KEMMCOM Media and Communications

KEMMCOM, Meta Empower Young and Responsible Digital Citizens in Ethiopia

Abere Chane is a Grade 11 student from Assai Public School in Addis Ababa. He was in one of the computer labs in his school taking one of the series of training on safe and responsible digital media engagement before he came out with his friends to tell us his impression.

‘Information is a source of destruction in Ethiopia’, explains Abere Chane, a Grade 11 student from Assai Public School in Addis Ababa. He believes people should be informed to choose information sources carefully and verify it before sharing. In Ethiopia, the impact of social media is overwhelming despite the limited speed and coverage of internet connectivity. Social networks have been used to spread false information, violence and hate speech, more than the opportunities they provide.

Indeed, spreading sexual content and obscenity is also gaining momentum on social media. Meti Kuta in grade 11 at Vision Academy, is particularly worried about her digitally-proactive younger siblings who engage on social networks with almost no control by parents.

If the trend continues, the force of abusive behaviour coupled with uninformed exposure to social media will especially affect the personal, interpersonal and social development of teenagers who are first-time users.

Adolescents aged 13-18 make up the largest group of first time users of social media. They are its most vulnerable group of users susceptible to risks associated with unsafe and irresponsible social media use. This behaviour is also the leading cause of computer crimes and infringements in Ethiopia. As KEMMCOM, we wanted to tackle this challenge.

Elshadai Negash, Chief Executive Officer, KEMMCOM Media and Communications plc.

KEMMCOM partnered with Meta to create awareness on the safe and responsible use of social media. As a partner fully engaged in Ethiopia that understands the impact of irresponsible social media use, Meta was instrumental to support the My Digital World programme in Ethiopia. The programme trains teenagers in school to navigate the digital world based on critical thinking.

The training is important to our country. It helps to eradicate social media abuse and abusive behaviour in teenagers who have the potential to be constructive or destructive online.

Amsalu Ayeru, ICT Teacher, Vision Academy

Designed to be implemented over two months from October 2022, KEMMCOM first organised a training for over 90 ICT teachers in 50 private schools. Private schools in the capital Addis Ababa were chosen for the pilot because the students have relatively better access to broadband internet through their schools and homes.

The training for teachers focused on upgrading their specific knowledge about the digital world, particularly that on social networks, digital wellness, engagement, empowerment, learning and opportunities.

“The training KEMMCOM organised for us was inspiring. It has dramatically changed my behaviour on social media. I was very confident while training my students and was able to reinforce my awareness of the topic in the process.”

Lubaba Jemal, ICT Teacher, Hamza Primary School.

With the new-found awareness and digital-world skills, the teachers went straight to work. They actively promoted the training to get their students’ interest: ‘Our teacher advertised the training on digital awareness really well.’, explains Mekdes Zeleke, an 11 grader at Assai Public School. She and her friends were so excited about the training.

For six consecutive weeks between November 7 and December 16, the teachers intensively trained students in their respective schools after securing consent from their parents. ‘Just like I was surprised by the inspiring training for us, I was also surprised by the motivation of the students to participate in the training.’, confirms Anwar Berhane, an ICT teacher from Mount Olive Primary School.

I appreciate how the training modules were well prepared. At first, I thought the language would be too professional for the students, since in our school, English is taught from grade 7. However, I was surprised to learn that they were able to easily comprehend the training materials. Still, my fellow teachers who trained students in grades 7 and 8 had to translate it.

Daniel Amare, ICT Teacher, Assai Public School

As a pilot, KEMMCOM planned to deliver the digital awareness and safety training to 3,000 students through their teachers. Just three weeks in, the target was already met! In fact, by the end of the six weeks, nearly 10,000 students took the training. The support from teachers and schools was overwhelming.

We have three computer labs with internet connection and enough computers for each of the 40 students training at a time in each lab. We encouraged them to register online and follow the training from their slides on their respective PCs during the morning, lunch-time and after-class sessions.

Daniel Amare, ICT Teacher, Assai Public School

The students first joined the training thinking that the certificate will help them when applying for a scholarship. But then, the wisdom of the digital world captivated them; the teenagers learned essential practices that help them explore the internet and social media safely and productively.  

It was very interesting to learn about the number of people that spend so much time on the internet and how hackers operate. I am inspired to protect myself against hackers. I recently started using a mobile phone and I was able to identify and block a scam request because of the training.

Usman Nesru, Grade 8, Hamza Primary School

I like looking for scholarships online. I usually find websites that present an opportunity and I used to open all of them. I entered my email and password on these websites. I now realise how easily this behaviour exposes me to hacks. Because of the training, I have taken measures to secure my email account.

Abere Chane, Grade 11, Assai Public School

The training on privacy taught me about private and general information. It helped me realise how often I shared my email on websites that requested for it. I had to actually remove myself from many of them after the training.

Yodahe Anteneh, Grade 8, Mount Olive Primary School

The teachers and students unanimously agree that the training should be given to all students in all schools across Ethiopia. In fact, as Usman Nesru, an eighth-grader from Hamza Primary School puts it, ‘the training should be delivered to everyone who uses a phone.’ On his part, Usman is already sharing what he learned about safe and responsible online behaviour with his parents and family members.

Some of our students were asking to bring their siblings from outside the school since they found the training useful. As a result, the training should be organised to reach more students.

Daniel Amare, ICT Teacher, Assai Public School

Parents appreciate the training on digital awareness, safety and engagement for their teenage children. They supported the process to permanently establish digital awareness; they helped the children study the training materials and prepare for quiz.

Before the training my daughter spent most of her time on social media. Now she is managing her time better. When she first told me about the training I had my doubts about what she could get out of it, given the short training days. I also found out that her awareness on verifying information has improved.

Ahmed Abdurahman, Parent   

Many of the teens that took the training agree that it is equally important to train parents on digital awareness and safety. Ruth Alemayehu, in grade 11 at Vision Academy, recommends that increasing the digital awareness of parents is key to creating responsible digital citizens as children are products of their parents. Her schoolmate, Meti Kuta also thinks parents who make smart devices available without restriction for their children need the same training. As a parent, Ahmed shares the concern of both Ruth and Meti: The training is as important for me as it is for my daughter. It should be available beyond schools.


Anwar Berhane, a teacher at Mount Olive Primary School, finds the students generally responsible: ‘I felt confident knowing how they would extend this behaviour online. In fact, they have asked me to impart digital awareness to their parents on the schools’ parents, students and teachers day.’

The students are aware about social media, its use and misuse. We just awoke them to practise what they know, report abusive conduct and not be bystanders to harmful online behaviours. They needed the awareness to take action with their knowledge.

Amsalu Ayeru, ICT Teacher, Vision Academy

Beyond safe and responsible online behaviour, the training empowers teenagers to take full advantage of what the internet has to offer. It presented an opportunity to learn about the internet and social media and how to use them productively to build their non-academic skills.

I have learned to differentiate between social media for personal and professional use. I understand the importance of carefully reviewing my settings on social media platforms.

Dagmawi Tewodros, Grade 11, Assai Public School

My social media awareness was limited. The training helped me understand how I can choose the right social media platform to show my talent and creativity.

Eman Ahmed, Grade 11, Assai Public School

For some students like Yodahe, Hamza, Nathan and Bereket; the training fortified a more advanced engagement with the digital world. As mobile app and website developers, individually and in groups, they have taken a serious lesson on protecting their work.

The training has helped me reconsider the design process and privacy issues for a mobile app and website we are developing with my friends.

Yodahe Anteneh 14, Grade 8, Mount Olive Primary School

As someone who develops websites, I have learned to factor in privacy and protection so I can protect my work against hacks, viruses and malwares.

Hamza Abdulkadir 14, Grade 8, Mount Olive Primary School

Moving forward, the children take it upon themselves to inform other people about digital citizenship and responsible behaviour. For KEMMCOM, the number of students who took part in the training is very encouraging: ‘It is satisfying to see videos of students explaining what they have learned from the programme because we can see how much the training is benefiting the students.’, said Wengel Tesfaye, the Project Officer for My Digital World Ethiopia Programme.

The support from teachers and schools was overwhelming. The teachers told us that we are only scratching the surface of digital literacy projects in the country and how they can be designed and delivered in an innovative way without interfering with regular class schedules.

Elshadai Negash, Chief Executive Officer, KEMMCOM Media and Communications plc.

For similar training initiatives in the future, the teachers strongly recommend allocating sufficient time to cover each of the extensive training modules. Some even suggest that the training could elaborate and show practical steps for key learning areas such as reporting posts on social media. Contextualising the examples in the training modules to the Ethiopian situation is also found to be relatable for the students.

“Thank you KEMMCOM and Meta for your friendship! Thank you very much for working on the generation and building the nation by promoting social media awareness for us and our students.”

Lubaba Jemal, Teacher, Hamza Primary School

KEMMCOM was successful with the My Digital World Programme in Ethiopia. The magnitude of impact is extensive, given the 10,000 students trained in just six weeks which is threefold the original target. The fact that this was achieved with a modest budget is another success of the programme. KEMMCOM plans to further promote digital awareness and safety for young men and women as well as all active and potential internet users in Ethiopia. It will join hands with multinational technology companies, social networks and service providers to help shape responsible, safe and productive digital citizens.

KEMMCOM is a pioneer management consultancy in Ethiopia with a Corporate Affairs Practice Area and working on the nexus between technology and public policy. It offers a broad spectrum of services ranging from regulatory and policy advice to implementation of public policy projects.