EU AI ACT: CITAD, Over 160 Organizations Globally Advocate Migrants Protection By European Union


EU, CITAD, 160 Other Organizations Advocates Migrants Protection

By Salisu K Ismail

The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has joined 163 organizations and 29 individuals globally to called on the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and EU Member States to ensure that the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (EU AI Act) protects the rights of all people including migrants.

This was contained in a draft that was jointly signed by CITAD, 163 organizations and 29 individuals globally and was made available to Newsmen by the Centre’s Executive Director, Engineer Yunusa Zakari Ya’u in Kano.

The release explained that the EU AI Act which was recently amended does not adequately address and prevent the harms stemming from the use of AI in the migration context.

Adding that, “states and institutions are focused on promoting AI in terms of benefits for wider society, marginalised communities and people on the move particularly migrants, asylum seekers and refugees”

“But, the states and institutions have failed to understand that, the AI technologies fit into wider systems of over-surveillance, criminalisation, structural discrimination and violence” the release added.

The release unbundled to newsmen the recommendations put forward to the EU by the 163 organizations and 29 individuals following amendments of the AI Act;

“Prohibit unacceptable uses of AI system in the context of migration” 

“Also to ensure that, all AI systems used in migration are regulated to include ‘high-risk’ of (Biometric identification systems, AI system for border monitoring & surveillance, Predictive analytic systems used for people on the move)

“Ensuring the AI Act applied to all high-risk systems in migration, including those in use as part of EU IT systems”

“And to ensure that transparency and oversight measures apply” 

The release also stressed that, the EU AI act must be amended to prevent harm from AI systems used in migration and border control, guaranteeing public transparency and empowering people and groups to understand, seek explanations, complain and achieve remedies when AI systems violate their rights.



Sagiru Ado Abubakar

In its effort to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has on Sunday 4th December, 2022 joined the global communities to commemorate this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022.  International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a global effort aim at promoting empowerment and helping to create real opportunities for people with disabilities. The celebration is a one-day event held at ground floor, CITAD with a theme “Kano State Disability Law: Prospects and Challenges” has a representation of almost all clusters of People Living with Disabilities in Kano State and dwelled deeply on the Kano State Disability Law signed by His Excellency Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Malam Isyaku Garba, CITAD Programs Cordinator represented the Executive Director of CITAD at the event. He welcomed the participants and said that International Day of Persons with Disabilities gives opportunity to government, policy makers, human right activists, development workers and every stakeholder to deliberate on strategic ways to make effective demand for inclusion and accountability on matters that affect people living with abilities. He then hinted that CITAD has been making effort to establish a centre that promote inclusion, access, participation, disability rights and mainstreaming of issues of critical concern of people living with disabilities. 

Malam Sagiru Ado Abubakar coordinates the activities of people living with disabilities at CITAD. He took the participants back on the discussion during Kano Social Influencers Summit (KANSIS 2022) on the arrangement INEC made with regard to PWDs during the forthcoming general elections. He then informed that ‘Technology, Disability and Election’ breakout session in KANSIS 2022 was one of the best sessions in KANSIS 2022 in term of attendance and won momentum of dignitaries. 

Hajiya Bilkisu Ibrahim Mahmoud, a lecturer at College of Arts Science and Remedial Studies, (CAS) Kano chaired the event. In her opening remarks, she acknowledged the work of CITAD in helping the PWDs in Kano to understand the law, makes sure that the law has been provided with all necessary assistance and proper implementation. She apologized to CITAD for her inability to attend the KANSIS 2022 organized by CITAD saying that she was given short notice a day only to the event.

Malam Saifullahi Mukhtar Sadiq, Program Officer, Kanawa Educational Foundation for the Disables and Secretary Visually Impaired Educational Forum, Tudun Maliki, Kano made the first presentation. He presented paper on the Kano State Person with Disability Law signed by His Excellency Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. He said that the bill was approved November 22 held at Government House, Kano. Saifullahi explained that the law would pave a way for the inclusion and development of PWDs in the state. The law has provided for the establishment of a board to oversee the affairs of PWDs and when established, the board would be given all the necessary assistance to make the law functional according to international standard.

Other content of the law maintained that no person with disability shall be discriminated against on the ground of his or her disability by any person or institution in any manner of circumstances. No person with disability shall be subjected to prejudice or negative segregation, including those based on gender, work, education, health, age, tradition and any other area of life. State, Local Government and private sectors must give special consideration to PWDs in social walfare, and other programs in line with the existing law. After highlighting major sections of the law he then informed that the draft of the law is available with them and waiting for the final version of the law from the state government. 

Barrister Nura Ahmad Muhammad, Executive Director MUFARKA Youth Development Association, made the last presentation. He looked into the prospects and challenges that the law might have face. He said that now that the Kano State Disability Law has been assented by the Governor of Kano State, the implementation of the Law is depending largely on the establishment of the Commission responsible for the implementation. However, we can make a look at the prospects and challenges with regards to the implementation of the law. He listed as follows: 


• Protection for the rights and dignity of Person with Disabilities. The Law will ensure the protection of People with Disabilities in Kano.

• Legal framework. Disability Law is a legal document which will help in protecting the rights of People with Disabilities.

• Sustainability of Policy. Now that the Bill is passed into, there will be continuity in policies and programs related to People with Disabilities.


• Proper implementation of the law. This can be achieved if the Commission created by the Law has been established.

• Funding of the Commission. For the Commission to function properly it has to be funded adequately. And all the fund allocated to the commission be released on time.

• Awareness Creation. Members of the public need to sensitized about the new Law. This will help in the successful implementation of the Law in Kano State.

At the end of the program, participants commented as follows

  • Malam Hamza Isa Baffa, PRO, Kanawa Educational Foundation for Disabled drew the attention of the participants to make good plan for follow ups.  He said that now election is coming, they can engage political aspirants as early as possible to see the actualization of the law
  • Malam Yahya A. Yahya, Chairman National Association of Physically Challenge People, Kano state chapter worried on how some clusters of PWDs in Kano are busy making contact to govern the commission when established. He said that until now there is no mechanism for implementation
  • Amina Abubakar Haruna urged the clusters of PWDs to make effort on sensitization and awareness creation to the wider public
  • Fatima Aminu, a physically Challenged participants requested CITAD to hold their hands and continue guiding them in order to ensure fully implementation of the law in the state
  • Safina Sani emphasized that many institutions in the state are not aware of the law, she said that with social media training the undergone at CITAD they will take that advantage and ensure proper enlightenment on social media




The Centre for Information Technology and Development has on 30 th November, 2022
conducted the 21 st ICT Quiz competition for Secondary Schools in Kano State. The ICT quiz that
has been conducted annually aimed to explore the major issues teachers and students
encounter in ICT and computing education at school, stimulate the students and teachers to
think more deeply about the IT career and serve as an advocacy tool for policy makers to
provide an enabling ICTs policies and basic infrastructures to secondary schools. For years
CITAD has been conducting the quiz in one of the tertiary institutions in the state. This is to
serve as an eye opener to the participating secondary school students and familiarize them to
higher institutions environment. This year’s ICT quiz took place at Main Auditorium, Yusuf
Maitama Sule University, City Campus, Kano. About 50 senior secondary schools have been
invited for this year’s quiz competition but 36 schools showed up. The schools were: New Girl’s
Science & Technical College, GGSS Aisami, Dawakin Tofa Science College, S.A.S Kano, GSTC Dala,
GTC Sani Abacha, GSS Kofar Nasarawa, GTC Kano, GGSS Sumaila, GDSS Kundum Sumaila, GGSS
Janbulo, Prof. Hafsat Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Mukhtar Adnan DSCK, Governors College, GGSS
Kabo, GGSS Dorayi Karama, GGASS Bichi, GSS Dantube, First Ladies College, Kano, and GSCS
Commercial. Others included MTGSTC, GSS Dala, GSS Unguwar Gano, GGSS Jogana, GGSS
Maryam Abacha, Sani Bello Science College DKD, GTC Warawa, GGSS Bulukiya, KUST Staff

Secondary School Wudil, GSS Yada Kwari, GTC Ungogo, GSS Ganduje, GGSS Dorayi Babba, GGSS
Zakirai, GGSS Bichi and GSS Shekara, Kano
In his welcome remark, the Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and
Development (CITAD) Malam YZ Ya’u who was represented by the Training Coordinator, Malam
Ahmad Abdullahi Yakasai said that CITAD uses the quiz as a tool for raising awareness on ICT
among teachers and students, encourage the study of computer education and testing ICT
knowledge among secondary school students. He added that this year’s ICT quiz is unique
looking at the number of participating schools and for the first time holding at Yusuf Maitama
Sulr University, Kano. He added that much have been done for the past 20 years inculcating the
value of ICT knowledge among secondary school students. He finally announced the prizes to
be won at the end of this year’s ICT quiz. The prizes were as follows:
1 st position: Laptop computer, printer, wall clock, 2 dozen of exercise books, 2 bags and 2 slots
for ICT scholarship for the participating students
2 nd Place Position: Laptop, wall clock, 2 dozen of exercise books, 2 bags and 2 slots for ICT
scholarship for the participating students
3 rd Place: refurbished desktop computer, wall clock, 2 dozen of exercise books, 2 bags and 2
slots for ICT scholarship for the participating students.
Best Teacher: Plasma TV
All Participating School: Certificate of Attendance for teachers and the students
Dignitaries present during the ICT quiz competition included Prof Amina Salihi Bayero, DVC
(Academic), Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Dr. Sani Danjuma, HOD Computer Science,
Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Prof Tijjani Salihi Bichi, Kano University of Science and
Technology, Wudil, Malam Sani Abdurrahman Naruwa, NITDA, Malam Aminu Idris, Kano State
Senior Secondary School (KSSSMB), Kano, Malam Auwal Mukhtar, Kano State Senior Secondary
School (KSSSMB), Kano and Malam Musa Isa, Science and technology School Board, Kano. In his
goodwill message the Vice Chancellor, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano who served as the
chief host and ably represented by Prof Amina Salihi Bayero thanked the organizers for

selecting their institution to host the quiz competition out of the number of institutions in the
state. She said her both wanted to be attend the competition by himself but due to certain
reasons beyond his control could not be able to attend. Prof. Salihi assured the organizers and
the participating schools all necessary support during the competition. She informed that ICT is
one of the programs that received number of students seeking for admission every year. Yusuf
Maitama Sule has been offering BSc Information Communication Technology and BSc Computer
Science. Recently, National University Commission has granted permission for the university to
start offering BSc Software Engineering and BSc Server Security. She emphasized that soon the
university will establish faculty of computing offering many computer related courses. She
finally welcomed CITAD and participating schools on behalf of the university community.
Malam Musa Isa, deputy director Science and Technical School Board represented the
Executive Director Science Board at the quiz competition. In his message, said that CITAD
deserved to be applause for organizing the quiz for the past 20 years. He hoped that the
organizers will not relax for a second in making students excel in ICT career. He extended the
warm greeting of his boss to the organizers, the students and the teaching staff who he
described as backbone of the competition. Malam Aminu Idris represented Executive Secretary
Kano State Senior Secondary School Board, Kano. He urged the students to make sure that they
have a virtue of hardworking because it’s the formular of successes. He said that the Executive
Secretary wished them the participants success not only for this quiz competition but in the
entire endeavor in life.
Dr. Sani Danjuma, HOD Computer Science served as the Chief Judge at quiz. He said that as a
Chief Judge, he must guide and ensure the smooth running of the quiz. He then announced the
following rules and regulations for the quiz competition.
 There are three rounds for each session
 Each school will answer one question per round
 Each question carries 2 marks
 There is only one attempt, think before voicing out the answer
 Participants can discuss silently among themselves for the correct answer

 Only one participant should voice out the answer
 No bonus question will be answered
 Participants should voice out the answer loudly before 20 seconds
 In case of bracket additional question would be selected to clear the bracket
 No student should participate in two consecutive years
 Anybody found giving leakage to the participant both the school and the person would
be disqualified and will be reported to the ministry for further action
 The school are divided into two groups
 From each group three schools with highest scores will qualified for the final
 The six qualified schools would run the final session from which 1 st , 2 nd 3 rd position will

The first round of the competition featured 20 schools in the system of first come first to serve
basis. The schools were as follows: New Girl’s Science & Technical College, GGSS Aisami,
Dawakin Tofa Science College, S.A.S Kano, GSTC Dala, GTC Sani Abacha, GSS Kofar Nasarawa,
GTC Kano, GGSS Sumaila, GDSS Kundum Sumaila, GGSS Janbulo, Prof. Hafsat Abdullahi Umar
Ganduje, Mukhtar Adnan DSCK, Governors College, GGSS Kabo, GGSS Dorayi Karama, GGASS
Bichi, GSS Dantube, First Ladies College, Kano, and GSCS Commercial. Interestingly, no school
has scored zero in the first round of the competition. GGSS Aisami, GTC Sani Abacha, GGSS
Janbulo, Governors College, GGSS Kabo, GGSS Dorayi Karama, GGASS Bichi and GSS Dantube
answered one question and score 2 marks each. GGSS Sumaila, First Ladies College, Kano and
GSCS Commercial answered 2 questions and scored 4 marks each. New Girl’s Science and
Technical College, S.A.S Kano, GSTC Dala, GSS Kofar Nassarawa, GDSS Kundum Sumaila, and
Mukhtar Adnan DSCK answered all their 3 questions and scored 6 marks each. Because of the
tally, the Chief Judge announced that there should be additional round for the schools that
scored 6 marks to clear the bracket. New Girl’s Science & Technical College, GSTC Dala and
Mukhtar Adnan DSCK couldn’t and answer the question given to them at the additional round,
they scored zero each. Another round still had to be given to S.A.S Kano, GSS Kofar Nassarawa,
GTC Kano and GDSS Kundum Sumaila. S.A.S Kano, GSS Kofar Nassarawa and GDSS Kundum

Sumaila answered the question given to the and qualified to be at the final session of the
The second round featured 16 schools as follows: MTGSTC, GSS Dala, GSS Unguwar Gano, GGSS
Jogana, GGSS Maryam Abacha, Sani Bello Science College DKD, GTC Warawa, GGSS Bulukiya,
KUST Staff Secondary School Wudil, GSS Yada Kwari, GTC Ungogo, GSS Ganduje, GGSS Dorayi
Babba, GGSS Zakirai, GGSS Bichi and GSS Shekara, Kano. GGSS Bulukiya was the only school that
couldn’t answer any question in the entire competition and scored zero. GSS Unguwar Gano,
GGSS Jogana, GSS Yada Kwari, GTC Ungogo, GSS Ganduje, GGSS Dorayi Babba, GGSS Zakirai and
GSS Shekara, Kano answered one question and scored 2 marks each. MTGSTC, GSS Dala, Sani
Bello Science College, Dawakin Kudu and GTC Warawa answered 2 questions and scored 4
marks each. GGSS Maryam Abacha and KUST Staff Secondary School, Wudil answered 3
questions and scored 6 marks each. This means that GGSS Maryam Abacha and KUST Staff
Secondary School, Wudil that answered 3 questions and scored 6 marks each qualified to the
final session automatically. For the MTGSTC, GSS Dala, Sani Bello Science College, Dawakin
Kudu and GTC Warawa that answered 2 questions and scored 4 marks each must be given
another round in order to have one school that join the 2 schools with 6 marks each in the final
session. GSS Dala and GTC Warawa couldn’t make it, scored zero. MTGSTC and Sani Bello
Science College Dawakin Kudu battled again to clear the tally of 2 marks scored each in the
additional round. Sani Bello Science College answered the question given to them and joined
GGSS Maryam Abacha and KUST Staff Secondary School that emerged winners in this group to
the final session.
Subsequently, Malam Ali Sabo, CITAD Communication and Campaign Officer who served as
Master of the Ceremony (MC) asked the participants and the audience to go for lunch and rest
for 30 minutes and come back for the final session. The final session featured the following
schools: GSS Kofar Nassarawa, GDSS Kundum Sumaila, GGSS Maryam Abacha, KUST Staff
Secondary School and Sani Bello Science College. GSS Kofar Nasarawa couldn’t answer any
question and scored zero. GDSS Kundum Sumaila and KUST Staff Secondary School answered
one qyestions and scored 2 marks each. S.A.S answered 2 questions and scored 4 marks. While
GGSS Maryam Abacha and Sani Bello Science College, Dawakin Kudu answered all the 3

questions and scored 6 marks each. The result has shown that GSS Kofar Nassarawa that
couldn’t answer any question and scored zero and GDSS Kundum Sumaila and KUST Staff
Secondary School that answered one question and scored 2 marks each couldn’t make it. S.A.S
Kano that answered 2 questions and scored mark has automatically won the 3 rd position of the
21 st ICT competition. Still there was a bracket between GGSS Maryam Abacha and Sani Bello
Science College, Dawakin Kudu that answered all the 3 questions and scored 6 marks each.
They should compete in view of having the 1 st and 2 nd position. It was so excited to see the two
schools answering the additional round given to them. It took the two schools 4 added rounds
before GGSS Maryam Abacha scored zero in the last chance. This specified categorically that
Sani Bello Science College that answered the last chance won the 1 st position of 21 st ICT quiz
competition and GGSS Maryam Abacha came second.
The Vice Chancellor, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano who was represented by Prof. Amina
Salihi Bayero, DVC Academic helped to present the prizes of the first-place position to Sani Bello
Science College that emerged victorious for the first-place position. Former DVC Admin, Prof.
Tijjani Saleh Bichi presented the prizes of second-place position to GGSS Maryam Abacha that
emerged victorious for second-place position. Malam Musa Isa who represented the Executive
Secretary, Science and Technical School Board presented the prizes of 3 rd -place position School
for Arabic Studies (SAS) that won the 3 rd position.
Giving his remarks Prof. Tijjani Sale Bichi, former DVC Admin, Kano University of Science and
Technology (KUST), Wudil congratulated the winners of the competition and appreciated the
effort of CITAD in doing great Job. He then finally expressed his worries about the poor
performance of two secondary schools from his home town.
A floor of comments and observations were opened finally to allow the students, the teachers
and the general audience to make contribution. Malam Isa Musa from Science Board advised
that the quiz should add subjective questions (fill in the blank) to expand the quiz. Abdulyasar
Yahaya Musa a student from GSS Kofar Nassarawa expressed his appreciation on the
performance of the participants and offered his advice to have a written form next time.

Mu’azzam Salisu from GTC Warawa also appreciated the members of the high table and the
organizers of the program and congratulate the winners.
Malam Haruna Adamu, CITAD made the vote of thanks

CITAD sensitizes University Students on identifying, reporting GBV cases

The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has kicked off this year’s campaign against Gender-Based Violence with a sensitization lecture on reporting and identifying GBV cases to the students of Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano.

The 16-day campaign on the international day for elimination of Violence against women and girls is an annual event aimed at addressing the menace of violence against women and girls across the globe.

Addressing journalists at the lecture, CITAD gender officer explained that the event was to create awareness on the need for citizens to always speak against Sexual and Gender-based violence.

Zainab Aminu, appealed to Nigerians to expose the perpetrators of violence against women and the girl-child.

Presenting a paper on reporting and identifying gender based violence, Director Center for Gender Studies, Bayero University Kano, Dr. Suwaiba Saidu Ahmed identified poverty, hunger, harmful cultural practices, female genital mutilation, war and conflict as some of the major catalysts to gender based violence.

According to her, gender based violence refers to violence directed to a person based on gender, saying that the menace is becoming rampant in the society.

The director stressed that legislation, education, information dissemination, identifying root cases of societal problems, supporting for victims, women empowerment and zero tolerance to GBV, as some of the ways of mitigating the problem.

She charged the government, and relevant stakeholders to treat gender based violence as a public health issue, by establishing centers to treat and counsel victims.

“We should engage in activities that would stop GBV to ensure a safer society”


On the 14 th of September, 2022 the Centre for Information Technology and Development held
the 4 th Women Internet Governance Forum as part of the 2022 Internet Governance Forum
activities. The event which is being held annually is part of the Nigerian Internet Governance
Forum (NIGF) pre-event activities., This year, the event theme was Making the Internet for
Livelihood, Love and Life: Tackling Gender and Child Abuse Online and was held online with a
limited physical attendance/participation in Kano. The theme was a well thought one, looking
at the global happenings around gender and child abuse online which has become a norm by
the perpetrators. Madam Marry Uduma, Coordinator, West African Internet Governance Forum
served as the Chairperson with Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Chairperson, Ndukwe Kalu Foundation as
the Keynote Speaker while Jan Moolman, Co-Manager: Women’s Rights Programme,
Association for Progressive Communications served as the Guest Speaker.
Also, two technical sessions were held on Gender Violence Online and Child Protection Online.
At the two sessions, distinguished personalities and experts on Gender Based Violence and
Child Protection spoke and shared their experience and knowledge with the participants. The
first session which was titled Dealing with Gender Violence Online was chaired by Professor
Amina Kaidal of the University of Maiduguri while the speakers at this session were Zainab
Aminu, CITAD Technical Officer, Mrs. Martha Alade, Founder, Women in Technology and Msen
Nabo, Digital Media Associate at Connected Development.
The second session which focused on Dealing with Child Protection Online, had Hajiya Suwaiba
Muhammad Dankabo, Programmes Manager at ActionAid International as chair while Aminu
Adamu Naganye of the Star Newspaper, Harira Wakili, a Gender and Human Rights Activist and
Barrister Aisha Mahdi of Green Edge Attorneys served as the speakers.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of CITAD, Y.Z Ya’u started by explaining the
purpose of this year’s WIGF during which he stated that, the essence of organizing the forum
was to encourage discussion, especially among women, on Internet governance and harvest
strategies for addressing issues that tend to reinforce the marginalization of women in the
digital space. Mr. Ya’u further stated that the WIGF focuses on two specific issues:


  1. Issues of Gender Based Violence: in this regards, Mr. Y.Z said a lot of young women have
    suffered and still suffering from different kind of gender violence from people whose aim was
    to deter them from using the Internet. He also lamented that in some cases these young
    women face gender violence by their social media friends. Moreover, the Executive Director
    also said many women especially political aspirants are being abused and castigated on social
    media based on their gender, which contributes in furthering the political marginalization of
  2. Child Abuse Online: on this, the Executive Director stated that the Federal Government of
    Nigeria has set up panel to advise on a policy framework on how to address this issue. Speaking
    further on this, Ya’u hoped the forum would give the participants a chance to harvest strategic
    ideas that can help in shaping the policy, raise awareness and involve other stakeholders in
    trying to sanitize the digital ecosystem so that the women in particular can be able to make
    effective use of the Internet in the country, have access to educational materials and ability to
    use the Internet without being harassed or intimidated.
    Speaking about the importance of the Internet, Mr. Ya’u stated that Internet allows individuals
    and academics to make research when there is accessible and safe Internet. Fearing that some
    factors may hinder the proper use of the Internet, Ya’u advocated that factors which inhibit
    people from using the Internet needed to be removed and issue of affordability should also be
    addressed. He observed that women find it more difficult to access the Internet than men due
    to the economic disparity that exists between two.
    Moreover, Ya’u said the aims of the forum were to: improve user security competence among
    women, ensure women are able to use the Internet safely & secure their communications and
    that their privacy is well respected. At the end, he emphasized that “we must take Internet as a
    right for everybody in the country”
    Giving her remarks at the Forum, the West African Chair of the Internet Governance Forum,
    Mrs. Marry Uduma said in discussing about children and women on the net, we need to first
    understand that these category of people are already being marginalized and a huge gap exists
    in the society. She also stated that women and children are every day being abused and
    violence being meted on them online but little is being done to curtail the situation. Further,
    the West African Chair said, these categories needed to be encouraged and supported to use
    the Internet without being harassed and their rights not being violated in order to benefit from
    the ample opportunities the Internet presents. At the end she encouraged the participants to
    actively participate at the forum.
    The Keynote Speaker at the Forum, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Chairperson, Ndukwe Kalu
    Foundation mentioned that in the early days of the Internet, it has been a concern to the whole


nation. Discussing on the responses to Gender Abuse Online and the multiple questions to
address bordering around gender violence online, the keynote speaker said, there is need to
develop campaigns messages to counter the misusers of the Internet and contributed to the
current processes of developing national strategy on child protection online. The speaker also
stated that the essence is to find ways on how to address physical and online abuse, and how to
protect vulnerable people from being harmed on the Internet. For this, she said more budget
need to be allocated to this area.
Mrs. Odusote went further to state that under United Nations Charter for Child Protection,
every child is expected to have a fundamental right to education, a right to health and a right to
livelihood, children are supposed to be allowed to speak and to be heard, but a lot of
constraints are preventing them from being able to fully access their fundamental rights
especially in Africa due to the cultural issues. Speaking about the ample advantages of the
Internet, Mrs. Odusote said if there was no Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, many
people could have lost their lives. The Internet had also served as school for many children
during the lockdown, however, it also came with many disadvantages where some people used
it to abuse children.
Buttressing child abuse further, the keynote speaker said child and women abuse is a daily
reality in Nigeria; six out of ten children experience one form of abuse or the other, one in four
girls, and ten percent of boys have also been abused according to UNICEF data. She said
Technology when use in the right way has a potential to broaden opportunities and reduce the
level of abuse if there are proper guidance. The keynote speaker also lamented that many
opportunities are still not fully explored, but people tend to use the negative side of the
Internet, bullying others and amplifying hate speech on social media platforms.
On the negative consequences of child abuse on education, Mrs. Odusote said report has
shown that one in five children skipped school due to abuse, and of recent, kidnapping of
school children has also brought a lot of problem to children education in the country.
Discussing about the strategies to follow in preventing gender abuse and safety promotion
among children, the speaker said, for that, educational institutions must to be protected as well
as ensuring privacy of children online. For this, government must ensure all the necessary
regulations are in place and civil society organizations need to intensify advocacies to relevant
government agencies on the issues. Also teaching digital literacy and online safety skills will go
a long way in addressing the menace.
Moreover, there was need to articulate and introduce policies on how to prevent the abuses,
promote parental care education, enlightenment on online activities for the children and
women need to be properly educated. There is need for guidelines on installation of


appropriate technology and software to prevent children falling into the traps of their abusers.
And creating trauma management techniques and advocacy for protecting young people online
will go a long way in finding the solution to the problem.
In her contribution, the Guest Speaker, Ms. Jan Moolman started her contribution by saying
that the journey for the improvement of women’s rights especially on the Internet is a difficult
one, looking at how the Internet impact the lives of women from the ICT to digital technology,
from the focus of ICT for Development from the 1990s to 2000s and even in the contemporary
discussion regarding privacy, disinformation, misinformation, censorship and hate speech, the
role of women in influencing, shaping and benefiting from digital technology is getting much
more grounded, and this recognition is largely due to the consistent work of organizations and
people in the global south that consistently call for inclusion, diversity and bringing gender
approaches to all the work that concerned human rights, both online and offline. Information
around gender based violence has been at the core of this work and has duly serve in bringing
different actors into the same room to find solution, the speaker added. She went further to
say that it took many years of lobbying and advocacy and work within women movement,
including building knowledge, research, campaigning, sharing experience and finally getting a
common language to get recognition on violation women experience when they are online. And
this work and persistency led to the 2018 adaptation of the UN Human Rights Council first ever
UN resolution on preventing and responding to violence against women and girls in digital
context and other different resolutions including the recent one in Africa has brought more
relief to women and girls in the continent.
Speaking on the issues APC and its partners pay more attention to when it comes to women
rights and digital technology, Ms. Moolman mentioned the followings:

  1. Joy, hope and Justice: according to the Guest speaker, for people who experienced
    violence online, there is hope they can find joy with regards to connection, information,
    solidarity, friendship, fun and even in some cases love. And for this, APC and its partners
    think it is important to encourage people to continue the work they are doing and to
    keep women safe and in a productive way on the digital space.
  2. Access: Even though women face many forms of violence online but there is need to
    ensure they have access to online platforms as easily and affordable as possible in order
    to carry out their normal activities. Emphasizing on how women are being marginalized
    when it comes to accessing the Internet, the speaker said, the 2019 ITBU report stated
    that globally only 48% of women are online and in the global south this is even lower at
    28%. This according her shows that there is wide gap between the connected and
    unconnected in the society. And unless we are able to address the issue of accessibility,
    many women and marginalized communities will remain in darkness and their voices


  1. Third is about companies that own social media platforms that are regulating contents
    that lacks clarity and consistency and which upon violate the rights of people without
    accountability or remedy. These companies are determining online discourses with
    focus on profits at the expense of users’ privacy and rights.
  2. The fourth is about how feminists’ movements online and offline are expanding and
    taking new forms. These groups are upon targeting for gender based violence online
    and it sometimes manifest to offline spaces.
    CHAIR: Professor Amina Kaidal
    PANELISTS: Martha Alade, Zainab Aminu, Msen Nabo
    The first technical session was on Dealing with Gender Violence Online. The session which was
    chaired by Professor Amina Kaidal of the University of Maiduguri had Mrs. Martha Alade,
    Founder of Women InTechnology, Zainab Aminu, Gender Technical Officer, Centre for
    Information Technology and Development and Msen Nabo, Digital Media Associate at
    Connected Development.
    In her presentation, Zainab Aminu started by defining the Gender-Based violence which
    according to her refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender and
    rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms.  Mss. Aminu said Gender-
    based violence (GBV) is a serious violation of human rights and a life-threatening health and
    protection issue, which is estimated that one in three women experiences sexual or physical
    violence in their lifetime.
    Zainab further stated that gender violence is not a new phenomenon; it has been existing since
    time immemorial which can include sexual, physical, mental and economic harm inflicted in
    public or in private and threats of violence, coercion and manipulation. Mss. Aminu also said
    gender violence can take many forms such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child
    marriage, female genital mutilation and so-called ‘honour crimes’ while its consequences are
    devastating and can have life-long repercussions for survivors. 
    Speaking about the impact of cyber violence, the speaker said it differs according to the victim’s
    gender. She gave an example with a study conducted by the Pew Research Centre which
    revealed that 38% of harassed women found their most recent experience with online
    harassment extremely or very upsetting, compared to only 17% of harassed men. The research
    further said that compared to male users, who tend to be more concerned about damage to
    their reputation, females are more likely to fear physical harm. This corresponds to the nature
    of online abuse these groups experience. Where men and boys are more likely to be victims of
    defamation and libel, women are more likely to be subjected to derogatory remarks or sexual


images and threats, such as non-consensual pornography. She gave another example with
another study which found that female college students (age 18-24) who were victims of offline
stalking were three times more likely to be stalked online than their male counterparts. The
study also found that “while particular variables influence victimization risk among females,
virtually none of the variables in the analyses produced statistically significant relationships
with victimisation among males”.
Moreover, Zainab said key distinction between offline and online gender-based cyber violence
is that it is significantly more difficult “to permanently remove abusive or triggering content
from the Internet, which obliges the survivor to re-experience their victimisation all over again.”
This can exacerbate the psychological impacts of these forms of violence, such as flashbacks of
the incident and/or perpetrator, as well as increase the victim’s isolation period.
Discussing on the long term negative impact of gender violence online, Zainab said the greatest
impact that women experience is self-censorship. Women start censoring themselves online.
And that is what the abusers want. Another impact she said is that online violence attempts to
keep women from major sectors of the public sphere because public only take physical violence
seriously. The third impact is that some women leave the online platform [after being
harassed]. The forth impact which is being associated with online violence is public health issue
and the effects which results in physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm, and erodes
Offering some solutions on how one can protect selves online, Zainab Aminu mentioned the
• Creating a strong password 
• Having different passwords for different accounts
• Downloading apps from authentication platforms and using two factor verification
• Logging out of accounts when not in use
• Not using public WIFI for sharing sensitive information 
At the end the speaker said, to stop gender violence online, there is need for public awareness
in order for people to understand it consequences which in many cases metamorphosed to
The second speaker, Mrs Martha Alade started by quoting the 1993 UN Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence against Women which defines ‘violence against women’ as an act of
gender-related violence (GBV) that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual,
psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion
or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life [or online].


Discussing on the different types of Gender Violence Online, Mrs Alade said it includes; Doxing
(leaking unauthorized info to public), Sexist abuse, Hate speech, Threat to free expression,
Threat to privacy, Impersonation, Defamation, Gender-based discriminatory memes,
Cyberstalking, Online misogyny etc. On the category of people that experience Gender
Violence, Mrs Martha said women and girls from marginalised communities are the easy
targets and their voices are often unheard. Mrs Alade also said, in most of the times, girls in
local communities are being violated but they are not even aware they are being violated. She
gave a scenario on a case they worked on which happened to a small girl in a community they
are working in and the girl was abused but due to lack of proper awareness about the issue she
was not even aware she was abused until she was examined then it was discovered the girl was
At the end, the speaker said, to stop gender violence the followings need to be considered

  1. Education in local languages
  2. Increase Sensitization/Advocacy – culturally responsive and relevant
  3. Consent and privacy
  4. Human Rights Enforcements by Public and Private
  5. Employ AI for Filtering offensive contents
  6. Content Enhancement
  7. Enable more support and help channels for victims
  8. Drive programs that amplify voices of the marginalized women and girls
  9. Support NGOs working around the subject

The third at this technical session, Miss Msen Nabo, Digital Media Associate at Connected
Development said appealing to governments to take the issue of GBV more serious is
something its advocates need to take beyond social media and also people’s attitudes need to
be changed. Mss. Nabo also stated that Gender Violence especially online is something that
people come across everyday but most of the times the victims ended up being punished by the
society. The gender activist said when victims of gender violence try to speak out against the
violence mated on them they usually receive silent feedback or they are advised to keep mute
in order to protect their image.
Mss. Msen went further to say that a clear example where government is an accomplice to this
act is the case of Kano State where the State House of Assembly refused to domesticate the
Child Protection Act even though the state is ranked among the states with high rate of gender


based violence and child abuse. According her, this need intense advocacies and awareness
Speaking further on how people violate others on social media platforms, Mss. Nabo stated
that sharing someone’s pictures, address, videos without his/her consent are all forms of
violence online and these types of violence can turn to offline. And for this, she suggested that
advocacies and awareness creation need to be carried out in order to stop it.

CHAIR: Hajiya Suwaiba Muhammad Dankabo
PANELISTS: Barrister Aisha Mahdi, Harira Wakili, Aminu Adamu Naganye
The second session was moderated by Hajiya Suwaiba Y. Dankabo of ActionAid Nigeria and the
Three (3) distinguished personalities and experts on Gender Based Violence and Child
Protection spoke and shared their experience and knowledge with the participants.
A Gender and Internet Right Advocate, Harira Abdulrahman Wakili started her presentation
with explaining the ample opportunities the Internet presents to the young generations, Mss.
Wakili said nowadays Internet offers limitless opportunities to young people through
computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and televisions, children learn, imagine and develop
their social networks. But she cautioned that these platforms need to be used in the most
appropriate way, where she stated that when these are used in the right way – and accessible
to all – the Internet has the potential to broaden horizons and ignite creativity. She also said
that with these opportunities come serious risks. Harira added that cyberbullying and other
forms of peer-to-peer violence can affect young people each time they log on to social media or
instant messaging platforms. Speaking about what children can be exposed to on the net, Miss
Wakili mentioned that when browsing the Internet, children may be exposed to hate speech
and violent content – including messages that incite self-harm and even suicide. According to
her, what happens online reflects the realities children face every day – at home, at school and
in their wider communities. In conclusion, Ms. Wakili emphasized that every child must be
protected from violence, exploitation and abuse on the Internet.
The Second speaker at this session was Barrister Aisha H. Mahdi of Green Edge Attorneys, who
emphasized that with the widespread use of the Internet, the advancement in technology and
the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices have created borderless and unlimited access to
information. Barr. Aisha said progress brings by the Internet has given the bad eggs in the
society the opportunities to exploit, put the children at risk, and make them vulnerable to
abuse. She said that there is an urgent need to balance the immense benefits of technology,
commercial interest and ensuring online safety of children with appropriate safeguards and
strong legal and institutional framework. Speaking on the safety on children online, the speaker


said there is a growing concern about the safety and privacy of children online which is amongst
the problems identified by relevant stakeholders in Nigeria.
Discussing about the Internet penetration in the country, Barrister Mahdi said as Internet
penetration increases, more children are connected to the grid, and this gives the children
better understanding of technology than the average adult. The speaker also mentioned that
new phones, smart toys, computers, and privileges for using a device give birth to new
responsibilities. Speaking about the exposure of the children to social media, Aisha stated that
the increased use of social media and online services allows children to share and consume
tremendous volume of personal information online. And at the same time the children use the
Internet as a means to learn, share and participate in civic life.
The legal practitioner added that in Nigeria, Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 8
of the Child Rights Act provide for children’s right to privacy. And Section 23 of the Cybercrimes
Act 2015 punishes child pornography. The Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act also
criminalizes cyberbullying and cyber stalking that could affect children. According to her,
though the Act punishes consumption of such contents and provides for other offenses, there is
no other specific legal guidelines or direction to protect the online safety and privacy of the
Nigerian child. Giving recommendations on how to safeguard children online, Barrister Aisha
Mahdi said:
i. Nigeria needs an online privacy protection law for children which will seek to protect
the personal information of children on websites, online services and applications
and it should be binding on online service providers collecting the personal data of
children to ensure consent management.
ii. Service providers should require the consent of the parents or guardians if the data
collection affects a child below the established age.
iii. There is need to digitalize the Nigerian courts and repeal some laws to ensure
efficient and quick judgments related to children abuses

Sharing his experience at the forum, a Kano based journalist, Aminu Adamu Naganye of The
Star Newspaper said Internet Service Providers and Electronic Service Providers need to ensure
their platforms are secure and do not put children at risk. He added that Service providers
should implement privacy and security by design and default. Service Providers have to do
more in creating and ensuring age-appropriate contents by managing content and dealing
effectively with abuse, misuse of their platforms and illegal contact with children.
Aminu Naganye said the legal framework alone cannot guarantee complete protection for the
Nigerian child. Excessive regulation will stifle children’s participation and access to the immense
benefits of the Internet. Speaking further, Mr. Naganye said there is need for increased digital
literacy for both children and their parents/guardians. According to him, providing this will
ensure children implement best privacy preferences, understand the implication of oversharing,
and have good online behavior. Another recommendations the journalist gave was that
parents/guardians should ensure they always install safety tools on their wards’ devices which
will protects children from inappropriate behavior and laying their hands on inappropriate


online contents. It will also prevents disclosure of personal information and assist parents and
guardians manage time spent on the devices.

Following the presentations, participants asked questions and made comments as well offered
specific recommendations that would help in making the Internet safer for both women and
children. This segment also allowed the presenters to clarify on some of the issues they raised
and positions advanced as well as father interrogated some of the proposed solutions to the
challenges that women and children face online. Participants agreed that there was need to
carry both the discussion and the proposed solutions offline to reach more people and
especially engage government and other stakeholders to respond to these challenges so that
both women and children would use the Internet safely and productive to ensure that it serves
their needs.
The organizers also promised to distill the recommendations and issue a communique as the
outcome of the Forum while exploring all possibilities to continue to engage both the
participants at this Forum as well as other stakeholders to mount a sustained public awareness
on the issues and an advocacy for action to address the problems,


The Centre for Information Technology and Development had on 22 nd September, 2022 under
its project on Mobilizing and Catalyzing Citizens Action for Accountable Election and
Governance in Nigeria supported by MacArthur Foundation held its Eighth Dialogue on Anti-
Corruption Fight in Nigeria with two of its sub-grantees; Abubakar Sadiq Mu’azu, Executive
Director, Center CATAI and Chioma Agwuegbo, Executive Director, TecHerNG while Dr. Kawu
Adamu Sule, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Bayero University, Kano served as the
moderator. As it has become tradition in the Centre that every month it’s conducting the
dialogue, in the month of August, the Centre hosted Mu’azu Alhaji Modu, Executive Director,
Spotlight for Transparency and Accountability Initiative and Adeola Fayehum, Producer at
Keeping it with Adeola with Malam Haruna Adamu, Community Network Coordinator at CITAD
as the moderator.
The dialogue started with an opening remarks by the Executive Director of CITAD, Yunusa Zakari
Ya’u. Mr. Ya’u begin his remarks with aim of organizing the monthly dialogue where he stated
that; the aim of the dialogue is to give the sub-grantees under this project an opportunity to
regularly share their work with a wider audience in promoting accountability and fighting
corruption in Nigeria. He also mentioned that the dialogue is aimed at giving both the sub-
grantees and young people who have interest in the area an opportunity to discuss and share
ideas. He went further to state that CITAD has for many years been working in the area of
accountability and fighting corruption in Nigeria and empowering young people to demand for
good governance. Buttressing further on the essence of organizing the monthly dialogue, the
Executive Director said is to create a platform for the sub-grantees and those who have an
interest in the area to discuss ideas and learn from each other as corruption and lack of
accountability are the major obstacles towards the country’s growth and development”.
Opening the dialogue, the chairman of the September dialogue, Dr. Sule Rano said that Nigeria
needs transparent and accountable government and platforms like this one will helps in
ensuring government officials are put on their toes. He further stated that “accountable
election is key to good governance and democracy” and in a good democracy citizens must be
allowed to choose/elect their leaders. “This situation can only be achieved through accountable
and transparent election”. Dr. Sule buttressed.
The first speaker was Abubakar Mu’azu, Executive Director Centre for Advocacy and
Accountability Initiative. Mr. Mu’azu started his presentation by emphasizing the need for
accountable election and ensuring strict adherence to democratic process in electing leaders in
all positions and for citizens to understand their responsibilities in electing competent and
credible leaders. For the upcoming 2023 elections, Mr. Mu’azu shared with the participants the
efforts his organization is making in the area of empowering citizens with access to information
and amplifying their voices. The Executive Director stated that at Centre CATAI, they have been

creating awareness on the need for the citizens to participate in the elections, renew their
Permanent Voters’ Cards, the need to engage in the electoral processes; from primary to
secondary elections. He went further to state that even though Borno State has fewer people in
terms of PVC collection, but still citizens are campaigning and raising their voices in holding
government accountable due to intensify campaigns around the area by Civil Society Actors in
the state.
Speaking about the need for young people to actively engage and participate in the governance
and affairs of their country, the executive director said “young people need to advocate for the
inclusion of youth in leadership position and ensure their voice is heard for majority of the
voters in the country are youth”
Discussing on the activities they embark on, he said, Center CATAI has started shooting short
videos with young people and the essence of that is to change the perspective of the citizens
and how people can engage the government officials. According to him, the major target of the
campaign is young people because they constitute the highest number among all the other
constituency. On the tools they are using to reach their target audience, Mr. Mu’azu said they
mostly use Social Media because it is faster and easier to reach young people and encourage to
do what is good. Abubakar also explained that the focus of the campaign of recent is to
empower young people to have access to the right information, collect their PVCs and ensure
they elect the right leaders that will ensure accountability and transparency in governance,
enhancing and making quality education and serve the need of the citizens through different
initiative, advocacy, and engagement after the election.
Stressing the need of collaborative efforts, Mr. Mu’azu said to ensure the sustainability of such
kind of initiative and its success, citizens must accept it and take ownership of the process and
ensure sustained advocacy around having accountable government that will provide evidence
of democracy.
Also speaking at the dialogue, the Deputy Country Director of MacArthur Foundation, Oladayo
Olaide hailed CITAD for organizing and coordinating the discussion which he described as timely
and encouraging. Mr. Olaide went further to say that there is need to find ways on how to
include accountability into the discourse around 2023 general election and other important
issues that are significant to the election and try to rally out and speak out those issues. He also
advised and encouraged people working in this area to ensure as much as possible remain
neutral in the implementation of their activities
At the end of the dialogue participants asked questions and answers were provided by the

CITAD Launches Mobile App On Budgetary, and Procurement Processes In Bauchi 

The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has launched a mobile app known as the ‘Office of the Citizens’ on budgetary and procurement processes in Bauchi state.
According to Isah Garba, Senior Programmes Officer of CITAD, the project is intended to improve service delivery through effective citizen participation in the budgetary and procurement processes in Bauchi state.
He told Journalists during a press conference in his office on Thursday that it focuses on building the capacity of the legislators, public officers and civil society activists in the state to be able to work together to promote effective citizens participation in the governance process of the state.
He explained further that the project currently works in six local government areas of the state namely: Alkaleri, Bauchi, Katagum, Misau, Ningi, and Toro with a special focus on Basic Education, Procurement, Freedom of Information and the Budgetary process.
The goal of the project is to Strengthen Citizen’s Participation in Governance through Active Participation in the Budgetary and Procurement Processes of the state.

Isah Garba added that the objectives of the project are to Enhance the capacity of 40 CSOs to engage both government and citizens in the budget process as means of improving citizens’ participation in budget processes and Enhance the skills of 40 government officials in the interface with citizens to collect, collate and use citizens input in the budget process.
It will also facilitate the monitoring of procurement processes in the focal areas of education, health, and youth and women’s development while part of the initiative in the project is to help citizens monitor public projects in their communities and provide feedback to the government on the status and nature of the project implementations as well as demand that projects are executed based on the contract agreement between the government and the contractors.

In order to make this happen easily, the project decided to leverage technology to bridge the gap of time and locations as well as reduce cost implications in the course of reporting projects and also assist the government to get instant reports on projects from the communities, even if the government project monitoring team is not on ground.
The Senior Program Manager explained that the application was developed using Java8 programming language, with PHP and MYSQL as a database management system that encrypts any user information in the server.
The application has signing keys which were generated using Android Studio APK analyzer signed by Google, any user information or form submitted in the application is stored on the Amazon web server (AWS) while anyone can open an account from the app and can report, but no one can have access to the backend or source code until they are permitted on the GitHub server.
The app can serve as an interface platform between the citizens, public officers and legislators in the state, where citizens can effectively participate in decision-making and improve transparency and accountability in the state.
He then disclosed that it is currently available on the Android Play Store with the name office of the citizens and can be downloaded and used by every citizen in the state to send reports on project implementations in their communities, and where the response of the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning is needed, there is an interface through chatting that any user can ask questions and responses will be provided either instantly or when the responses are available.

Additionally, the state budget documents released by the ministry of budget and economic planning will be uploaded on the app so that users can easily access the documents from the app. alternatively, the users can access the platform using any browser through
On the call of CITAD, he said that “We want to use this medium to call on civil society organizations and community-based organizations in Bauchi state who are the voice and eyes of the citizens in the state to download the App, utilize the App as well as sensitize their partners on reporting project implementations at the community level so that the state government can get on the spot report on projects to enable the state track, monitor, and ensure value for money and effective service to the citizens of the state”.
He added that “We should all know that governance is a collective responsibility of both the government and the citizens, therefore, it is imperative for both to work together to ensure effective service delivery and inclusive governance and decision-making process in the state”.

GBV: CITAD trains 3rd phase of Gender Champions in Kano

The Centre for Information Technology and Development, CITAD has organized a Two days training for 20 youths, tagged ‘Gender Champions’ on the ways to address Gender-Based Violence in their various communities in Kano State.

The training, which is the third in the series of Gender Champions, took place in Kano with the aim to curtail the menace of GBV in the society.

Speaking to Journalists at the training, CITAD’s Gender Officer, Mrs. Zainab Aminu described Gender Violence as malicious and harmful act, posing serious threat to the general well-being of human societies, calling on stakeholders to collaborate with a view to fighting the scourge.

According to her, GBV is an unfortunate act where perpetrators directed at individuals or group of people.

She however said, the 20 Champions were selected from various communities in Kano state.

Participants during the training.

“Ambassadors selected will be empowered to conduct step-down training in their respective communities as well as making a powerful advocacy visit to key relevant stakeholders,”

“The champions also comprised of both men and women, including People Living With Disabilities.”

She noted that CITAD will continue sensitizing the general public against the scourge, stressing that, it will not rest on its oars until GVB is drastically reduced.

Zainab Aminu explained that the training is sponsored by Centre for Information and Development (CITAD) with support from Ford Foundation.

“This is the 3rd set of individuals being trained to advocate against GBV, the first and second batch, comprising of 40 individuals each.

Also speaking on behalf of Champions,  Rose Steven thanked CITAD for the training.

She stated readiness to step down what they learnt in their various communities.