Kenyan Jessica Musila is among the five 2015 Internet Freedom Fellows.
Jessica Musila is the Executive Director of Mzalendo Trust, the organization behind www.mzalendo.com, Kenya’s premier Parliamentary Monitoring Initiative. Over the last four years, she has spearheaded Mzalendo’s evolution from a blog into a largely self-sustaining site with an organization supporting it. She is passionate about social justice and prior to her involvement with Mzalendo has worked in the governance, development and humanitarian sectors.
The 2015 Internet Freedom Fellows program focuses on the theme “Empowering women and girls: the power of IT“. It brings five bloggers, activists on human rights from Kenya, Brunei, Zambia, Palestine and Belarus to Geneva and to the United States to meet with fellow defenders, U.S. and international government leaders and members of civil society engaged in information technology, human rights and women’s empowerment through the internet.
A key goal of the program is to share experiences and lessons learned on the importance of a free Internet and an engaged use of the social media to the promotion of women’s freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.
Before joining Mzalendo Trust, Jessica held various roles at mySociety UK, Hivos Foundation – Twaweza project, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the International Committee Red Cross (ICRC). Jessica has a B.A. in Communication and Community Development from Daystar University, Kenya and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Germany.
About the Internet Freedom Fellowship
The Internet Freedom Fellows program brings human rights activists from across the globe to Geneva and Washington, D.C. to meet with fellow activists, U.S. and international government leaders, and members of civil society and the private sector engaged in technology and human rights. A key goal of the program is to share experiences and lessons learned on the importance of a free Internet to the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as fundamental human rights.
Communication shapes the way societies are built and every person should have the right to express his/her ideas, feelings and emotions as well as hopes for the future. The protection of an individual’s right to freedom of expression and assembly is an integral part of a free and democratic society where these rights are essential human rights. In the beginning of 21st century a new challenge facing all societies is Internet Freedom. Ensuring that individuals have the same rights of freedom of expression and assembly on the Internet as they are entitled to elsewhere is one of the human rights challenges of the present moment.
The principal goal of the program is simple — to highlight the essential importance of a free internet to the promotion of human rights at the grass roots level. By identifying and involving grass roots human rights activists from around the world, the program will highlight in a tangible manner why and how a free internet is essential to their work.
Launched in 2011, the Internet Freedom Fellows program is an initiative of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. Core partners for the 2014 Program GMedia Center, a Geneva based NGO which works to empower media to further civil society goals; and Meridian International Center, a Washington D.C. based NGO promoting international understanding through exchange programs.