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KRYSS Network: Supporting freedom of expression in Malaysia

This story is part of a series of profiles celebrating International Women's Day. Read about more organisations who are catalysing change for women and girls around the world here.

KRYSS Network is a Malaysian organisation focusing on freedom of expression from a gender lens. 

They conduct research and training on online gender-based violence and hate speech, including during the recently concluded 15th general election in Malaysia. The team monitors and documents cases to build an evidence base on this growing threat.

They also support meaningful access to the internet for all, recognising that for marginalised communities, the internet is an invaluable space where they can drive social change and forge identities. 

To inform public debate, the network developed a policy brief unpacking the challenges of internet access as a human right in Malaysia. They are disseminating the findings through a series of social media infographics and town hall meetings.

They also conduct outreach to schools on bodily autonomy, empowering and educating girls on their agency to make choices about their own bodies and being confident in their own skin.   

For KRYSS’s co-founders Angela Kuga Thas and Serene Lim, creating a world where power is equalised and everyone can participate and express their opinion, begins within the organisation. 

They have upended traditional power structures so that every member of the network, regardless of their gender or level, can feed into its strategy and programmes.

“I imagined the environment I would have wanted as a young woman entering activism… a place where people are at the centre, and where people are happy coming to work,” says Lim.

KRYSS benefited from Luminate-supported coaching programmes which led to them crystallising their fundamental values in the acronym ACHOO – Accountability, Courage, Happiness, Openness, and Ownership.

Honesty and vulnerability are valued at KRYSS, while recognising that it takes courage to be open with one another. “It was important to create spaces where people could feel safe and brave to challenge each other,” says Kuga Thas. “We would rather be open than have people lie and hide, and that guides our responses to each other.”