We recently wrapped up our two Matchbox partnerships for 2022, with Uganda-based Albinism Umbrella and Namibia-based Y-Fem.
Here are some reflections on what we worked on and learned together.
Working on Responsible Data with Albinism Umbrella
Responsible Data to protect the rights of persons with albinism
Albinism Umbrella, based in Uganda, works to reduce the vulnerability of persons with albinism, and to promote and protect their interests and rights.
Within Matchbox, Albinism Umbrella had three main priorities:
- Developing a Responsible Data Policy for the organisation, to ensure that they are able to take a holistic approach to strengthening their data management practices. The policy is a practical way to ensure that Albinism Umbrella treats the data they hold with care, through guiding the management of both sensitive and non-sensitive data within the organisation.
- Ensuring that the data about the communities they work with, collected during their projects, is protected. This was particularly important for them as persons with albinism are at increased risk of violence, making personally identifiable information particularly sensitive.
- Engaging their partner organisations (working on similar issues) in conversations about the relevance of responsible data for their work. This stemmed from the recognition that greater protection for the data of marginalised groups would come from collaborative approaches.
“Addressing the risks around data collection, storage and management is critical to our mission because the population we serve is very high risk.”– Olive Namutebi, Executive Director at Albinism Umbrella
Committing to collective conversations
“We were so eager to share the importance of securing data and using it in equitable ways that we planned a community call with The Engine Room and invited our partners and other organisations so they could start transforming their practices as well.”– Olive Namutebi, Executive Director at Albinism Umbrella
Throughout our partnership, Albinism Umbrella stressed the importance of encouraging similar efforts among their peers. We held a community call on responsible data for social justice organisations in June, and developed an introductory guide to responsible data for Albinism Umbrella to use to support their partners in embarking on their own responsible data journeys.
This partnership was an important reminder that responsible data is something that the social justice sector as a whole needs to be thinking about.In walking this journey with their peers and partners, Albinism Umbrella pushed for the collective transformation it takes to better protect marginalised communities from potential harm.
“We have learned a great deal from the people at The Engine Room and have appreciated how participatory their approach is.”–Janepher Nanyondo, Program Officer at Albinism Umbrella
Developing a safer internal tech and data ecosystem with Y-Fem
The Young Feminists Movement (Y-Fem) Namibia is a feminist human rights organisation dedicated to advancing women’s human rights by promoting women’s access to health, education and justice. Y-Fem promotes young women’s representation, decision-making, visibility, creativity and transformative leadership.
Y-Fem was wary of surveillance and wanted to make sure that they have the knowledge to establish a more stable and safer tech and data environment for their team and for the feminist movement in Namibia. Together, we decided to work on strengthening their tech and data ecosystem, in order to make it more secure and resilient.
During the partnership we focused on three main areas:
- Ensuring that Y-Fem is able to maintain their institutional memory through protecting their data and preventing data loss. This was particularly important for them, as they had dealt with the loss of devices before.
- Establishing secure systems to manage organisational passwords and platforms, as Y-Fem works with a distributed team and rotational voluntary staff. This allowed them to strengthen the security of their digital environment.
- Strengthening the knowledge of the Y-Fem team when it comes to responsible data management, and ensuring they can safely store sensitive data.
Together, we assessed risk, anticipated future challenges and equipped the Y-Fem team to respond in ways that will enable greater protection.
“Y-Fem is so honoured for this technical partnership with The Engine Room. It has truly strengthened the work of Y-Fem in so many ways.”-Florence /Khaxas, Executive Director, Y-Fem Namibia
Image by Li Zhang via Unsplash.