After over a hundred entry submissions, the ebotho cybersmart campaign has found its inaugural winner in 20-year-old Selwana Motsemeng.
CyberSmartBW and the CyberSmart Challenge was nationwide campaign designed to inform and challenge young people in Botswana and the public to increase their awareness of Cyber Hygiene and Cyber Security.
The nationwide TV and Radio campaign was accompanied by an online competition challenging Batswana to create innovative ways to improve their Cyber Security.
During the awards ceremony Ambassador of the European Union to Botswana and SADC Jan Sadek said: “European Union, like the Government of Botswana, and probably all of you, recognises the digital sector as one of the fastest evolving economic and social areas worldwide, creating opportunities for sustainable development and inclusive growth. The digital sector has a great potential to improve citizens lives in Botswana and around the globe, but it is also important to realize that there are risks associated to the digital transformation that we need to prevent and fight.”
Digital innovation has a reach far and wide, unlocking innovative solutions to complex challenges across a broad range of sectors from health and education to transport, disaster risk management, or agriculture.
The CyberSmart Botswana campaign has been running over the past few weeks and already there have been considerable increases on the focus as well as conversations around Cyber Security.
“The European Union, through the Cyber4Development project, has been very happy to support the CyberSmart campaign as well as the Cyber Smart Challenge Competition. I see this competition as a very innovative initiative and I am happy that over 100 entries have been received from all across the country (Ghanzi, Maun, Shakawe as well as Francistown and Gaborone). It is a pleasure to see how young Motswana have participated with such great ideas (videos, posters, songs) promoting how to stay safe online,” Sadek said.
European Union has been working with partners, including Botswana, promoting the establishment of a secure digital infrastructure. Hence why the Cyber4Dev project established. The project is meant to strengthen cybersecurity, help prevent incidents, and when they occur, be able to respond quick and efficiently to them.
“Helping citizens understand all this can be a challenge. However, thanks to young people like the ones participating in the Cyber Smart Challenge Competition, I am sure we can promote the importance of staying safe online and sensitize other citizens about the risks of the internet, and the precautions needed to protect themselves,” Sadek said.
Internet penetration in Botswana has grown by over 600% between 2010 and 2020. In addition to internet connections, Wi-Fi hotspots have also been launched across the country.
Minister of transport and communication Thulaganyo Segokgo said “this is important because with internet our people can access services easily and cheaply from their home, they can even do business, connect with the rest of the world, our enterprises will be able to compete everywhere, Botswana will be able to prosper economically. But of course, where business and trade and people go, opportunists follow and so developing a cyber security culture is as important as it is to establish the digital infrastructure itself. Much is spoken of the risks from hackers of the internet. But many of those risks are self-inflicted. If we don’t learn what precautions to take, then we are more vulnerable.”
Other winners on the day included Joint Third Place, Marang Kgosiyang, Winnie Motsemeng and Amogelang tshukudu on second place.