On the eve of Cyber Awareness month, CyberSmart BW launched the CyberSmart Champions Network, a peer-to-peer cyber awareness initiative with the objective to educate young Batswana about how to stay safe online. The initial champions’ team is comprised of winners and enthusiasts from CyberSmart BW’s first ever CyberSmart competition held during last year’s Cyber Awareness month in October.
This year’s initiative commenced with a two-day workshop on September 27 and 28, 2021 focusing on ‘Developing a Cyber Awareness Campaign’. Fourteen young people have been selected to be part of the initial team of young Cyber Smart champions. The workshop was organized by CyberSmart BW, an initiative that was founded by the InFuture Foundation, with support from Cyber4Dev, D.I.Y, and the European Union Delegation to Botswana and SADC.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Head of the EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Ambassador Jan Sadek affirmed the growing need for cybersecurity awareness in the society, and that an initiative such as the Cybersmart Champions programme will go a long way in promoting safe and secure online behaviours.
As pointed out by Cybersmart BW Founder and Coordinator, David Moepeng, the Cybersmart Champions programme will build on the foundation laid through the inaugural Cybersmart Challenge in 2020. The aim is to encourage youth to participate in cybersecurity awareness raising.
“We were really impressed by how creative these young people were last year. So we decided, let’s encourage them to do more,” said Moepeng.
As more and more people go online and with digital technologies touching almost every aspect of our lives, societal security and safety in digital spaces has become a growing concern. This is because as we more and more of us use the Internet to make payments, send materials, that presents an opening for (cyber) criminals to move in. It is thus imperative that we learn to stay ahead of their tricks.
In October 2021 a new CyberSmart BW competition will be launched. It is hoped that the contenders will help swell the ranks of the network. “The ultimate goal is to have a network of cybersecurity peer educators throughout Botswana to increase the reach of its cybersecurity awareness campaigns. The Cybersmart Champions are now at work developing campaigns to reach their peers, in villages, universities, schools, or even in schools and public libraries, Moepeng explained. For this these emerging champions will receive support, guidance and mentorship from the CyberSmart Coordination team.