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Google launches campaign to promote peace ahead of the election

By Mumbi Kinyua | February 8th 2017
Frustrated Woman Using Laptop ca. 2002

Google has partnered with the state agencies to launch a campaign that will galvanise a cohort of internet safety advocates to inspire Kenyans to be more considerate during this election year.

The advocates will be youth drawn from Google-supported initiatives: Webrangers Kenya - a youth online safety campaign started in 2015.

Safer Internet Day is celebrated every year to promote safe and responsible Internet use. In the past two years, Google Kenya and its partners have observed SID with the rest of the world, reaching out to students, teachers, parents, policymakers and the press with internet safety messages. 

“Our priority is to create a positive experience for our users, including young people. Our work in this area includes digital literacy, building an informed and responsible generation of digital citizens through programs such as Web Rangers and Hangout Bridges and building safety settings into our products so that families can make the choices that are right for them,” noted  Michael Murungi, Google Public Policy & Government Relations Manager for East Africa. 

Election years are usually characterised by heightened political and social tensions. However, by harnessing the power of digital media, young people can be powerful influencers and effective brokers of social, political and cultural goodwill.

It is therefore important to build young people’s ‘digital resilience’ - their ability to identify online risks and deal with them positively and responsibly - and to inspire them to be up standers, not bystanders, in creating a positive online community.

 “Technology platforms such as YouTube can be a force for good. They provide alternative content which promotes truth and understanding; that can drown out content that promotes violence, hate, or fear. The online community can create and find hopeful messages online, not harmful ones, especially during this election year,” added Mr. Murungi.

In celebration of 2017 Safer Internet Day, Web Rangers trained by Google will launch a global action to inspire everyone at the local and global level to make the world a better place by promoting a safe and non-violent Internet.

The call-to-action will be the Balloon Challenge in which a student will pick a partner, get a camera ready to record, face one another, write a hateful message on a white balloon and blow it up by hugging.

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