SIC+ programme: South Africa - African Society for Cyber Security Awareness (ASCSA)
About the organisation
The African Society for Cyber Security Awareness (ASCSA) is a non-profit organisation with a single mission of spreading awareness campaigns and programmes to help inform and educate all digital citizens across the African continent, and women, children and youth in particular, on staying safe and secure online. Our focus is on building strong public/private partnerships to create and implement broad-reaching education and awareness efforts to empower users at home, work and school with the information they need to keep themselves, their organisations, their systems, and their sensitive information safe and secure online, and encourage a culture of staying safe online. Our aim is to provide children, youth and women with critical life-saving tools on how to navigate cyberspace.
South African internet users are inexperienced and less technically alert than users in other nations. This has increased the level of demand and activity that ASCSA has been driving in partnership with the South African government and private sector in order to raise awareness around the importance of internet safety. Our focused programmes provide children, young people and women with critical life-saving tools on how to navigate cyberspace without falling victim to child predators and other internet risks and dangers.
Helpline activities in South Africa and the rest of Africa are poor, and that is the reason why ASCSA is stepping up and participating in the SIC+ programme to assist us in setting up a helpline in South Africa and the rest of Africa. As ASCSA we are fully committed to running and managing this service as it is a crucial tool for protecting children, youth and women from abuse and violence.
Hotline availability is very poor in South Africa which is the reason why we are engaging and have approached INHOPE (the International Association of Internet Hotlines) to increase awareness and visibility around establishing a much-needed hotline in South Africa. We want to participate and be part of establishing this hotline as helplines have always been the entry point for children and young people, seeking support, care and protection, to access the child protection system in a country. Sadly, in South Africa, the level of engagement with helplines and hotlines is low due to a lack of awareness and visibility.
ASCSA is actively engaged and involved in driving youth awareness outreach programmes across South Africa. Youth empowerment and educational programmes have been rolled out predominately in urban areas and our focus in the next year will be concentrated in the rural areas to ensure that we have extensive reach across all key segments of our society. ASCSA is working on a Cyber Security Awareness Youth Skills Development programme to further educate and generate career interest in the field.