Aisha Dabo

Feminist cyberactivism for democracy and human rights.
Senegal / Gambia

Journalist and cyberactivist in Gambia and Senegal. Defender of women’s rights and gender equality, and Africtivist member, Pan-African league of various cyberactivist professionals who watch for peace, democracy, and a fair development in the African continent respecting human rights. Its objective is to generate a platform that can help activists from the continent who in their countries have difficulties to develop their initiatives, helping them overcome censorship and control of non-democratic governments. Africtivists have done campaigns to support political change in the Gambia and to end the Jammeh regime, campaigns to denounce specific cases of repression of some African cyberactivists, and practical training on cybersecurity and defense mechanisms.

Interview with Aisha Dabo

What is your role at Africtivistes?

With two friends, I am part of the core of a network of 150 members from 45 countries. We promote initiatives to advance it, but we also ensure that members participate, not only in the activities but also in their design and monitoring, in advocacy tasks, etc. We believe in participatory democracy and transparency, and we apply it to ourselves.

Unfortunately, Anna Gueye, one of the two people with whom I coordinated Africtivistes, died in May. It has been a hard blow for the organization, but we will keep her legacy alive. She believed in Africa and its people; she had a passion and a love for this continent that is not always seen.

How can cyber activism contribute to the democratic and economic progress of Africa?

Internet is a tool that can help achieve many goals. It has no borders, and it has the power to amplify messages and causes. In terms of democracy and economic progress, cyber activism allows citizens to participate in any debate, contribute to people’s well-being, have a platform on which to make their own voice heard, demand accountability from elected officials, mobilize for causes, raise funds, advocate and transform. There are examples of all this in different African countries.

Cyber activism complements real world activism in promoting social, economic and political change. There was a time when it was said that literacy could be a barrier to the development of cyber activism, but this is becoming less relevant every day, as applications emerge that can also be used by illiterate people.

What are the main challenges regarding women’s rights in West Africa?

Basically, women’s rights must be recognized as human rights, going beyond the slogan. There has been progress in some countries, but we are still not where we would like to be. The situation varies from country to country. In general, women are present in all areas of life, even in areas that were considered exclusively male; they are few, but there has been a change. However, cultural, social and sometimes religious challenges remain.


What could the media do to promote women’s rights?

Some approaches should be changed. For example, most issues related to women are usually covered by women. Not that this is wrong, but I would like to see more men reporting on issues that affect women. More men must be involved in promoting the rights of women and girls in the media. On the other hand, we need more presence of women in areas usually reserved for men, whether intentionally or not. In addition, stories of women of all social conditions, ages and sectors should be told.

Gambia has had a new president since January. What are your expectations for human rights in this new period?

It is a new chapter for the country. Many people have had their rights violated, and now the victims will have to receive justice. This will also send the message that human rights violations are no longer the norm and that impunity is over.

The new administration has expressed its will to defend human rights and the rule of law. The question now is what kind of country we want to build. Do we want to stay halfway and make sure most people are happy while allowing for some serious slip-ups, or do we want to make tough and bold decisions to get things right and set a precedent? It won’t be an easy road after 22 years of abuse, but I trust that people, especially young people, will know how to make the right decisions.

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