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RFE Social Media Analyst Shares Digital Literacy Expertise

Camilla Hawthorne at TechCamp Moldova
(Washington, DC) Camilla Hawthorne, a new media analyst for RFE, was recently asked to share her expertise and skills in social media and online activism at TechCamp training sessions in both Lithuania and Moldova. She was joined at the Vilnius camp by RFE's Kenan Aliyev and Mardo Soghom.

"These are the countries we broadcast to day in and day out, so to be able to share and work with different community members was very important and rewarding," Hawthorne said.

About 80 activists from civil society organizations (CSOs) representing Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the countries of the Balkan region, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine participated in TechCamp: Vilnius on June 29-30, where they focused on how technology can be used to facilitate citizen journalism and further their objectives for strong democracies and open societies. The training session in Chisinau on July 15-16 gave representatives of Moldovan CSOs a chance to learn how technology can be used to make government data accessible, promote transparency, and empower citizens.

According to Hawthorne, "We [RFE] were able to bring the knowledge we have working with our broadcast countries combined with the how-to of new media, activist reporting, Internet censorship and promoting media freedom."

"The role of the Internet for social change is really starting to reveal itself," Hawthorne said. "Most of the people [at the sessions] were being introduced to a new world of tools and RFE was able to sit down with people from human rights organizations and share our expertise. It was powerful that they were able to walk away with new knowledge on how to work with their citizenry, get the message out and work with their governments.”

Last week, Hawthorne was interviewed on "The Blender," the weekly RFE podcast, where she discussed technological opportunities as well as challenges facing online activists across the world. Highlights of TechCamp can be viewed through Storify. To see more tweets from this and other, along with future, TechCamps follow #techcamp on Twitter.

TechCamp is a global program under U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative, which is an effort to galvanize the technology community to assist civil society organizations around the globe by providing capabilities, resources and assistance to enable them to harness digital media and Internet circumvention tool advances in order to build their digital capacity and online activism efforts. CSOs support the collective values and beliefs that non-governmental communities have for the promotion of a healthy democracy.

-- Sigrid Lott