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Maxence Melo

Digital Rights Advocate and Executive Director, Jamii Forums -TANZANIA

Maxence Melo is a Tanzanian Online Human Rights Defender and Executive Director of Jamii Forums, an NGO that promotes and advocates for Civil and Digital Rights, Social Justice, Accountability and Good Governance. He is enthusiastic, creative and passionate about the promotion and protection of Online Freedom of Expression and Privacy.

He is also a digital innovator and an “Information Architect” who found, the most visited website in Tanzania. exists to inform rather than to censor, to unite rather than divide, to debate rather than ignore, and that will
protect those who are courageous enough to expose the truth that the powerful would rather hide. Maxence believes that Whistleblowers play critical roles in any system.

As a certified Digital Security expert, he helps Human Rights Defenders in Tanzania to remain safe while using digital platforms. Professionally as a Civil Engineer, he worked for 8 years as a Building Economist with a Class I Construction Company in Tanzania. He supervised mega projects in Tanzania between 2002 and 2010.

Maxence has played an enormous role in making the Jamii Forums platform revolutionize online information, the state of Freedom of expression, promotion of transparency and accountability in Tanzania. He is also a member of the Forum for African Investigative Reporters.

He is an alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) by the U.S. Department of State (2017).

At an international level, Maxence has been recognized by the African Union as one of the top 3 Leading African Innovators for Change in 2018 but also by H.E President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria for strengthening the viability of Whistle-blowing Policy
tools in Africa.

He is a recipient of various Human Rights Defenders awards including the 2019 International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Online Freedom of Speech Champion in Tanzania 2018 by Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) and the Daudi Mwangosi Award (2019) by the
Union of Tanzania Press Clubs - an award for Promotion of Media Freedom in Tanzania.

He is married with three children.

“I fight surveillance by working to build secure platforms for open debate.”