Training Queer Youth in West Africa to use Internet as an Advocacy Tool

Posted February 14, 2011 from United States

Safe Access to Information, or SAI: Training Queer Youth in West Africa to use Internet as an Advocacy Tool

The Queer African Youth Networking Center aims to become the hub for LGBTQI West African youth activists and youth-led movement building. We develop structures and training to cultivate the leadership skills of young Africans. Safe Access to Information is our online support program, which through groups, forums and other online resources, enables youth to safely access information and discuss culturally sensitive issues across West Africa. This program aims to bring together young people voices as activists, community organizers, advocates and human rights defenders to foster co-operation, participation and learning through experience.

1) What is a specific challenge facing your organization or community that you need to solve in order to be able to move forward with your vision?

Activists working to promote the basic human rights of sexual minorities in Africa are subjects to harassment, arbitrary arrests and numerous other verbal and physical abuses. Coupled with the fact that queer activists work at the grassroots level with no access to funding, QAYN’s goal is to provide a safe online learning to young activists to strengthen their leadership skills. Furthermore, West Africa is composed of 16 countries, creating an online space will enable QAYN to reach a greater number of activists who use their cell phone to access online information.

2) What kind of expertise is needed to help you solve this challenge?

We are looking for volunteers who have expertise in creating an interactive online learning platform, software development, Internet safety, website design, online teaching.

3) In what ways might a student, or team of students, be able to help?

QAYN would like to provide peer educator and counseling training programs online where youth will access the material, take a quiz and post their comments online. A student or group of students can help us by creating this online interactive learning space, which should be simple enough for youth to use.

The Queer African Youth Networking Center works to establish a wide network of support to promote the safety and well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning African youth.

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Elizabeth Hoffecker
Feb 26, 2011
Feb 26, 2011

Thank you, marmisen, for your detailed post! From your description, it sounds like this is exactly the type of project that students at MIT might want to help out with. I'm going to forward your post to my contacts here to get their feedback, and then I will get back in touch with you around next steps.

Inspired by your work and excited to learn more,


Feb 26, 2011
Feb 26, 2011


we are very glad to hear that our project might interest the students at MIT. I look forward to your response.

Best, Mariam