IGF 2021 - Day 2 - WS #35 Building Capacities for Meaningful Access to the Internet

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Well, good morning, good night, good every hour if you are in a different country, different territory.  It is for me, and I think for us a pleasure to start this discussion, this space of reflection about the need to think of the way in which we develop capacity building process and how the communities will be benefited by these kind of training processes that are developing by them and for them.

     And it is a pleasure to me to share this panel with all of these wonderful people that I have the opportunity to know in another processes, and I think it will be a very, very good panel today.  I am happy to share with you these moments. 

     So we want to start with an introduction about the topic about what perspective we want to have about this topic that we think it is very important to discuss and to develop strategies and policies that let us make better capacity-building processes with the communities. 

     I want to present first off to Lilian Chamorro, she's a co-moderator on this panel. And then we will have all of the wonderful speakers that I will present to you after that.  So Lilian, the floor is yours.  We can't hear you.

     >> LILIAN CHAMORRO ROJAS:  Okay, now?  Okay.  Good day. It is a pleasure to be with you and speak about this important topic that is building capacities for meaningful access to the internet.

     In this panel we will discuss about the importance of building capacities for meaningful access.  Information around communication technologies have been designed and developed from the economic centers where applications and standards, et cetera have been created for the development.

     When we talk about communities which are decentered, it necessary to review the context and see how these technologies contribute to the development which are based on a diversity of practices such as digitalization and community models among others.  Therefore, it is necessary to carry out processes of reflection and exchange of knowledge and experiences where the complex problems and projects of each community, their values and priorities are identified and these require a flexible approach from the point of view of monitoring and public policies which respond to these other realities with various economic, social and economic conditions this process will also tell regulations that help original nice the diversity of initiatives from the territories and the actions and practices of the community themselves.  Initiatives that defer from other connectivities because it is the community themselves who celebrate, maintain and manage the network. 

     For this to happen, for communities to develop their own networks and connectivity projects it is necessary to create training and capacity building processes to exchange knowledge and experiences that enable people in the communities to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills for the installation, maintenance, and operation of the networks in technical, organizational and administrative issues. 

     In this panel we will reflect on the importance, challenge and achievements of experience of training or capacity building programs linked to communication network, the goals, the challenge that our panelists have lived in their processes and now they will bring us more information or reflections about these topics. 

     Thank you to all for being here.  Carlos, please present our panelists.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks, Lilian.  Lilian is right now in Colombia, and we are -- and I am in Mexico and all of the other -- Ndunge is in Kenya.  And our panel is also from different parts of the world and also for different types of training processes, very, very different between them but all share this characteristic to train people that -- who can maintain, operate, install and expand their own networks. 

     And this is very important to understand.  This is not about digital -- another type of training about the use of these technologies but to understand how the infrastructure works and how to maintain it and develop it. 

     And in this panel, we have Rob McMahon, he is from Alberta University in Canada.  And he works in a project with educators in Canada that they are right now training in these topics.  And I want to ask him to start with his presentation.

     >> ROB MCMAHON: Hi, everyone.  Can you hear me okay?  Great.  Thank you.

     Thank you for the introduction, Carlos.  Hi, everyone.  I was wondering can I share my screen?  I have a few slides to go with my presentation today.  Great.  Can you see okay?  Great.  Thanks. 

     Okay.  Well, thank you very much for the opportunity to present today.  It is bright and early here in Canada.  It is about 12:30 so I haven't stayed up this late in a little while so I hope I can still present okay.

     So yes, just to introduce the project here.  So it is called Digital NWT.  So I'm just one person out of a team of people working on this presenting today.

    And I will be speaking about the project in northern Canada which is involving Indigenous peoples living in the northern parts of the country.

     I'm not an Indigenous person, I'm just a visitor on those territories and honored and privileged to be able to work with people on this project.  So just to introduce you to the land and the territories we are working with and the peoples who live there. 

     This is the northern part of Canada.  You can see on my left here this is kind of a map of Canada and the United States.  We are working in the area called the Northwest Territories you can see in green there.  This is a very diverse region, so it is shown as Nunatsiaq, but the Inuit peoples who are kind of living in the northern part of that territory as well as Denendeh which is the First Nations peoples living elsewhere in the different regions. 

     If you look at the different colors and different parts of the territories, each of these are diverse communities and nations of Indigenous peoples that are separated by -- so many of them are in very small communities that are only fly-in communities or maybe have ice roads that you can only access in parts of the year. 

     And so oftentimes, you know, it is people are very reliant on telecommunication services to access public services, bank, et cetera.  So these are small remote communities.  A photo in the middle of the beautiful territories.  It is not all mountainous like this.  Some are flatter. 

     And the right are people's activities, of course, like tanning moose and caribou hides on the top here.  And this nation made their own fiber optic community network.  And just showing you it can get pretty cold there so when they're digging the trench to put their line they are working in minus 40 degrees Celsius.  It can be quite cold up there.

     So in terms of our project here are some of the partners we are working with.  Our project is led by four Indigenous organizations from the different regions I just shared about as well as us at the university and some educational institutions in the north.  And the focus is on community-based digital literacy training whereby we use a train the trainer approach.  So we work with communities and adult educators at the college to cocreate digital literacy courses on different topics and then share those materials on a free, open access basis whereby they are taken up and taught inside these smaller communities. 

     So they range in topics from the basics, you know, how to use devices, how to search the internet and so on to things like digital storytelling, data collection and community networks which I will talk about today.

     In terms of how we create the courses.  We have teams of peer reviewers from the communities that give us feedback on them, and we try to build the community.  There is not a lot of internet access.  It is expensive and limited and somewhat unreliable in communities.  But, of course, social media and so on is very popular so we try to do engagement there. 

     And we are doing door to door household surveys where we are learning from people about the self-reported levels of digital literacy.  And this on the left is one of the adult educators talking about some of the project's resources.

     This is something actually one of Carlos and I's colleagues Maria came up.  We have friends in Mexico we are working with on the project.  She introduced us to one of the exercises they use whereby we kind of weave a network among participants and then demonstrate that the internet is really about the connections between people rather than technology.

     So just throwing a ball of yarn between us and we understand we are weaving a network there.  And then the storytelling aspects of digital literacy and how you can put together words, images and sound into short digital stories whereby people can talk about why they are interested in technologies, what some of their concerns are, what some of their hopes are and so on. 

     We also tried in the curriculum to profile digital innovators.  So this would range, for example, JC here on the bottom is doing language revitalization campaign.  We try to showcase the work she is doing and people working on community networks such as Sidonia on the right here who is working up to in her community in Uluhaktok. 

     We are right now working to actually build up a course whereby we are looking at the process of planning and then demonstrating community networks.  So we have some different exercises that we work through with people in the communities.

     So, for example, here on the left you can see an exercise where they have like a tabletop almost like a board game where they have 3D printed pieces of different aspects of infrastructure, different houses, resources and so on like hospitals, schools.  They place those on a map of their own community, so each community has a map.

     And then they wire that up with a ball of yarn to show how it connects.  And the idea behind this to help them visualize what a community network is and kind of build a model of it.  And then we are working with a group called Wachoma Technologies on their nimble kit which is an offline first mesh networking technology. 

     Because of COVID, we couldn't visit the communities in person so we worked with people in the communities to try to geographically distribute the manufacturing of these units so they are kind of little kits that we have 3D printed shelving and then you put the components in the shelving which we can see in the middle here. 

     And then build a small-scale demonstration mesh net.  These are ubiquity access points.  And then preload with content and services that people can use offline, so they don't have to connect to the rest of the internet.  Am I okay for a few more minutes?  I don't want to take up too much time here.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  You have one to two minutes.

     >> ROB MCMAHON: The last thing I will talk about is I mentioned that, so we are looking at community networks as kind of alternatives to some of the limitations of the internet connectivity available in these communities.

     And one thing we learned from talking to the people there is the limitations in data and information about their level of connectivity.  So I mentioned that these are very small remote communities.  Geographically remote communities.  We have been working with them to try to collect information about their levels of connectivity with the goal of pointing out to policy makers and regulators about the gaps in universal access. 

     So we are using some user generated tests such as on the right here.  This is based on the MLAB model in the U.S.  adopted in Canada by a group called Canadian Internet Registration Authority.  So people can run a dashboard request where they click, and measure internet speed and it plots it on a map.

     We did campaigns to try to encourage people to run the test.  And the final thing I will mention is we have been adapting and using the open data kit platform using Android tablets and then having people do household surveys to try to collect some more information on levels of connectivity. 

     So people kind of go through our training and then they gain some introductory kind of expertise and experience in local data collection for topics related to technology and digital literacy.

     And the last thing I will say in my presentation is that we try to take this information from the folks who are learning alongside in the communities and then present this back to the policy makers.  So in Canada the regulator which is the CRTC or Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission is looking at the state of telecommunications in the north.  But there is a gap in available information and so we are working with our partners in the communities to try to collect some information there on what the services are like in these areas.

     At the same time as working to build community networks.  So yeah, thank you so much for hearing me today.  And yeah, that concludes my presentation.  Thank you.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks a lot, Rob, for this wonderful dissertation.  And maybe we can start to highlight some things that I think is important. 

     For example, you talked about the content, the local content on how it is important with the infrastructure and other digital platforms.  You also talk about how this training, technologies is served in other processes like this that they develop in the north of Canada and in specific with different kinds of cool tools. 

     And also it is important is how do you manage these challenges to train people in COVID times with different technologies and different machinations.  And also with collaboration, very important collaborations about technical issues and issues like this collaboration.  I think it is very, very important also to highlight.

     So thanks a lot, Rob.  And then I want to present you Ronda -- I have to pronounce it well.  It is Ronda Zelenzy-Green.  And she works in ISOC, Internet Society developing the training strategy. 

     And they are doing a wonderful job, for example, to develop online platform to help people to train themselves and to structure a whole training strategy from ISOC there.  So Ronda, it's very nice to have you here.  And the floor is yours.

     >> RONDA ZELEZNY-GREEN:  Thank you so much, Carlos.  Welcome, everyone. 

     Good morning, good evening, good night maybe in the case of Rob.  We are really glad to have you here and this is a topic near and dear to my heart so I'm actually looking forward to hearing the other speakers.

     So I will share my slides just now and start my timer as well.  So if you hear my timer go off and I stop abruptly so that I don't take over the time for everyone else.

     So as Carlos mentioned, my name is Dr. Ronda Zelenzy-Green.  And I'm the global head of training and e-learning at the Internet Society.  I want to focus on building on the theme of the session itself is now we are doing things at the Internet Society to help people move from knowledge acquisition to community-based action. 

     This is something that the Internet Society has been doing long before I arrived, but when I joined the organization in January of 2020, one of my focuses was on making sure that we were staying true to this idea of action and not just learning for the sake of learning.

     So for those of you who may not know, the Internet Society is a global nonprofit working to ensure that the internet of opportunity benefits all.  Next year we are actually turning 30!

     So we were founded in 1992 by many of the founders of the internet.  And since then, and from the beginning, education has kind of been coded in our DNA.  So in some way, shape or form since 1992 we have been engaged in education efforts and those efforts have been instrumental to reaching many, many people around the world. 

     In fact, at least since 2013 when the digital component of our training and e-learning work was launched, our e-learning work we reached over 100,000 people.  And I'm happy to also note that at present we have reached almost 9,000 people in this year alone with the work that we do.  So with that in mind, I want to get in a little bit to our approach and what it is that we do exactly.

     So as I mentioned, the Internet Society has been engaged in training and learning for quite some time.  One of the mandates I had when I joined was to kind of reimagine our learning.  As you might imagine by the time that I told you I joined the organization in January of 2020, once the pandemic went worldwide, it meant that I had to reimagine even our training and e-learning in every sense of the word.  One of the ways that I have done that is taking an approach to doing end-to-end rebuild of all of our courses.

     So if any of you are familiar with the Internet Society, you know some of our most popular courses include building wireless community networks.  They also include our courses on network operations.

     But we are also well known for our course that we offer on internet governance.  And in fact in the past, in the past year, we have partnered with several internet governance forums in different countries and also in different regions around the world to help make sure that people have the latest up-to-date knowledge and skills that they need to be able to take action in their community.  And when we say action, we mean that can be technical action.  So helping to do things related to network operations or global routing security.

     We also mean the business aspects of this.  Our IXPs course which will launch next year is not going to focus on just the technical components of IXPs but the business and social sustainability which people tend to forget about when doing international development projects that involve technology.  If it doesn't work socially from a sustainability standpoint, it will never fly.

     Separate from this we are also in the process of working with our long-term partner IEEE on redeveloping our community networks for us.  And next year we will have two courses related to community networks.  One is going to be about building community networks.  And the other is going to be about a community assessment so people can understand how, whether, if at all they should be developing community networks where they live. 

     And separate from that we encourage people to take action related to advocacy.  Our courses in our advocacy session are some of the most popular we have.  Encryption which was boosted by the global encryption data.  All are helping people to take action from day one.

     What is different about what we do and why have we been able to achieve the success and reach that we have?  One of the things that I'm most proud of personally as someone who is neurodiverse is that all of our courses are now made accessible including mobile accessible. 

     My PhD is within mobile learning so that is one of the things that I wanted to change.  We know now although we suspected then based on feedback that mobile was a huge vehicle for people who join our courses.  And we are seeing rates of about 90% of people who are learning with their mobile phones.  We are putting a mobile first approach forward and also making sure that everyone can learn with us no matter their abilities.

     And then we also engage a community of practitioners.  So although some of our courses are self-paced, the majority of them are moderated by tutors and these are people in the community, some of them have formerly worked in government, some of them are currently involved in internet society chapters and some working currently in the public or private sector in the area that our topics are covered by. 

     We also make sure that we are updating the content every year so that people come with the latest and greatest knowledge.

     And one of the things that we did that we started this year as well is a partnership with the university to obtain micro credentials for our courses and also to get industry backing from the nearly 80 members that we have at the Internet Society itself. 

     So our approach, as I mentioned, particularly when we do face-to-face work is a substantial community engagement.  And I know that was part of the reason that Carlos invited me here because we have a long-standing partnership with him and his colleagues not only at the APC, but other organizations that are doing work in the area of community development focusing on technology and particularly the infrastructure.

     From what I'm told, in the past year we had I think it was about seven at least new internet exchange points that launched across Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.  So we kind of measure our success in the outputs in terms of not just who the people that we reach but also in terms of the impact that we have in terms of growing the internet infrastructure.

     And so my kind of call to action for all of you, if you want to get involve and want to support our work, we really welcome that.  I was so delighted to see what Rob presented as well since a lot of our work also occurs with northern Indigenous communities and each year we have an Indigenous connectivity summit.

     And I will end there just short of my time.  I will be happy to answer any questions at the end if we have time for that.  Thank you.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks a lot, Ronda.  Also for that wonderful presentation and to very quickly explain all that you, as you said, ISOC has been doing for 30 years and why this experience is important to the actions that you are doing right now.

     And I think you mentioned very important thing that it is how we can make possible actions in the communities.  How this transforming practical solutions for the plans.  And I think this question is very interesting and we can try to think about it in the rest of the panel.  Thanks a lot, Ronda.

     >> RONDA ZELEZNY-GREEN:  Thank you, Carlos.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  And then I want to present you Roxana Widmer-Iliescu.  Roxana works in ITU.  She is in the office of the digital inclusion and is focal point for Indigenous people for -- sorry, accessibility.  And we are doing a lot of work also with them.  So it is a pleasure to have you here, Roxana.

     >> ROXANA WIDMER-ILIESCU:  Thank you very much.  We are talking about meaningful inclusion.  I will just with your permission, let's step back a little bit and try to see what is meaningful connectivity. 

     So you know, from some definition that it is a framework to track the components of connectivity that matters most for all users and help also decision makers to adopt the policies needed to connect people to an internet that is useful and empowering.

     From the experience that we have here in ITU, in the development sector actually of ITU, we are working for, as Carlos mentioned for over 20 years in digital inclusion of all people regardless of their gender, age, ability, or location.

     My question would be how do you access this internet?  Is this connectivity enough?  And how to arrive from the access to the use of internet.  And with your permission, I would like to share what for us it's the six As which are compulsory to enable us all to arrive to this empowerment of people through technology. 

     First of all, when we talk about access in ITU, we talk about connectivity.  And is this access enough to say that the people are connected, that they can use internet?

     So for us, the second pillar, it will be affordability.  And this affordability will enable people from one hand to pay the internet, or to be able to access to this internet connectivity but also to the device.

     And then the key word for us is accessibility.  And the accessibility, it is different from affordability.  Sometimes people use the access to internet thinking to the affordability.  But the accessibility is about the use, the usability of the technology.  And for us, the accessibility has another three A's which is adoption of policies, is the accessible ICTs like the smart technology so ICTs that can be used by everyone with varied accessibility feature from the design stage of fabrication.  And, of course, what we are talking today, capacity building.

     So alphabetization and capacity building and even beyond what we call adoption because we make a difference between being skilled or adopt the technology.

     So the fact that people are using naturally and go to technology to be used.  So from here, we know that capacity building so it's education and enable us to access information and information is power.

     And education is also a life process.  And I just want -- I have for you a very nice quote from Alvin Toffler and I mention here because he was an American writer, but he was a futurist and a businessman known for his work discussing modern technologies including the digital revolution and the communication revolution with emphasis of their affect in cultures worldwide. 

     And he said, "The elite trade of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn and learn and relearn."  And I was quoting. 

     So with this in mind, for us in the development sector of the ITU, the capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of the people.

     And if we -- if I make reference to the training program that we establish already since 2005, the tailored one training program from Indigenous community, we say that when capacity building is successful it strengthens the ability to fulfill its mission over time.  Thereby in this case, it is enhancing the Indigenous community’s possibility to have an impact in the life of the people.

     And there is a lot of nice story to say, but I only wanted to focus in one.  After the years we are realizing that regardless all our efforts we are not necessarily very successful regardless of number. 

     The numbers were very successful, but I would like to talk in terms of quality.  So and why we didn't manage from the very beginning to achieve this is because we didn't really involve Indigenous people and Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous needs from the very beginning of our training program.

     And with the help of experts who dedicate their life to working in Indigenous communities like Carlos here present, we arrived to the conclusion that quantity, it is very important.  So to train Indigenous people on how to use technology to achieve their social and economic development or for a specific activity we realized that some key issue here are let's say self-sustainability and how to develop a training program for in this case it was for technical promoters in telecommunication and broadcasting in Indigenous communities who can later on be part of the community knowledge. 

     And we were quite reluctant because it is a huge investment, and the numbers are quite small because require a whole year program.  But this was actually the most I would say valuable training that we managed to do in this 17 years by now.

     So I would say in short that from our experience the most important thing that we have to keep in mind is that from time to time we cannot see immediately big numbers of big results, but if we -- if we consider self-sustainability, socio-economic development and concrete targets like how to help a community to really enable them access, what they need, what they really are interested to and how to tailor this capacity building program to their own interests, I do believe in this case would be preservation of cultural heritage, access to education, job opportunities, or whatever other.

     And we put the right pillars, I do believe even if the result is not immediately visible, I do believe it is the right way to go. 

     And with your permission, I would also like to share a very short video.  It is only two minutes in which we try in few words to put a whole story of 15 years of work in which we try to leave no one behind and to respect everyone's needs, aspirations, goals, culture, and to adapt technology to be human centered and to adapt technology in a way that people really want to embrace technology and be empowered with.

     So Carlos, can you share this video and, of course, I'm all yours for whatever additional information or detail with about our training courses or whatever other work that ITU is doing in this area.  Thank you.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thank you.  Yes, I can share the video.

     (Captioned video)

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks a lot, Roxana.  And we will -- sorry, I don't know what happened here.  Yeah.  Okay.  That's okay.

     We will open a new call for this training program in the beginning of next year.  So it will be additive for this, and I hope in the future we can also work in another training program for other regions.  Thanks a lot, Roxana.  I think just want to highlight two things that you shared with us. 

     One of these things is this all -- this definitions of what meaningful connectivity needs to be understand more the connectivity itself and education as a life process. 

     If we understand that, we also understand that the technologies is also something that make better or worst life processes for the people.  And if technologies are appropriated and are developed by the people itself, it can be very good because they can be sustained their life in their own ways to do it and to live better with the technologies, too.

     >> ROXANA WIDMER-ILIESCU:  Our goal is to empower people.  Being human centered, considering the needs, be adaptive to the people, to the requirements, to the interests. 

     And there is no -- there is no sense to use the technology to harm people.  We want to empower them.  So let's try to find the right approach and to ensure that we empower people through technology.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks a lot, Roxana.  I want to send some greetings from here to people who are in Poland.  We can see you there in the room.  And also and a special greeting to the Uganda remote hub.  It is a pleasure you select us to be here.  So greetings from Mexico.  Here it is 3:00 in the morning so it is also very early, but we are very happy to be here with you.

     The next speaker is also I think very interesting process.  She is Risper Nyambok.  And she works in work in Kenya, and they are doing with another organization that we are working with in the initiative from ABC and Rhizomatica, two national schools for community networks. 

     So the next two speakers, she and Gustaff, will be talking about the process in which they are designing and thinking how to develop a contextualized and very meaningful training process in their countries.  So Risper, it is a pleasure to have you here and see you.  I can see you right now.

     >> RISPER NYAMBOK: Thank you so much, Carlos.  I would like to thank you for inviting me here.  And I feel very, very honored to share this moment with all of you in the room and in this place to just talk about our experiences and what we have learned so far with the process.

     So I would really love the presentation -- I really love the presentations that already happened because they sort of speak to my presentation and just summarizes like the whole purpose of why we are doing what we are doing. 

     And just to add on to what Roxana mentioned in terms of technology being a really huge part when it is in the hands of the community themselves and not as handing it down to the community.  It is not a top down but a bottom-up approach. 

     And something interesting that I came across that says connectivity is only good for those with devices and devices are only good for those who have the knowledge to use them.

     I think that is where this whole work of other than just connectivity, how else can we meaningfully participate in the online space and how can we better use our technology to also boost our socio-economic status, to boost our knowledge and skills to be very, very competitive in this competitive world.  So I wanted to share that before I jump into what my presentation.

     So we have been doing a couple of things with regards to this training.  It is actually -- it started in 2020 where we met to just land on the alternative way of capacity building in the community that we engage with that has -- who are already using our own processes in training.  But then getting people to use the participatory actions as such, the technology to engage the communities that we are training and also engage the different community networks in Kenya so that we have knowledge and also we have the communications of the work that we are doing for easy learning and easy exchanges. 

     In 2020 last year we started with synergy building, just planning on how the training would look like and also the work with Carlos and his team shared with us online to just help us understand what it means to have a human-centered design in creating the training processes and engaging the community for their own good of creating the training processes. 

     So when thinking through it, engaging the community in the design phase and the implementation phase and also just when evaluating the entire processes.

     So the scenario building, we mapped out the different community networks in Kenya.  Initially we got four, but our goal was to get seven community networks.  And once we had already mapped them out, we did -- we did that interview with all of the community networks just to understand where they are and what the community networks are doing, what are some of the successes that they have experienced, challenges and also best practices that they have been applying.  And mostly, what are the training needs of some of the training areas that we would have loved to be trained on. 

     And from that, we came up with a report on that data which is actually where we just analyze what they talked about, came up with a report that summarizes all of the training needs, the experiences and then from there -- sorry, I have a cold -- from there we narrowed down because they -- there was a lot of training that came from that interview.

     So we narrowed it down to core areas.  We came up with eight core areas that we are training the community networks on.  Just to mention them, we are training them on community and community networks, there is one on policy and regulation, sustainability, and financial management. 

     We also have organizational processes and structures of our community network.  There is also policy and regulation.  We will also be training them on sustainability and, of course, connectivity needs which is the network infrastructure.  So how we have arranged this process is we have mentorships, online mentorships that have been ongoing since October this year. 

     And what we are doing there is inviting expats from different regions, local and from the global to come  and speak what the experience is and mostly speak about them from when they started it and how they have been -- they have been facing issues or how they are attacking challenges. 

     At the mentorship it is much more of information share.  It is not more of tackling the problem at hand but just creating the space for everyone to share the experiences.  Once the expat shares, the community network ask questions.  And those just define -- get the understanding more but also like in terms of what has been happening.

     And then from the data that we got there it will now help us to create community networks when we invite network experts.  Actually we have committee of experts which consists of expats and community networks and representatives themselves just talking and elaborating more on these issues that have been raised through the research and also through the mentorship.

     From that, we are creating curriculum that while it is vast in terms of the coverage, and we are also glad that we are partnering with ISOC in doing so.  So just creating curriculum that meets with the needs of the community networks.  And also a curriculum that responds to the different needs.

     It is a very interesting process because as we also are interacting with them, we are realizing that there are curriculum that already exist and so we don't need to get -- it is just a matter of strengthening or designing or adding on to what already exists.  So that is in terms of the mentorship and the advisory committee that we are looking forward to creating.

     So something also that we are doing right now is we actually at the moment we have all of the community networks, we have come to the coastal region of Kenya, and we are having our first exchange.  So this is the first time the community mentors are meeting each other. 

     And so the main purpose of our travel to the coastal region of Kenya was to visit one of the community network.  He has posted us here in the coastal region. He has hosted us here in the coastal region and it has been quite interesting so far and fun. 

     So the first day when we got here we went for bonding and just people to get to know each other and just share with each other before now getting into the sessions.  We have a couple of photos that we can share.  Carlos?  Thank you. 

     So this is the setup of where we are at the moment.  And we have been having different conversations since the first day we got here and so like yesterday we were training on community and community networks and just looking at the access needs of our community whereby we are talking about community networks and not just implying more on the access but also there is the technology for management processes and desires and needs and process of the communities in which they are developed. 

     And for us creating and managing community network is not just a technical matter but a way of using, creating and transforming communication tool in a particular territory with the ways of life, development, objective, culture and identity.  And this process has just brought that into light.  So that was the first day which was yesterday. 

     Today we are doing more of deployment.  So we are doing site visits to the different areas that will be deploying.  As one of our goals we were to deploy wi-fi hot spots at all of the areas.  That is what we will be doing the whole of today.  Thank you.  Thank you, Carlos.  So those are like some of the photos of just the sessions ongoing.

     So we definitely feel that this is a very good process in bringing everyone together in creating meaningful content that enables us to create meaningful community networks and also create meaningful networks for the community themselves.

     So I'm very happy to see what we have for the next upcoming days and also just to learn more on what the rest of the speakers have in store for us.  Thank you so much, Carlos.  And back to you.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks a lot, Risper.  I think it is very interesting how you address this challenge of design community networks that phased the ways of layering and ways of sharing knowledge in the communities that you are working with.

     And also how we need to think beyond the workshops or the specific activities and more to think on the comprehensive program with other type of capacity building like the mentorships and also these advisory committee and everything you are doing there. 

     And also another thing that I think it is shared with all of the examples that we have in this panel is that it is important to make networks between the people to make these spaces to let people in contact themself and share their dreams and problems and make it possible to make the networks of technician or people who know how to manage and maintain their own network. 

     Thanks a lot, Risper.  And also send my greetings to the people who are right now in this process there.

     Also I want to present you the final speaker of the panel.  He is Gustaff Harriman Iskandar.  And he is from Indonesia, and he works in an organization who also works right now with community networks and also they are a developing their own national school of community networks.  And they have another training program that it is very important that I would like Gustaff to share with us all of these processes.

     >> GUSTAFF HARRIMAN ISKANDAR:  Thank you, Carlos.  Hello, everyone. 

     I hope you are in good health despite of the very challenging situations that we have at the moment.  I will try to share some of our story from Indonesia, the local community network as well as establishing the school of community networks with a lot of interesting challenge but as well opportunities.

     Let me share some of the picture.  So here I think same like everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic internet connectivity is already an essential tools dealing with our daily life not only for communications but also for many aspect.  And Indonesia even though that we have a quite significant growth in internet penetrations in many regions in Indonesia, but the digital divide are still real challenge for us in general.

     Some of this challenge primarily confront with many components and issues so ranging from the basic internet infrastructure, the geographical challenge because Indonesia is very big, so many islands and remote places and so on.

     And there are differences in bandwidth costs between Java and off of Java Island and there are so many other reason why digital divide is a real challenge in Indonesia which include lack of digital skills and gender gap.  Digital skill in Indonesia is quite low based on report made by our government. 

     And the community networks is part of strategy to support community initiative.  This is part of the digital access program as well as initiative that we are developed together with APC to address the digital divide challenges in Indonesia.

     Apart from digital divide, I think speaking we have a lot of similar things in terms of common challenges.  In Indonesia we have quite huge population growth, for example, as well as increasing gap between people in urban and rural areas.  And we also are experiencing the impact of time change as well as the latest COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. 

     And in west Java alone it is predicted we are going to have a hundred million people in 2045.  So it's going to be well -- some people say it's going to be like a benefit, but basically it will be from some perspective it's going to be also a population challenge as well.

     And digital divide is not only in Indonesia but in west Java is one of the most populated provinces in Indonesia.  And we still experience the digital divide challenges especially in the southern coastal area where we are focusing our initiative at the moment.

     So what is community networks?  Based on our understanding, community networks is basically the structure that are made by people, for the people and used and utilized for the people.

     We have framework for this.  It has to be legal, which means comply with the existing policy and regulations.  So the internet also have to be safe.  A safe space for everyone.  It should be affordable and meaningful.

     And in regards to develop, the local community base therefore bring some kind of framework which we call it 5L which stands for low tech, low energies because in rural areas sometimes we have problems with energy supply.  It should be low maintenance.  It should be easy for everyone to look at. 

     And everyone should be -- have an access to learn how to build it.  And local support is one of the main important aspects from this framework.

     And what we are understand about meaningful communication is it should be directly related to some agenda that is important for us.  For example, to improve services and therefore being a platform for health services and COVID-19 pandemic response and so on and so on.

     And the school of community networks, actually the cost cutting approach in order to deal with existing digital divide challenges especially in the rural areas and other places in Indonesia.  We are directly engaged with policy and regulation on human rights and even gender equality, digital literacy as well as internet for all innovation in terms of improving public communications, COVID-19 response and improve our education process as well as economic recovery and to support the local knowledge and content production and distributions.  To make internet more relevant for many people in our country.

     This is the two locations that we are working at the moment.  The first is in Kasepuban and the other one is in Ciracap district.  Both is located in southern coastal areas of west Java.  And we develop a multi-stakeholder involving government, civil society organization and education sector and private sector and international partners like APC and including Sida and ITU

     This is the School of Community Network Development locations at the moment from the northern part of Sumatra in Aceh, this is like the marked area of Indonesia to several locations.  And there are several additional location on how we decided to work in these locations is by many input either from the board of advisor as well as some partner organizations but closely working with us like ICT Watch and Indonesia ICT national volunteer network. 

     So this is some of the activities that we are organizing.  We actually tried to do an online workshop but based on our experience face to face and onsite workshop activities is more impactful even though it was quite challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. 

     So we have to comply with the COVID-19 prevention protocols in order to do this.  Yeah, this is some of the activity, the workshop with teachers, with citizens and youth communities and so on.  Okay.  Thank you.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thank you.  Thanks a lot, Gustaff.  I think your experience is also very, very interesting.  And because a lot of things, especially I like very much the 5Ls to understand the meaningful connectivity how we need to develop low tech, local support, low energy, low maintenance, and low learning curve. 

     So if we can achieve that and we focus on that, I think the training process in the specific technical issues will be very, very nice and we would have a very good processes.

     And also if we link that with another processes like the economic and education and process that communities needs it is very, very really important to understand the whole panorama to develop meaningful access for communities.  Thanks, Gustaff. 

     This is now the time to open the floor to have some questions, comments.  Share other experiences, training.

     So just please raise your hand or take the mic in the room in Poland.  So we are happy to listen to you.

     >> AUDIENCE: Can I go first?


     >> AUDIENCE: I have been active in community networks and media for a long time.  I really appreciated the presentations. 

     They have been fantastic and enlightening and it so great to see so many things happening in many parts of the world.  I hope to be able to visit a number of you because I am currently doing an evaluation for APC and Sida of the project mentioned there a couple of times.  It has been a brilliant opportunity for me at least to see you face to face and learn more about the projects.

     I just wanted to ask a couple of questions because this evaluation really is about seeing, looking at the environment for community networks and what is needed to kind of expand the movement into something more.

     And I was struck by the contrast between Kenya and Indonesia, for instance, both of which I hope to visit.  You might know it, but that is the case I will be asking in the near future. 

     In Kenya, for instance the questions I would have there immediately are what do you think is needed to expand what is going on in community networks into new communities?  I was delighted to hear there were six or seven community networks are going of different times.  Both in terms of motivating communities and in terms of building their knowledge about these possibilities. 

     But also on the other side in terms of regulation, financing, policy, that kind of stuff.  So what are the main barriers but what are the main opportunities and what would be needed?

     And then if I could ask Gustaff in Indonesia, similar question.  What is obviously a very, very different situation in Indonesia where it seems to be I hesitate to say top down.  I don't mean top down, it is a bottom-up process but nevertheless there is a support for a program here to do this. 

     I have the same questions still as to are there limits to that kind of expansion into communities and what would be -- what actions could be taken and are you taking to extend that network in different areas?  Two questions.  One for Risper and one for Gustaff.  Thanks very much.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks.  Put together two or three questions.  We have another in the room, and we have also the one hand that is up.  So the one in the room and then the Uganda remote hub.

     >> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much.  I'm in the Internet Research Foundation.  I have a couple of interventions. 

     The first one is for us in the developing -- for us in the developing countries to be able to succeed in initiatives such as yours, I think there are one or two things that we need to consider when it comes to community network.

     The first one is we have to look at the role of central government in planning this, but ultimate implementation should be by local government in collaboration with local communities. 

     Most of time we see people coming from the developed world coming to our communities to initiate such good program but then we realize that they come with all the expertise and then they implement what they have to do and then when they leave the project dies off.  So we need to look at that.

     Number two is one size fits all approach from the global world does not work in the developing world.  But incentives, transfer of skills, all that is another key.  What we are also realizing is that you come to the developing world to initiate this nice project and then the local leaders most of them are not involved in the processes.  And when you finish the project and you leave, the projects tends to white elephant.  And so we need to also look at that.

     And then also looking at enabling environment for private sector to strive is key.  But investment incentives have to be geared towards host countries and drawing local content.  There is again nice projects, comes to Africa.  And then we forget about the local contents and then we tend to look at Facebook, Skype and all that. 

     So I think some of this project have to be geared towards some of the economic activities within the locality.  Looking at the various sectors of government. 

     Number one example is agriculture.  You know agri employs about 70 to 80% of our population.  So if we can initiate such project related to that, for example, a farmer sitting in the rural community doesn't need internet to browse Facebook and all of that.  The farmer needs local content. 

     For example, the farmer goes to farm, the farmer plants the crop, and the crop grows and there is a particular disease affecting the crop.  The farmer doesn't know anything.  What can the farmer do?  If there is content, the farmer can take the snapshot of the disease of the plant and send to maybe a center or something for analysis. 

     And then the results come back to the farmer in the local language.  I think that would be solving a problem.

     We are talking about the food securities.  Farmers do the produce and then don't get buyers to buy the product.  If the network is there and the farmer can use the network to locate buyer, we should be solving the problem in the developing countries. 

     We should not be thinking just -- we should not be thinking just about the community network but look at various economic activities of those communities, health, education and all that.

     And so I think that's what I have to say.  Thank you.

     >> One last in the room if you don't mind.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Please, we have a schedule.  We have a hand here in the room so please with all this process in the internet format.  And please if we ask if your question more quickly to address all of them.  So we need to go to one in the room that has Uganda that has his hand up for some time.  Please.

     >> AUDIENCE: So I go ahead or just sit?

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Just please wait.

     >> AUDIENCE: Okay.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Go ahead, Allan Magezi from Uganda remote hub.  We can't hear you.  You have a question or not?  Please --

     >> GUSTAFF HARRIMAN ISKANDAR: I think you are still on mute.

     >> ALLAN MAGEZI: I think it was muted.  Thank you so much.  It is important that we understand the context of our discussion this morning.

     Firstly, my name is Allan Magezi and I'm joined from the remote hub in Uganda.  And I'm liking the fact that we are being mainly considered around building capacities with respect how we can obtain meaningful access. 

     And if you realize many of the speakers were mainly focusing around community networks.  So this is evident that the community networks are playing an important potential in building the capacities so that different communities have meaningful access. 

     Then my question is then how is the ground level for these community networks?  Of course, by nature community networks are nonprofit organizations.  So if the community network has to fully impact its agenda, how do you then lay out that ground in respect to other big budget companies that are running perfect kind of sessions.

     And briefly I just want to think that if we are looking at how can help the community networks then we should be focused two major aspects. 

     One is the necessary regulations and policies and meeting where when this community networks are doing their work.  And the other is that affordable and necessary infrastructure.  First putting in place infrastructures is quite expensive for the community networks that really don't run big budget withs.

     So I think our discussion we are having I personally come from the Internet Society Uganda chapter, and we have been talking about share with infrastructure how do we, for instance, share the backbone, the fiber with the community networks that at least the community attains meaningful connectivity and as well access. 

     And the other is policies and regulations.  For example, in Uganda you have the telephone regulator that requires any community networks in the country to pay a license of 2,500 U.S. dollars.  And that was -- we are taking a huge amount for community networks that is just starting and is running a nonprofit session. 

     We think that is a big one and I feel as a global conversation we think that some of these regulations should be some sort of tailor made and customized in the land with the kind of work the service provider is doing.

     Lastly, the other is in terms of actually now I will come to the session I think Ronda from ISOC in place of how ISOC has really run different session in terms of building capacity, and she highlighted the fact that we are running different courses. 

     Yes, it is true that ISOC and we want to ISOC for that that several education in Uganda has been affected.  But in regard to that, we are continuing the discussion with regard to different content in different languages.  And still ISOC I think has been running our series in regards to how we can access the content in your local language. 

     We believe some of the content being accessed is in a few languages.  Why should I be limited -- why should I have to go to a different kind of language to access content?  If in East Africa I have access in Swahili or in Portugese or in America, access in English.  That is the kind of discussion we are trying to build on. 

     And I want to thank ISOC, the Internet Society for putting resources in terms of human resource in terms of finances as well.  It has really make sure that at least enough necessary capacity has been built to attain a meaningful access and connectivity around the globe.  Thank you so much.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks a lot, Allan.  So Akintunde Seriki. And the question in the room and we need to finish the questions to answer some of them.  So please, Akintunde.

     >> AKINTUNDE SERIKI: Hello.  Good morning here, good afternoon, good evening where you are.  I'm so happy to be here. 

     I'm Akintunde from Nigeria.  I'm a new member for ISOC and just trying to find my way around it.  So my question is some of my questions are really going to go towards ISOC itself and other areas.

     The very first question is to ask especially for society like ISOC and even ITU for someone who is probably just looking around in the environment like in Nigeria, for instance, for anywhere in Nigeria, the communities where you have developed the community network and you really want something like that to start and you really have no direct access to probably any media organizations or anything like that, what are the step-by-step kind of guidelines you give for somebody just come in? 

     And looking to say, okay, I really want to.  I think a community of network is going to benefit communities around me.  Kind of step-by-step guidelines for someone just coming in.  What do they need to learn and how would you say, okay, take this step or connect with this person and connect with these people and go from there to really getting to the point of where we start at that moment. 

     And then getting to really establish a commitment that can really help.  That is one question for I think Roxana. 

     And then also like to build on what was said, it is really a case of tailoring solutions in communities or in developed across different areas through the local experiences.  Even within a particular country, different regions have different needs when it comes to community networking.  And I don't know if these organizations are actually really looking at that. 

     For instance, most of the developing countries generally need capacities building that tends towards helping them to not just use the internet but actually for socioeconomic sustenance.  So I think a lot of community networks should be moving towards or towards really looking at the problem each individual community is having and trying to solve those problems with the community network plan that they are having.

     I don't know if there are set in plans in place from the major organizations as well to really adapt development of community networks through different localities, each community.  Do they really -- are you really look at what you need and how to adapt the idea of developing internet work for communities as well.

     (Scheduled captioning time will end in two minutes)

     And how do you really want it.  So, for instance, Internet Society in Nigeria.  Does ISOC have a way to check on what they are developing and have a way to know that they are impacting by adding an ISOC chapter somewhere?  And do they aware that you really check, and you measure success and try to expand on that.  Those are my questions.  Thank you.

     >> CARLOS FRANCISCO BACA FELDMAN:  Thanks a lot.  Some of the answers are right now in the chat from Ronda with some of the guide you can follow. 

     And also there is my personal e-mail and my work e-mail to contact me.  And I can share with you and contact with other people if you want to answer them. 

     We don't have time to answer all of the questions today because we have only one minute left.  So if you want to comment to the person in the floor who wants to address some topic, and we need to finish this panel, I'm sorry.  Sorry.

     >> Very quickly for the guy in Nigeria.  I'm from the Tanzania Chapter Internet Society.  For the guy, I don't know his name, but he was asking about the guidelines for starting community networks. 

     I mean he can visit the ISOC portal global.  There is some information there.  And also consider the issue of what happens if in your remote village there is a problem of water, what does the villagers normally do?  They will come and sit around the fire and try to find a solution for that.  So you can do that the African way.

     That is what the community networks is all about.  So you -- you approach people and ask whether internet access is the problem.  So if it is the problem, you find a communal way of trying to address that challenge.  Through that I think you will be able to address the issue of avoiding the notion of imported menu type of community networks.

     I don't think I have enough time to be able to ask questions, but we also tried to implement community networks in Tanzania in 2017.

     And I think the challenge has been the issue of spectrum, the issue of policies that govern the establishment of community networks.

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