the exciting 3-day online interactive event: ‘Brave Digital Spaces! The Online Sexuality Education Exchange’, together with the Love Matters Global Network as part of the RHRN2 programme. The event focused on building digital communities to address sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), looking at everything from digital accessibility to innovative SRHR content to censorship by big tech. We were joined by some of the best experts from the digital media and SRHR fields.
Building Digital Communities for Social Change
At RNW Media, we specialise in building digital communities for social change. We build large-scale digital communities across a range of platforms such as websites, social media channels (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and other channels. Through our platforms, young people access information and diverse viewpoints that enable them to make informed decisions, connect to relevant services and influence decision-makers.
On day one of ‘Brave Digital Spaces’, we delved into building digital communities for social change and how to create safe and inclusive online spaces. We were joined by experts from the Love Matters Global Network on how to create inclusive teams for inclusive content. We jumped into building brave, safe and inclusive online spaces, facilitated by Digital Engagement Manager, Ema-Olori Ayonmagbemi from Love Matters Naija (Nigeria). Ema discussed different moderator and moderation techniques, navigating bias and ensuring sustainable communities. A key component of the session looked at self-care, being aware of burnout and compassion fatigue, particularly when working as a moderator in digital communities impacted by oppressive policies and/or injustices. It was insightful to see the response of the audience identifying their own behaviours to strengthen themselves against burnout.
Engaging Online SRHR Content
How can you create engaging online content about SRHR? On day two of ‘Brave Digital Spaces’, session one dived into all there is to know about creating engaging online SRHR content from looking at how to reach young audiences, to using instant messaging for inclusive content creation, to gamifying online sexuality education. A key highlight was the spell cast on us by social media wizard Michael Okunson from Love Matters Kenya as he shared his social media tips and tricks to garner 1000 comments from just one sentence. Discussion was sparked around how to reach communities that have less access to social media and are challenging to reach – with participants such as Love Matters Kenya sharing their methods for targeting the blind or Yaga Burundi discussing how they reach rural young people through offline activities.
Dealing with Censorship and Opposition Online
The second key session of day two looked at tackling censorship and opposition online, particularly posed by social media platforms. Fascinating presentations and discussions explored censorship through Facebook advertisements, how to campaign for the LGBT+ community despite censorship policies, the restrictions of language and ultimately how to create inclusive engagement in restrictive settings. Emphasis was placed on ensuring to work collectively when working against censorship and opposition, tying into learnings from day one on teamwork and self-care as a moderator.
We were over the moon to be joined by Klára Keharová, Visual Facilitator & Graphic Recorder from humancraft, to visually summarise the key moments from each day at ‘Brave Digital Spaces!’
After all of the compelling sessions held by partners showcasing their different expertise in digital media and online sexuality education – we wanted to keep the momentum going and provide a long-term space for partners to continue linking and learning together. In that spirit, we are setting up a community of practice (CoP) on digitalisation with partners for the RHRN2 programme. This will be a space for members to mutually share knowledge and experience on digitalisation related to SRHR within the RHRN2 programme!
We can’t wait to see how everyone implements the learnings from the event’s sessions in their own digital communities. A big thank you again to all that joined us at ‘Brave Digital Spaces!’