By Nelly Nyadzua

My nature has always been looking out for the welfare of people. I can describe myself as very empathetic.

Having the career change, going into cybersecurity with backing in artificial intelligence, is a very technical path. But I felt there is a way I can give back to the community, and not enclose the knowledge to myself.

I have been training on matters of digital security and how people can guard themselves from bad actors online. That wasn’t enough.

The more I worked on projects, building models and securing systems, I noticed that the policies and regulations in place are not actualized to protect the consumer.

Well, you can say everyone is out the to make a profit or all. This is how I embarked on my journey to data privacy and protection.

In my research, I swam into oceans of documents, articles and a very huge lingua, that as a techie…., well let’s say wasn’t favourable to a layman.

On top of online research, I networked, asked questions, explained my shortcomings as I sought an interpretation of laws, and that’s how I learnt of Kenya Internet Governance (KeSIG) school convened by Kenya ICT Network (KICTANet).

That was in 2018.

All this time, I thought KeSIG was an add-on certification course for lawyers, ha ha (laughing emoji).

One day, in 2021, a friend challenged me to look into KeSIG course content. It was more than what I thought.

The school explained to students matters of internet governance affecting Kenya, Africa and privacy laws in various countries in the World ( EU GDPR, Canada, Brazil and other countries).

I found it fascinating that the coverage extended beyond legal issues to include current trends in technology, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

I started attending the workshops held by KICTANet to sensitize citizens on digital policies and rights.

In 2022, I applied to attend KeSIG and did not cut. Of course, I was heartbroken, but I didn’t lose hope.

I continued to attend sensitization workshops and actively applied the skills I gained through training, advocacy on social media, and engaging with citizens. I also wrote articles on digital privacy and data governance.

Additionally, I attended data privacy conferences, participated in the ISOC Kenya chapter, and joined ISACA this year.

Fortunately for me, I applied for the 2023 intake and got selected!

I am glad I worked on my end and talked to alumni of KeSIG in polishing my application.

The classes came, WOW!!! They were intense. Talk about research! We had live classes, online module classes, class discussions and individual essays where you explained the daily topics in essays.

The whole writing had me, but I came out victorious. We also had timed exams, that challenged our intellect.

KeSIG is fire with a reason.

I am grateful for how the faculty was always hands-on, ready to help, ready to explain and keep us in check with our daily deliverables. We also had industry key players coming to deliver sessions to us, and yes, we had to do articles on them, (smiley face).

I am fired up to churn out more content on advocacy on internet governance, confident in sitting and giving my opinions at tables that discuss internet governance in technology that affects me as a woman, a youth living in Africa.

Today, I say thank you to all who made KeSIG 2023 a success, and if you are ever considering a starting point in internet governance, KeSIG is your step one.

Nelly Nyadzua is a skilled and accomplished professional with a strong background in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. She is an AWS Cloud Practitioner and AI Graduate Student. She is also a Cybersecurity 2022 Fellow and KeSIG 2023 Fellow.

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