Into the Zanga

From TCU Wiki

Workshop: Into the Zanga

  • Who: Layla Taha
  • Date: Tuesday, May 11th

Demo of the web-app, an Arabic-speaking app store for digital security and censorship circumvention tools.

// We will be hosting a 20 minute post-workshop networking exercise to allow folks to meet others who share their interest, and strengthen collaborations across various lines. Make sure to schedule in 20 minutes extra on your calendar, if you are interested in joining //

Trained as a journalist in the Middle East, Layla Taha is the director of and is a volunteer at Localization Lab. Through her work, she hopes to fight censorship in all its forms and make resources for doing so available in her mother tongue: Arabic.

>> Check out notes from other sessions here


  • has been inspired by Asl19's The purpose was to provide a platform in Arabic where users can download, test, evaluate and learn more about digital security and circumvention tools.
  • The website features different categories of apps and solutions:
    • Chat and communication
    • Digital Security
    • Circumvention
    • Civic Tech
    • Search bar: search apps by their english names (search in Arabic coming soon)
    • App page: number of downloads, more information in easy and accessible language in Arabic about every app, what is it useful for & a FAQ, there is a section for user reviews
    • There is the possibility to ask for support to about any tool (using the button contact support services)

Suggestions from members:

  • Choice of tools: always recommending open source options/ peer-reviewed, publicly audited
  • Always keeping first download options from official sites
  • How about adding F-Droid?
  • On the user review feature: we have to be careful about opening reviews to the public, maybe moderate reviews to make sure the reviews are helpful
  • On the number of download: thinking about how the number of downloads can affect the apps choice (user more likely to select the most downloaded app)
  • Updating the hash for the app regularly​​​​​​​

How to download apps from in case of censorship?

  • There are services like download by e-mail
  • Auto-responder:

The blog

  • More information on digital security providing tools for journalists and HRDs. There will be more country-based educational pieces on internet freedom in our region.
  • Check the latest: Use cases of VPN in Syria


  • How can we support
    • I'm not a techy person, I am a mediator between users and developers of secure tools
    • E.g: Egypt is trying to disrupt Tor Bridges, we try to communicate the users experience to the developers. We need feedback on which apps to add and also which ones to remove. Share your feedback here: or e-mail:
    • Subscribe to Zanga's mailinglist
  • Why Zanga the name?
    • There were a few alternative that meant "street" or alley in different Arabic dialects.
    • An alternative that would have been the word for street in the sudanese dialect. The choice of Zanga was in a way reclaiming what a dictator (Gadhefi) used to threaten protestors. Maybe "Darbouna" (street in Iraqi dialect) would have been less controversial..
  • Your audience?
    • From the SWANA region, Arabic-speaking countries, mostly from Egypt
    • Users from all gender identities with equal percentages have been visiting Zanga