We are pleased to announce the arrival in Geneva of the 2015 Internet Freedom Fellows:
The 2015 Internet Freedom Fellows program focuses on the theme “Empowering women and girls: the power of IT“. It will bring five bloggers, activists on human rights from Kenya, Brunei, Zambia, Palestine and Belarus to Geneva and to the United States to meet with fellow defenders, U.S. and international government leaders and members of civil society engaged in information technology, human rights and women’s empowerment through the internet.
A key goal of the program is to share experiences and lessons learned on the importance of a free Internet and an engaged use of the social media to the promotion of women’s freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.
The 2015 Geneva program is organized in partnership with the Geneva-based NGO GMEDIA Center.
The 2015 Fellows are:
Teah Abdullah is the curator of the blog Why Brunei Needs Feminism. She is the editor-in-chief of Songket Alliance which encourages writers to document and reflect their life in Brunei. She also co-runs B:Read, a Brunei organization advocating reading as a form of community building and creative empowerment. She is currently doing her MA in Anthropology of Development and Rights at Goldsmiths College funded by the Chevening scholarship.
Saed Karzoun is a young Palestinian entrepreneur founder and CEO of “Taghyeer” Social Media Company, a non-profit organization working on developing Social Media usage in Palestine and making a change in society on issues revolving around women and youth in a society still living under occupation. In 2003 he was a co-founder of Al Kamandjati Music Association dedicated to teach Palestinian children music specifically in refugee camps in Palestine and Lebanon. In 2010-2014 he was appointed the Head of the Board of Directors of Sharek Youth Forum. He has led various media campaigns, social, health, economic and political initiatives, and partnered with local and international institutions. His projects call for positive change, building dialogue between the Middle East and the rest of the World. Saed holds a BA degree in Media and Journalism and resides in Ramallah.
Meluse Kapatamoyo is a female Journalist and blogger living in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka. She has been a freelance journalist since 2003. She has written for a number of national and international publications and is now a correspondent for the BBC in Zambia. As a blogger, Meluse has been able to make use of free internet to promote women and children’s rights. She has also used her journalistic skills to get Zambians, especially young women to open up about issues that are directly impacting their human rights and their health, tackling sensitive topics that mainstream government-run publications are not likely to publish. Through the internet, she has been able to connect her followers to various health experts that could help with service provision and expert advice. Her blog is www.pokeyourmind.blogspot.com.
Irina Alkhovka was born and raised in Belarus, and is a passionate gender and women’s human rights activist and feminist. In 1996 she graduated from Belarusian State University, Department of Sociology, obtaining the first diploma on gender issues in the history of the program. At the age of 23, Ms. Alkhovka she was elected as Board President of the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) of Belarus. She later went on to work on preventing trafficking in women and in 2007 was awarded the German UNIFEM Award for the “excellent work in the field of anti-trafficking in Belarus” for her leadership of the La Strada Belarus program singled out among 100 other similar projects in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2010 she founded a new NGO in 2010 called “Gender Perspectives” to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. The organization provides direct services for survivors and those at risk, builds capacities of professional groups for sustainable responses, advises governmental institutions and international community on relevant policies and laws, influences media and Internet to reflect human rights issues.
Jessica Musila is the Executive Director of Mzalendo Trust, the organization behind www.mzalendo.com, Kenya’s premier Parliamentary Monitoring Initiative. Over the last four years, she has spearheaded Mzalendo’s evolution from a blog into a largely self-sustaining site with an organization supporting it. She is passionate about social justice and prior to her involvement with Mzalendo has worked in the governance, development and humanitarian sectors. She has held various roles at mySociety UK, Hivos Foundation – Twaweza project, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the International Committee Red Cross (ICRC). Jessica has a B.A. in Communication and Community Development from Daystar University, Kenya and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Germany.