Saturday, July 23 was the 6th edition of our Townhall Meeting, #NOPROTECTIONNOCHILDHOOD. The theme was System’s Approach Securing A Friendly and Protective Environment for Children in a Digitalized world. Our distinguished guest facilitators were ready to do justice to the theme.

22 minutes into the deliberations and 85 people on the call, we were hacked and unpleasant pictures were shared. It was a very sad affair as our facilitators were targetted via direct messages. Our able moderator, Mr. Bosun ADEDOKUN rose to the occasion and within minutes located and removed the hacker. To ensure the hacker(s) were off our back, we ended the meeting, sent notices out to our teeming participants and reconvened.

I soberly submit that we recognize the mental and emotional impact of such unpleasant occurrence on everyone on the call, participants and facilitators alike. As we have done in private, we offer an unreserved apology for all the inconvenience this may have caused.

Now, few things stood out for me personally yesterday:

First that hacking is common to all and therefore we must keep improving our internal online security system to keep us steps ahead of hackers. The other day, one of the international organizations we work with changed their policy on online training. The advent of the policy saw a platform banned because a major and strategic meeting was hacked there.

The incident confirmed to us the relevance of the theme we chose for discuss for this theme. There seems to be no safe spaces. System undergirded by positive value system seems to be the closest solution available to be best of our knowledge and experience to safeguard our precious children and even us, their primary and secondary caregivers.

Lastly, the greatest inspiration for us yesterday was the belief of our participants drawn from Malawi, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States in us and all that we have represented since 1997 of defending the cause of the precious children we work with. Their resilience that ensured that the disruption of the hackers did not carry the day was priceless to us. With their support, instead of being frustrated, we frustrated the enterprise of the evil doers, the hackers. We had what I think is the most robust Townhall meeting we have ever had in terms of quality of participants and richness of participation. We were 85 before we were hacked and upon our regrouping, we closed out with close to 250 participants. The glory of the latter house was greater than the former.

When adversities came like a flood to test our resolve, we responded with a sense of mission, in our emotional wounds and mental dizziness, we found strength in our common purpose and soldiered on to the very end.

I dedicate this Townhall and this piece to our community of Child Safeguarding and Protection for standing by us yesterday and always. With you #WEMOVE! We are simply #UNSTOPPABLE.

Do have an INSPIRED week ahead.


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