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#defyhatenow #ASKcamp Bamenda, 2023

The recent rise of violence in Cameroon has triggered the need for peace and social cohesion in many communities. This has led to the creation of opportunities that can lead the younger generation to be trained and equipped with tools that can help them bridge the gap of peace and development in their communities. There is an urgent need to give the younger generation reasons to leave crime and hostility for peacebuilding through the use of their talents or skills acquisition. The #defyhatenow initiative in Cameroon is hosting a 3-day bootcamp to train youths on how to use technology positively to build peace and social cohesion. 

There has been a rise in inter-community and inter-religious conflicts both on social media and in communities, this needs to be addressed to obtain lasting solutions. Our aim is to bring young people together and give them access to skills, knowledge and open tech that will address the challenges their communities face and transform patterns that fuel conflict and inequality. It will reduce the high level of hate and violence within communities. 

This activity aims at bringing these young people together and skilling them on how to tackle the root causes and drivers of hate speech through the use of technology; it also aims at enabling #defyhatenow to respond effectively to the impact of hate speech on societies. In line with the objectives of #defyhatenow which seeks to combat online and offline hate speech and incitement to violence, marginalisation and discrimination by prioritising early warning and early action, and building on preventive approaches to community peace-building for social cohesion. 

The #ASKcamp – Access to Skills and Knowledge bootcamp is out to develop networks that sustainably connect people and address the challenges that their communities deal with in the face of conflict and instability. The #ASKotec – Access to Skills and Knowledge open tech emergency kit is designed to function as a set of tools to teach youth and adults in Cameroon how to use open technology to innovate, learn and repair items, also providing access to vital media literacy and knowledge skills. r0g_agency for open culture and Critical Transformation has developed two #ASKotec kits for use in local conflict-prone areas to give young Cameroonians useful skills to contribute to the development of their communities. 

That is why on the 9th of April 2023, a training session was conducted for members of the Google Developers Group in the University of Bamenda. The objective of the training was to provide the students with an introduction to open hardware and hands-on practice with the ASKotec Kit and offline information access mini-servers. Through the training, the students were expected to gain practical knowledge in developing simple circuits, understand basic electronics and microcontrollers, and learn the principles of open-source software and hardware.

The Cyber Holidays Boot Camp was another activity organised in Buea from August 17th to 19th 2023; a three-day program that was held in Buea, designed to promote cybersecurity awareness and digital innovation among youths in Cameroon. The program was held in response to the growing threat of cybercrime in Cameroon. The Cyber Holidays Boot Camp was seen as an opportunity to educate young people about the dangers of cybercrime and to equip them with the skills they need to protect themselves online. The program was also designed to promote digital innovation. Cameroon has a young and tech-savvy population, and the Cyber Holidays Boot Camp was seen as an opportunity to harness this potential and to create a generation of young people who can use technology to solve problems and make a positive impact in the world.

The ASKcamp is an activity happening in Bamenda from November 21 to 23, 2023. This activity has as its objective to bring together more than 50 youth from within the North West region, from different communities and backgrounds in a space to tackle tech-oriented solutions in response to the crisis. The bootcamp aims to empower individuals to address the challenges their communities face and transform patterns that fuel conflict and inequality, by providing youth access to skills and knowledge,  training of trainers, workshops, open source hardware and software that promotes entrepreneurship, gender equality, trauma and healing, financial sustainability and a possibility of sensitising them on the importance of using technology in building peace in communities. 

At #defyhatenow we believe that technology helps create predictive models, which can better understand how an emergency or disaster will impact the area. Understanding and viewing the prediction makes it easier to create an effective plan of action that addresses the concerns that the predictive model brings to light. We work with technology to help manage emergencies and disaster situations to help lead to more effective advances and innovations in conflict-prone areas. We aim to facilitate emergency response agencies to resolve threats in a timely and comprehensive manner.

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