IGF 2020 WS #163 Access Challenges among Rural Communities & Local Solutions

Time
Monday, 9th November, 2020 (17:20 UTC) - Monday, 9th November, 2020 (18:50 UTC)
Room
Room 2
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Christopher Yoo, University of Pennsylvania
Organizer 2: Muge Haseki, University of Pennsylvania
Organizer 3: Leon Gwaka, University of Pennsylvania

Speaker 1: Michael Spencer, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 2: Mary Olushoga, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Harmik Singh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Moderator

Christopher Yoo, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Muge Haseki, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Rapporteur

Muge Haseki, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1-To what extent are ICT-based initiatives meeting the needs of rural communities, and how are they responding to them? 2-How can we design relevant and sustainable ICT-based initiatives for rural communities? 3-How can we reduce or eliminate barriers to digital ICT-based initiatives among rural communities? 4-What incentives can promote the use of ICT-based initiatives among rural communities? 5-What role can stakeholders play to promote ICT-based initiatives among rural communities?

Challenges: -Socio-cultural barriers to meaningful access to ICT-based initiatives among rural communities (e.g., social norms, digital skills, local content, perceived relevance, etc) -Economic barriers to meaningful access to ICT-based initiatives among rural communities (e.g., affordability, maintenance costs, etc) -Design challenges (e.g., relevance, local content) -Sustainability challenges of ICT-based initiatives that aim to serve to rural communities Opportunities: -Strategic local solutions and incentives to promote ICT-based initiatives among rural communities -Design solutions that are relevant to rural communities -The role of gatekeepers in promoting ICT-based initiatives among rural communities -The role of stakeholders in creating sustainable ICT-based initiatives among rural communities -Policy options to create an enabling ecosystem for promoting relevant and sustainable ICT-based initiatives in rural contexts.

SDGs

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description:

Description: There are growing efforts and funding spent by governments, technical community, international development organizations, and civil society to provide ICT-based initiatives in education, health, financial inclusion, and agriculture to low-income rural communities in the Global South. Even though some of these initiatives are offered free of charge to low-income rural communities, these communities still face challenges in accessing and benefiting from these services. The existing evidence suggest that rural, low-income populations live within complex systems of disadvantages and, as a result, ICT-based initiatives are likely to grapple with not just with financial barriers but also social and cultural ones. This panel will serve as an opportunity to discuss unique experiences and challenges rural communities face in accessing and using ICT-based initiatives in the areas of education, health, financial inclusion, and agriculture, and some of the strategic local solutions found effective to address them. To achieve its objectives, this panel will bring together project implementers and local practitioners with extensive knowledge and experience on ICT-based initiatives in women empowerment, education, health, financial inclusion, and agriculture in Africa and Asia. The panelists will share their initiatives as well as their solutions to create an enabling ecosystem for promoting relevant and sustainable ICT-based initiatives in rural contexts. The panel discussions are expected to generate insights which will provide practitioners and policy makers with valuable guidance about what might (or might not) be appropriate design for interventions and what policy options are needed to sustain these respectively. Through real-world examples, the panel will also show how poorly designed ICT-based initiatives fail to improve the lives of rural communities as well as best practices to improve the impact and outcomes of ICT-based initiatives, and the pragmatic trade-offs that they entail. Agenda: First, the moderator will provide background information on rural connectivity initiatives, the barriers and opportunities, driven from evidence-base research of 120 case studies around the world. Then each speaker will introduce their ICT-based initiative that aim to serve rural communities, the barriers to meaningful access by rural communities, and local solutions they have developed to address these challenges. Next, the moderator will summarize the lessons learnt and key takeaways from the discussion, and lead the discussion on how policy can facilitate the meaningful access of ICT-based initiatives by rural connectivities to ensure they benefit from these initiatives. Finally, the panel will open up to the floor for questions from the audience and online participants. Speakers: Sarbani Banerjee, GramMarg, community network/women entrepreneurship initiative in India Mary Olushoga, Founder of African Women Power Network, agriculture initiative in Nigeria Raj Poudel, Founder of Amakomaya, mobile health initiative in Nepal Harmik Singh, Zaya Learning Labs, education initiative in India Michael Spencer, Founder of SmartMoney, mobile money initiative in Tanzania and Uganda Onsite moderator: Christopher Yoo, University of Pennsylvania

Expected Outcomes

This session expects to provide practical for barriers to meaningful access to ICT-based initiatives that aim to serve rural communities and for building sustainable systems, as well as policy suggestions to facilitate to create an enabling ecosystem for promoting relevant and sustainable ICT-based initiatives in rural contexts.

The Onsite Moderator will encourage participants to speak promoting an interactive session. Online participation will also be encouraged, and the Online Moderator will report comments and questions from remote participants. There will also be a hashtag to promote the session and stimulate remote participation through social media platforms.The Online Moderator will constantly check interactions from online participants. The Onsite Moderator will refer to the platform to promote engagement and active participation from online attendants.

Relevance to Internet Governance: According to the United Nations, 49% of the world is still unconnected, most of those people live in unserved urban, rural and remote communities. There are huge investments in ICT-based solutions to these populations. However, rural communities are not fully benefiting from them. There are many challenges which are contributing to failure to appropriate the ICT-based services. This session will discuss the barriers to access to ICT-based initiatives and local solutions to enable and promote rural connectivity for digital inclusion.

Relevance to Theme: According to the United Nations, 49% of the world is still unconnected, most of those people live in unserved urban, rural and remote communities. With its focus on rural communities, this session serves well to the narrative of Inclusion.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.