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The Strength of Strategic Coalitions: Showcasing the Impact of the Digital Security Alliance and NPO Coalition on FATF.

The pivotal role played by strategic coalitions in advancing our mission cannot be overstated. This month we highlight key wins of the Digital Security Alliance (DSA) and the NPO Coalition on FATF, shedding light on their contributions to empowering Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and cultivating supportive ecosystems.

Digital Security Alliance (DSA)

Digital Security Clinics:

Through our Digital Security Clinics, we have significantly extended our impact in fortifying the cybersecurity resilience of HRDs. This month’s focus was on empowering grassroots HRDs and CBOs, which are most burdened with emerging digital challenges such as limited access due to slow or no internet connectivity, data loss, and the absence of enabling ICT hardware and infrastructure, such as cell towers and computers.

The Digital Security Clinics successfully fortified the digital security capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Eastern subregion, including the Pallisa Civil Society Organization Network (PACONET), Public Affairs Center of Uganda (PACUganda), Soroti, the Kapchorwa Civil Society Organizations Alliance, and the Joshua’s Cheptegei Development Foundation.

DSA served as the official digital security partner for the 5th edition of the Human Rights Convention hosted by Chapter Four Uganda and the 5th Annual Women’s Week hosted by Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET). These workshops addressed multifaceted issues, including limited access, insufficient digital literacy, and socio-cultural barriers discouraging women’s engagement with ICT.

NPO Coalition on FATF

Global NPO Consultation on Recommendation 8

The Global NPO Coalition on FATF played a pivotal role in the success of the “Risk and Consequence: The Future of FATF Recommendation 8 for Financial Integrity and Civil Society” conference. This convening brought together policymakers, standard setters, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations (NPOs), multilateral organisations, academics, and think tanks, all of whom contributed their input to the revision of the FATF Recommendation 8.

Furthermore, the Coalition submitted recommendations to the FATF Public Consultation on revisions to Recommendation 8 and its Interpretive Note. The approved revised standard clarifies the application of the risk-based approach, acknowledges sectoral self-regulation measures, and explicitly states that NPOs should not be considered obliged entities.

As we reflect on the achievements of the Digital Security Alliance and NPO Coalition on FATF, we are inspired to continue fostering alliances, enhancing outreach, and creating lasting impacts on the front lines of advocacy. The journey toward safeguarding human rights defenders remains a collective endeavor, and we look forward to the shared progress that lies ahead.

For Blog.

Simple Digital Security Measures YOU Should Implement

As we end #CyberSecurityAwareness month, you have most likely consumed a wealth of information, including dos and don’ts, warnings, and cautionary tales. We understand that some of this content might appear complex or daunting to grasp. So here are a few straightforward yet highly impactful digital security measures that you can implement today to stay one step ahead in the realm of cybersecurity.

Securing Your Messages and Calls 

While most messaging platforms like Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram offer end-to-end encryption for messages and calls, you can go a step further in fortifying the security of your communications by using Face ID or Finger Print Lock as an additional layer of protection from unauthorized access to your messages.

However, it is important to utilize this feature alongside a pattern unlock or PIN because once biometric data is compromised, it cannot be replaced.

For Apple users, it’s important to limit the scope of your messages and, if necessary, disable messages in iCloud for enhanced privacy and security. By doing this, you can restrict the synchronization of your messages to a single device, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data leaks.

Using  VPN for Secure Browsing

In Uganda, many of us primarily associate Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) with bypassing blocked social media platforms like Facebook. However, the utility of VPNs extends far beyond this. They add a crucial layer of security by encrypting your internet connection and shielding your online activities from prying eyes whether you are engaged in tasks within your Google Suite or conducting online banking transactions

Browsers like Opera and Tor come with a built-in VPN, eliminating the need to constantly toggle it on and off. 

Password and Pass-Keys Generators

Managing strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts can be a daunting task. Luckily, both the Play and App stores offer a password generator that can generate and save passwords for your multiple online accounts. However, exercise caution and use this feature on private computers only. Unauthorized access to your Google Account or Apple ID could lead to breaches of your other accounts.

Software Updates 

Downloading and installing software updates for your devices and the applications used on them is one of the simplest methods to maintain optimal digital security. These updates enable tech companies to fix any bugs and vulnerabilities in their products that could be exploited by hackers or malware. Don’t ignore that software update notification on your computer any longer!

By implementing these simple digital security measures, you can significantly enhance your online safety and protect your valuable information from potential threats. Remember to remain vigilant and enjoy secure browsing.


Harnessing the Potential of Collaboration and Partnerships for Social Impact

The significance of partnerships and collaborative efforts in advancing the goals and activities of civil society has become more evident than ever before. This month, we take a moment to reflect on the profound impact of collaboration and partnership in advancing our mandate.

Fostering Knowledge Exchange
In collaboration with the Civic Advisory Hub and the NPO Coalition on FATF – East and Southern Africa Chapter, we took a significant step forward in advocacy efforts for the adoption of a risk-based approach to the monitoring and legislation of NPOs in the context of countering terrorism financing.

During a successful webinar titled “Understanding NPO Risk Assessment on Terrorism Financing,” NPO leaders from the region shared their experiences, lessons learned, and criteria for NPO risk assessment working groups. Together, we explored the critical role that NGOs play in these assessments and discussed the essential qualities required for effective participation.

Empowering Communities through Digital Security: Our #RoadToFIFAfrica Journey
We embarked on an exhilarating regional campaign known as #RoadToFIFAfrica, spanning from Kampala to Nairobi, Mombasa, and culminating in Dar es Salaam. Throughout this journey, we actively connected with local communities, students, CBOs, and NGOs to address the vital topic of digital security. Our mission was clear: to equip individuals and organizations with essential digital security skills, provide them with valuable tools and knowledge, and empower them to navigate the digital world safely and confidently.

Championing Internet Freedom at FIFAfrica23
With support from CIPESA Uganda and in collaboration with Encrypt Uganda, and HRD Andrew Gole, our commitment to digital security extended to Africa’s largest gathering on Internet freedom, the Forum for Internet Freedom in Africa (#FIFAfrica23). Through the Digital Security Alliance, we extended digital security support to some of the brightest minds in Africa and worldwide, fueling their tireless efforts to safeguard internet freedom both on the continent and globally.

Multi-Sector Support and Collaboration
In addition to these dynamic initiatives, we maintain active engagement with key government ministries and agencies including the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) among others.

Our objective is to provide valuable sector insights and foster collaboration to create an enabling and supportive environment for Human Rights Defenders(HRDs) and activists. Through our regional “Talk To Your Regulator” sessions, we aim to strike a delicate balance between fostering compliance and preventing excessive regulation. We achieve this by creating awareness among NGOs about their legal compliance requirements and responsibilities while also engaging regulators on the unintended consequences that overly restrictive regulations can have on the sector. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that members of civil society can effectively fulfill their missions. This month’s engagement took place in Hoima, marking another milestone in this ongoing effort.

Suffice it to say that our journey this month underscores the power of collaboration and partnerships in driving transformative change and fostering social impact. Here’s to more partnerships and collaborations ahead.