Using Facebook for good: An Azerbaijani activist
Vafa Naghi, 38, is a former journalist and graduate of Istanbul’s Sabahattin Zaim University. After graduation, she moved back to Khol-Karagashly, her native village, in Azerbaijan and set up a sewing workshop to help six local women find jobs and their independence. In December 2019, Vafa was elected to the municipal council in the same village. Since her election, she has used social media to report on local corruption.
Vafa tries to solve the problems she posts on Facebook and other social media platforms since the law often fails to help those who need it. Earlier this year, Vafa spoke out about several cases of minors being raped in Neftchala. Her efforts resulted in a public outcry against the crimes.
Sometimes people ask her for help directly and her efforts have made her tiny village famous in Azerbaijan. However, not everyone supports her efforts. Some write private messages or threatening comments on her posts. For instance, after a year of publicly taking on current and former officials over legal wrongdoing and problems with the municipal budget, Vafa’s private photos were hung throughout the village in an attempt to discredit her. All of the pictures were titled “Lady Gaga.” Even though she and her family have been targeted, Vafa continues her fight to find justice for the victims of violence and abuse. The head of the municipality resigned in 2021 and is facing a trial.