IGF 2021 - Day 3 - WS #26 Digital Skillsets: Is this it?

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.



>> MODERATOR: Good morning, everybody.  My name is Gabriel Karsan I'm from Tanzania.  I have been introduced by many things.  I'm an internet leader.  Some might call me an activist, and I would like to welcome you all to the session today.  I would like to start with the point to set the tone on how we will tackle this chapter.

The chains on my mind were placed and broken by my own kind and my kind is all of you, let me leave each other behind.  Our spectacles intended propriety leave us blind and the will that pushes us to understand places, user in the stands of inequities, stomping on us and standing on us while we think we are progressing trying to stand on our own two feet, in reality, we are insignificant fetuses sinking in the sand.  Is this it?  Or am I just losing my mind?  Would you call, my kind, let me drown in the sand?

I believe literacy gave humans freedom.  Economic freedom.  Political freedoms.  Freedoms are expression, speech and freedoms of thought.  Digital literacy came and accelerated this process to new frontiers.  We are better.  We are more connected.  We are free to associate and innovate. 

I know most of you here by name and we met on social media, and it is all due to the marvel of digital literacy and the digital innovation.  Nelson Mandela once said education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. 

So how are we personally changing the world?  The generation that made the internet responded to a calling of creating and fabricating one of the greatest and equitable in existence of humanity the internet. 

For once the wearier was broke and nature was shook for the better.  We are more connected.  They cultivated with hard work, intelligence, will and grateful inclusion to build the global community that we share to deepen our roots of sustainability. 

Now it is ubiquitous that the internet is a human need.  It is a human right.  It is a human characteristic.  It is true that there is no innovation that is not susceptible to human error.  And though the intention was marvelous of creating the internet cracks exist. 

That is why it is important to build the character of the builders that can be reflected on the characteristics of the building.

Brick by brick we need to build an internet with strong foundations and strong institutions based on the literacy programs.  Digital literacies are life skills like many others.  For most of us here we can't imagine a life without the internet.  The reality, some of us come from areas where people cannot even perceive the basic understanding of what the existing infrastructure is or how to use it, how to be meaningful connected that you can be privileged enough to change your life. 

An incredible innovation of humankind, and it is unimaginable that we still have a digital divide.  We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.  They were able, sadly, we also created an elite system of a few people that is not based on maximum representation.

While half of us remain unconnected, and others have been saved from poverty, chains of control, we are not blind any more.  We see the world better through the internet.  We get to see reality in a different perspective with the lenses of the digital system. 

Why aren't digital skill sets basic knowledge?  Why isn't the digital world a -- everybody has that knowledge.

Digital here with digital literacies.  Should this really be it?  What about the others who aren't privileged enough to be online?  Just privileged enough to have the connection and actually understand it because simple literacy of understanding, basic reading and writing helped a population emancipate themselves.  And being truly free and understanding who they are and through that we build a better world, and we have testimonies of that.

Don't the others that we have left behind want to experience the emerging technologies, the cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other technologies to eradicate human suffering and create prosperity. 

Or do we leave this exclusively to the only members club who can afford to be connected and be opportunists who can actually capitalize on the emerging technologies?  What about the others?  What are we doing for them?

While we may happily exchange our data, our bitter expressions of oneself to corporations and government, why can't these stakeholders reciprocate to create a level playing field for all people to boost inclusion and gain and add the population of innovators and people who can lead the world through new and more effective means.

Without a skilled labor government becomes ineffective.  We need labor because labor powers the government.  Laborers are the ones who create each and every thing.  Why don't we have a balance?  And in the modern world what does labor need to be fully equipped so that they can have their stand in creating a better life and better world? 

Isn't it the goal and vision of technology to make life better, if I might ask?  To empowering people with it.  Giving them access and the ability to engage with technology so we can create collective progress.

For all of us without barriers of entry or discrimination, is it a form of control that digital literacy remains closed and limited for the ones who pull the strings?

I think of young Uganda and Tanzania girls during the pandemic who weren't able to go online and study.  Who weren't able even to understand it that you can actually use the internet to progress yourself. 

Two years without an education.  Life is gone.  Within these two years, they are still fetching water, doing the menial jobs.  Not even understanding that you can be privileged enough to emancipate yourself and create a better living condition. 

So are these digital skill sets not necessary for these young kids?  Don't they want them?  And what are actually the digital literacy skill sets that we need to give to the young people or give to this population, especially during the times of the pandemic where we have a been really digitized.  We are still in an elitist digital bubble. 

Digital here, should this really be it?  I would like to start with you, Lily.  Being a young and bold and active citizen, what do you think?  Can you walk us through your experience through the digital literacy and what it has done to you.

>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: Can you hear me?  All right.  Good morning, everyone.  And good afternoon or good evening to also people online depending on where you are joining us from. 

So Karsan has broken down to us the essence of connectivity, affordability and usage. 

At a session today, a Ghanian MP said something that I thought was profound.  He said that we have connectivity or when there's a connection and the opportunity for the people to connect to the internet, without literacy it is meaningless.  That gives you the pivotal role of literacy in allowing people to maximize the use of the internet.

And I'm going to tell you my story.  So I have been working during the pandemic two jobs and also volunteering and doing stuff online for the Ghana Internet Governance Forum.  Youth Special Interest Group.

Now we have to even ask people who are growing up using internet, they had to evolve in the technology, and it's brought tools that can help us do the work we are doing before the pandemic hit. 

Everybody was previously working on, say, Zoom and getting so comfortable using Zoom.  But then there were some that came up that would allow you to probably collaborate better.  There was WebEx, there was Miro, and other ones that your find out that probably gives you an extension of the offline world, allowing you to collaborate for longer hours to see and even pinpoint with your team members and to collaborate in real time on projects to work on.

Now I'm going to put side by side what we are also doing for people in rural Ghana and how we are able to gauge the usage and getting through the work they had to do in the work of the pandemic.

I live in (?) before.  And our call then during the pandemic was for affordability.  We were thinking about things like how much is it to connect the bundle you are buying or the bundle you are getting and how it is for you to as a young graduate to buy the data to work throughout the day. We had tools we were going to use to connect to the internet.

But then there are people in, say, rural Ghana who didn't even have devices.  First they had to deal with access.  And now to be able to use and understand the tool they are using they need electricity, which is also the missing link. 

Even languages that they communicate in.  Ghana's official language is English, but I find that kids that are growing up have to be taught.  And you all learned English in school.  So you have to be taught.  And literacy is that part they will teach you, even literacy in communication and technology teach you the why, the what, the how. 

So imagine young kids or like people in high schools and junior high schools trying to navigate the space and yet not understanding probably the very language that would help them to navigate this space.  And that is also problematic.

Put that aside and run through how literacy would also protect people's access to information when it comes to online usage.  And that I think now is people talk for us because you are looking at the strength of the internet on one end, and technology.  As somebody who uses it, I have had many benefits from it. 

But there is that continuing conversation about building the internet of trust which is built on security and your awareness of it and how you can navigate the space yourself.  So people are able to get on platforms now.  Maybe their very first entry will be Facebook, which is very popular for young people. 

And what they do on Facebook is to be in communities.  And communities for them is firstly the technology sharing.  That is fine.  But there is that strength of you being as opposed to say scams and even people fall victim to what you call cat phishing or people who find love online or many others. 

So I have been in the space and haven't known these and being in spaces like this where we talk about this I'm able to find out what essentially is right and what not to click and what to look out for and how to find out what are threats and then to like avoid them. 

But people who are just skilled and not maybe literate in essence have the large gap to cross.  And you first have to work them to the maximizing usage before you move through to having them understand essentially things about security and awareness. 

Now, Karsan asked whether I would allow him to drown in his quagmire, I mean there was a lot of things he said. 

But this is like a current call for all of us.  And it starts from us, advocacy, knowledge sharing.  And you think this is -- we are going so far ahead, but nobody has even figured out fully how the space is like. 

And if you are asking about meaningful connectivity and access and skill sets, what everybody has in that toolkit now as youth advocate is that initial knowledge you take from your studies on your own or forums like this.  And your ability to pay it forward is what would save people like Karsan from drowning if they were in situations like Karsan described. 

This is how I navigated the pandemic having to evolve with the times.  And still I advocate as somebody who was in the space having to appreciate on one hand what is happening in other parts of Ghana especially and the work that has to go into it. 

So probably I'm moving also to Jackie.  Jackie is from eastern Africa.  Maybe she wants to share with you how you are able to navigate the space in the work of the pandemic, what literacy has meant to you, and what you have seen differ in your part of the continent?

>> JACKIE: Thank you so much, Lily.  So during the pandemic, one thing that came out clear is that there is an urgent need to close the connectivity gap. 

And there are so many things that go into closing the connectivity gap.  So to bring multiple online, one thing that should also be considered is fostering digital literacy.  Because inasmuch as we avail the internet, let's say, in rural areas or even in the subareas, we get that people who are not able to choose basic ICTs.  There are people who are not able to use mobile phones and laptops and even they do not know how to utilize the internet. 

So I think in closing the connectivity gap, one thing that comes out clear at this point is for starting digital literacy, that is teaching people the basic skills of utilizing ICT.  That is one way for people to even leverage the benefits that come from the internet and even for economic growth and education and things. 

So what came out clear during the pandemic is the many resources that can be used over the internet.  Zoom for meetings and even the resources used in organizations. 

So in the legal sector, many court cases actually moved online.  And one thing that came out clear during this process is that even lawyers themselves don't know how to use many ICT resources like Zoom and even Google Meet.

You find people doing weird things online and even just having difficulties in connecting to the internet.  So digital literacy is not something that should be prioritized in rural areas only. 

Even the elite people also lack those basic skills.  So I think when having discussions and fostering digital literacy it should cut across on all levels that will enable more people to utilize basic ICT_s_.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Jackie.  Interesting that you said that even the elite or people in corporations really don't understand what these digital literacy skills are. 

Because when we talk about literacy, we need to understand that is your online persona really different from who you are.  When you see me on social media, when you see me online, am I different from being real right now because this is just an extension of myself, and I've just leveraged the tools to kind of create or penetrate more spaces.

I would like to go to my friend here who works in the private sector, an entrepreneur in the tech sector.  What digital literacy skills, what do they really mean to you and how have they been able to help you create prosperity as a young youth?

>> Thank you so much, Karsan.  I'm Dustin, CEO of Who Tech solution.  We are free as -- to see how best we can do three things.  Focus on digital literacy, on our digital ambassador program. 

And we focus on building application over application of software because it is up to us as Africans to build our own local content so that our local economy can benefit from it. 

And then we also provide community network for people to be connected because we don't want to leave no one behind in the digital revolution.

And looking at digital literacy, there is something I want to give you, during those days if you know how to read and write, you are classified, you are literate.  But in the digital revolution, if you know how to read, you know how to write, and you do not have the skills of technology, you are illiterate because this is where the world is going.  And we do have a deep digital divide.

We have the government developing the e-services platform. But the people there, they are not embracing that technology.  And the reason they are not embracing that particular technology, it is because they do not have the understanding of that technology. 

If the people know how to work with the digital services, the government or we, they will be able to work with that particular system.  What we decided to do is to come up with a digital ambassador program in Adara where the majority of the digital systems from government and private sector, we will be training people both in the urban and rural area in Liberia because we want people to get the understanding so they can embrace technology in Liberia and Africa at large. 

The issue of digital skillset is very important, and it is up to us as youth to become the shaper of history.

We don't need to depend on those big companies from, you know, like Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg and Google, Jeff Bezos.  We don't depend on them to solve our own problem.  It is time we come together as young people and sit around the table and see how best to find a solution for Africa and for the world.  Thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR: It is good that you emphasized on ownership.  It is important you own the resources as well as having local content that people can have the context on what they are getting themselves into. 

I would like to welcome Ihita who represents the technical community people who build the internet.  From your views in India, what are the digital skill sets to you?  If you can hear me.

>> IHITA GANGAVARAPU:  Thanks a lot, Karsan.  From my personal experience working as a community member and pursuing research in internet of things and smart cities, digital literacy is also about having a cognitive progress on how to effectively and meaningfully navigate the internet and use information communication technologies. 

When we talk about availability of the various tools and methodologies to achieve digital literacy, you are not just looking at education, mechanisms for proper education, but looking at infrastructure and the various social and economic backdrops.  A lot of my friends today spoke about the digital divide and how the accessibility, the divide.

It made it very prominent in the pandemic.  So from my own personal experience talking to individuals, talking to young people, I found that financial exclusion is something that we have faced severely which has impacted, you know, because of lack of digital skill sets or even the right amount of the right kind of technologies.  And I felt what impacted them more was falling victim to various scams online because of the lack of understanding of the internet cyberspace. 

The other thing we have discussed and have had cases around digitally -- people who are not digitally literate suffer from a loss of personal data because of lack of awareness.

In 2020, the Supreme Court of India declared that the access to internet is now a fundamental right.  And this is happy news for the country because we are now legally recognizing that the social media and the digital media are now an essential part of our freedom of speech and our expression and our digital rights space, right.

And through this we have seen how important the skill sets are and once this was rolled out it became even more important for organizations and various initiatives of the government to channelize their work towards inclusion and building the right skill sets in all part of the countries and connecting the unconnected. 

What I would like to talk to you about is a very interesting short case study which happened I think around in 2019 of era female student and also a resident in colleges in India faced some sort of a discrimination, you know, there was a discriminatory rule where they were banning the use of mobile phones after 6:00 p.m. in the hostel. 

There was a petition filed by her and she wanted to know why am I not allowed to access the internet and various other services related to IICT.  The point put forward is that she was being restricted the ability to access and use digital resources which help her learn and communicate.

And there is also this issue that, you know, if people are using the mobile phones after 6:00 p.m. your devices were getting confiscated, and they felt that was putting them at a serious disadvantage compared to the male counterparts.  Thankfully later on she won and then the State high court in a monumental decision said that the right to internet access is a fundamental right and also said the right to have access to internet becomes a part of the right to education as well as the right to privacy under the Indian constitution. 

I felt like this is something that I wanted to share with all of you today that internet is a fundamental right, and it is our responsibility to make sure that those who have the access to the internet have the right skill sets to navigate in a very effective and safe way over the internet and those who do not have access let's work towards getting them connected.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, very much, Ihita.  Internet is a fundamental right and that is true. We take ownership about it.  But equipping the population comes with the social culture and political dynamics at work here.  I would like to hear from the Iraqi perspective, my brother.

>> NOJA SAD: Thank you.  Greetings, everyone.  Hope you guys are having a great day. 

My name is Noja Sad.  I'm global health and digital inclusion activist.  A little bit on my background.

I'm the President and Chief Executive of Youth for Internet Foundation, the 2020 Ambassador of the Global UN Internet Internet Governance Forum, an ICANN Senior Fellow, and the Board of Child Health of the World Health Organization. 

So in the digital era, I want to say that I'm privileged to have access to the internet and digital technologies today.  I'm privileged to have a voice in the world's largest forum on internet governance today. 

I'm privileged to have a chance to challenge the so-called leaders that pretend to care about anything but the economic development or about building the long-standing digital and gender and geographic divide that has destroyed the only chances of a little girl to go to school or an abused woman to reach out for help. 

Growing up with little access to general education and technologies due to economic struggles or the remoteness of my community, or witnessing how gender-based violence is ruining girl's chances to have a better life, and how substantially leading to the digital gender divide has taught me the sympathy and the conscience that our leaders would never have to feel the struggles of young people and women who are undergoing the most extreme human rights violations without having those life-saving digital technologies transform their rights. 

As a young leader right here in the IGF, I do promise to sustainably leverage my voice to advocate for the thousands of marginalized young people, women and underserved communities that lack access to digital literacy. 

As a part of that, I found an international civil society organization in Los Angeles, California that will champion the digital health and also feminist inclusion of marginalized communities worldwide.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for that.  And it is great that you said it is really important that the marginalized communities have a voice. 

I would like to take you back to Kenya with my sister, Valerie.  You have a background in law.  I would like to hear from your perspective as a strong Black woman who had the same chances of being equipped with the internet, what do digital literacy skills mean to you?

>> VALERIE: Is it on?  Good afternoon from Poland and the cold in Poland is amazing.  My name is Valerie, I'm from Nairobi, Kenya.  I have a legal background and I'm a lawyer actually in Kenya. 

So for me, digital literacy -- and I will put it very bluntly -- is the difference we had between first world and third world countries.  We are moving at an age where we may all be Africans and we may sitting in different countries in Africa.  But now we're having a situation where in Kenya, the capital is Nairobi.  And we are young persons that are two worlds apart with digital literacy.  And that's what we now face.

We're going to have a situation where we have first world and third world citizens within our own countries.  And for me this is very frightening especially because digital literacy is that which gives you the opportunity to become who you are. 

Let me give you an example.  Like I said, I have three main things I follow in my life.  Education, experience, and exposure.  And now with the pandemic and we see the changes the pandemic has brought, education has moved online.  So what does that mean for someone who is in school right now hoping to get opportunities yet they are not connected? 

What does that mean for someone who may be connected but does not understand what skills are required in the digital space so as to contribute meaningfully. 

And contributing meaningfully, now we're seeing a situation where previously we'd had issues of unemployment in our countries.  But now you are able to go online, find an opportunity for yourself if you are able to have the skill set to contribute meaningfully on the digital platforms and actually get yourself employed or found your own organizations like what we heard from my brother who spoke about the Who Technologies. 

We we're having a situation where from the legal sector what we have in Kenya, we have a fund, the Universal Service Fund that was actually started by the Communications Authority with the government to ensure that people are connected. 

But this is not what we are seeing.  So we know we have the funds, we have a huge gap in terms of connectivity, in terms of young people coming onto the platform.  So like I said yesterday, you're going to have a situation where 10 years or five years from now when you compare a young person in a city where it is connected or a young person who is able to afford the connectivity vis-a-vis another young person who is not able to be meaningfully connected, you are going to have a serious gap between young people coming from the same area. 

And that should be a challenge for us at the IGF as young people.  I think it is very important and I like what you said about advocacy, it is important for us to add our voices strongly so like what Karsan does as well to ensure that no one is left behind in terms of this digital divide.  Because you're going to see frightening statistics five to 10 years from now.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for that. 

It's good that you said there is some sort of gentrification based on digital literacy that happens by region.  Like I come from the biggest city, but still I'm from the northern part of Tanzania.  Still you see we have the digital skills at the point where you have two different personas living at the same democratic and equal society.  How do we move on?  I would like to pivot to if you could add up on that.

>> Thank you very much.  Just before I start talking about all of that, one day I sat in graduation party back in my country and one of the gentlemen actually stood and these were his words:  He said the difference between the third world countries and first world is actually just small like this -- education.  I will share it. 

A difference between countries that are being torn in war and the countries that are actually moving ahead, it is just education.

So in his words he was like if you think education is minor, then you try ignorance, yeah.  You try a little bit of ignorance.  And then you will actually realize.

So in this pandemic, is we have seen how online education has actually either made people go ahead or remain behind.  In Uganda we have a world record school closure, and I was talking with my colleagues, and I was like how will we be able to catch up with the rest of the world? 

I mean two years of people not going to school.  Some kids have moved on.  I mean we've had teenage pregnancies has been an issue.  Advocacy all here and there.  How are we going to be able to catch up? 

These are challenges that look very minor in most cases maybe because there is not data on some of these issues.  You find they are not even issues that are burning like in national discussions and all that.

But we who actually see what is happening, is we who understand the problems it could cause us in the next days can actually tell.  Who can actually testify here. 

To digital literacy, for example, on my side where I have been doing most of my engagement online, yeah, of thought the pandemic I have been on so many fellowships and so many trainings and everything has been virtual.

For me it was more a good use to each layer like okay, there is no physical school, and we can do online.  So I see that I can literally attend sessions at home the whole day.  Actually right now if you give me two options to appear in school physically and to sit home and study, I would choose to sit home and study because I feel like it is more convenient. 

I feel like okay, of course there is this bit of having to interact with colleagues, but I mean if the platform is comprehensive enough you can be able to interact online.

So leaving that aside, digital, I like the fact that all of my colleagues have really talked about how digital literacy and skilling helped them move ahead.  But we do realize that it comes with a big challenge. 

Someone already talked about the fact that already people are being left behind.  Some of these challenges just include mindset.  I mean just mindset.  We have communities that are actually not accessing the internet not because they cannot afford but because they feel it is for some other category of people which is very wrong.  How do we change these mindsets, these communities.

Talking about issues of trust, some people have issues of trust like if I can ask here to what extent do you trust digital platforms?  To what extent do you trust these digital technologies like the devices you use?  Some people really have a challenge with that.

So that already is a barrier to some extent.  Leaving that aside, the people who are supposed to be teaching, for example, in schools, in institutions, we have had so many challenges during the pandemic when schools tried to adopt online education, you would find that educators need to first be trained like, okay, it is okay. 

But to some extent I also feel like we need to take personal responsibility if you feel like this is what is supposed to be done, when I feel like I'm going to have a call on Zoom, people look at you like some alien or something.  Nowadays, I'm so glad that everyone knows Zoom.  I would say I'm going to have a call on Zoom, and everyone is like okay.  Which is nice.

So how do we see that actually people can take that initiative, personally to start adopting some of these technologies.  Of course, civil society we tried to cover up the gap by training educators on some of these platforms.  Helping students with projects, for example. 

We have institutions in Uganda actually using online learning platforms developed by their own students, which is fun.  Instead of maybe going for a sophisticated one, students can get what can actually work for them.  A more localized one. 

So that brings me to the issue of localization.  If we really want digital education to go ahead, we need to think of localization.

Online content, online courses, mostly we know the languages.  Mostly they are considered the UN languages.  Yet the world has hundreds of languages.  So where would we leave the rest?  That is where the issue of localization comes in. 

If we can see that content is translated, at least you can have the key languages in your country.  For example, in Tanzania in Swahili.  You will have more people get interested in going to learn and you are going to have more people.

The last thing I'm going to talk about is safety.  While we encourage people to learn online, we should also let them know that actually it's not just a matter of I'm going to learn online, you need to understand a few things.

The online safety issue is so important, especially for our vulnerable groups.  Children.  During the pandemic we have had so many children have to use devices, gadgets, the internet to learn and all that. 

But how far do you know about how they access these devices and what they are doing on the devices?  So that comes to parents.

As parents, we need to take responsibility.  I know that so many parents that are busy, but you need to put time into knowing or restricting some of the platforms that the children could maybe access when you are not around so that we see that they are actually safe when they are learning.  And the learning is productive.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  It is a good thing that you said about localization. 

Because when people have local comparisons you can reach a level consensus that can integrate with the whole fabric of a particular kind of society.  We have a multi-stakeholder approach with the IGF, and the internet and I would welcome Lisa who has more understanding about ISOC and everything to add her input on the topic.  Lisa?

>> LISA NYAMADZAWO: Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak. 

We had speakers raising important issues with regards to digital skill sets.  My point today will be mostly with regards to policy.  So I'm a policy analyst and so I'm very much interested in how policy influences action on the ground.

So with regards to how digital skill sets or how young people or how the communities are going to be empowered digitally comes from a more macro level as well. 

We are talking about, you know, more localized action but there is also another dimension which is the more macro level how governments are supporting young people to acquire digital skills. 

When we look at most of governments or policies in different countries, governments are lagging behind.  Or if the digital policies exist they really are very -- they are not ambitious.  They are not giving us so much confidence that in the next couple of years our digital skills will be improved, or they focus mostly on aspects to do with cybersecurity and not really how those issues going to be financed.

So that is another issue that I want to raise today, the issue of financing.  Most of the challenges raised by the previous speakers all emanate to the lack of financing.  Like during the pandemic, a lot of young people in developing country, I come from Zimbabwe, and I know that many people were unable to connect to online classes because they do not have the access to financing from governments or from institutions to have access to digital devices and access to the internet. 

Governments need to make intentional efforts to support students and health institutions and support health institutions to be connected.  So within their budget, their financial budgets every year, governments need to include a substantial amount of dollars towards digital financing.  That is education for young people.

Just like my experience in the -- during the pandemic, I was privileged that I didn't have a lot of challenges in terms of continuing my education. 

But at that point I was learning in the U.S. and so when the pandemic started, it was a very smooth transition towards online learning.  And our universities, our institutions provided grants and financing to students to be able to purchase computers, to be able to purchase your wi-fi router for your home, to be able to, you know, purchase your data.  Or if you were going to go back to your country and you didn't have access to electricity there were students financed with money to buy solar to connect their devices. 

Those are the things that I'm talking about.  Financing to ensure young people can continuously access education.  Financing to ensure that young people are continuously connected despite the challenges that may come.  So that financing comes from policy.  

And so governments, I want to really emphasize this, if there are any people in government listening that you need to scale up your ambition in terms of financing toward equipping young people with digital skills.  And there needs to be more programs and technical knowledge imparted to young people. 

Digital skills must be part of the school curriculum and must be embedded in the school education.  A young person must not come across the digital skills in their work.  They must come across it when they are young grade one or even preschool.  That should be part of our day-to-day education. 

So I want to emphasize again as I leave to our next speakers that governments, scale up your ambition.  Increase financing towards digital skills and ensure that young people and children are cushioned from the impact of, for example, COVID and continuously access education even beyond through certain financing and institutions that you create.  So thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: That's very powerful, Lisa, thank you very much.  You insisted on government and their roles. 

Government and governance are two different things.  But they mostly are intertwined.  Governance structures can create accountable governments which can create the vision that we all need.  That's empowering. 

I would like to welcome my brother Afa to speak more on corruption mostly.  There is the finest structure, but it is complex when you try to solve the problems especially sometimes there is corruption that is intertwined that acts as a barrier to digital skill sets. 

Please take it up. 

>> Thank you so much.  Good morning, good afternoon from wherever you are connecting.

I am from Uganda.  The anticorruption coalition from Uganda.  I want to continue from where Lisa stopped, and I will mostly address myself towards the governance structures around providing equitable distribution of some of the resources.  I will give you two examples.

Last year, I think it was last year there was a president from one of the African countries that moved to one of the cities in the UK to attend a conference that was virtual.

And the excuse he gave was the connection in the country he was moving to was better than in the country from which he is coming.  That is defeatist.  Instead of setting up the structures in his own country to benefit everybody else, he was moving to another city so he could have an excellent connection.

In the beginning of the pandemic in June, the Ugandan embassy officials from one of offsites who had a Zoom meeting in which they discussed how they were going to share among themselves the balance of the money that was left in their coffers that should have gone back to the State because the financial year was ending.  Interestingly, the IT who recorded the Zoom meeting was not part of those sharing the money so that is how we got to know that people were planning to swindle funds on Zoom.

All this comes to literacy around the internet and how we take on things.  In the case of the Ugandan officials, they didn't think how it would leave a footprint on the internet that they were discussing corruption online on a platform they understood little about. 

That is a good thing because what the pandemic has then told us is everybody has been pushed to go online and conduct business online.  And with this migration online, corruption has followed.  At least now there is a footprint and makes the fight against corruption easier because you can follow the trail and the money and the conversation and how people are pushing money to themselves. 

Whether this has any action is a conversation for a different day but goes on to show us where our priorities lie.  It is easier, it is better for us to fly to another city to attend a virtual conference instead of setting up the infrastructure in our own countries.  It is easier not to publish information online because we think online is going to leave a trail.  I think it would be best with the digital literacies on everything to emphasize conversations around accountability and transparencies so that whatever we do at least if for anything should be for the benefit of those that are going to come after us.  Thank you.  I would like to take it to Yawi.  Share what you understand and your experience in the digital ages.

>> Thank you for inviting me to the session.  I'm excited to be here, and I would actually like to share some different -- two initiatives in which I participated this year and that I think that could be good to share with you what we have done.

The first one is we made a call of action with the ITU.  It is the generation connect initiative.  We are 15 young people that we are writing recommendations on different topics about telecommunications and also accessibility to digital technologies.

And according to digital literacy, we have, for example, recommendations such as stimulate Member States to create digital skills programs which would benefit girls and women which supporting the initiatives such as American Girls Can Code with special attention to those living in rural area and/or women with disabilities.

Also encourage stakeholders to strengthen collaboration for projects and initiatives to benefit vulnerable groups including policies and strategies of development that contribute to kick starting confidence in creating new technologies.

Also, we identify that there are a lot of barriers in order to access to these kind of technologies in the Americas region.  We tried to talk about different topics such as agriculture and health and how can we incorporate these kind of technologies in these scenarios. 

And well, we think that -- that yes, it is important to also try to educate or try to show these kind of opportunities to Indigenous people or Indigenous communities actually because they need to have the information in their local languages for having a better use of the ICT_s_ and like to be more empowered in their development. 

And I would also like to invite you to according to these initiatives we also have a webinar that is called Generation Connect America.  It is organizing collaboration with an organization of American states and Telecommunication Commissions in align with the ITU youth strategy.

And trying to -- and trying to encourage this kind of participation from youth and also to bring regional ICT experts to these kind of dialogue is going to be December 13 at 11:00.  You can also find the information on the ITU site on Generation Connect Americas.

And also with all of the points and on the other side I was also with youth for policy makers which is an initiative from the German society, and we have different policy papers in different topics, and we also have one about access and accessibility.

Yeah, you can also access to the whole paper on the YIGF.ge website.  And yes, I think these were the initiatives that I wanted to share.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much.  Share the links with everybody here who might be interested.  It is interesting that you shared solutions.  Solutions are important. 

The cyberspace is our space.  It is important when you know you have a space and you take it, it is your obligation to protect it. 

I would like to welcome to share on how cybersecurity is important in protecting the cyberspace and how it correlates.  Please.

>> Can I come here?  Hi, I didn't want to come up here, but someone is quite persistent. 

It has been an interesting discussion.  I want to applaud the speakers before me because we talked about issues around infrastructure and different space and that different communities would take up online learning and stuff based on barriers they are facing in the community. 

A lot of priority or it seems rather a lot of priority is placed on the youth and the kids that are now partaking in online learning.  Like was mentioned earlier in some cases some people were left behind and others moved forward, right?  So a lot of times the adults that are involved in this get ignored or not prioritized.

For instance, if you use, I don't want to mention names of countries, but some of the teachers don't have the digital knowledge.  The teacher in the school may not have access to the computer for lessons or may not have a projector to make presentation of slides and may not have internet connectivity to even communicate with the students via e-mail.

And so that is the angle that -- that is the level we are coming from the situation where the digital adoption itself is low.  When you now come to the angle or to the issue of cybersecurity what you need to use the resource with security it means when you put the people with little or no knowledge of the digital learning process, if you put them into that space, they are like easy targets for cyber threats or cyber criminals.  And they don't have the basic knowledge on how to use technology talk less of the knowledge on how to use technology securely.

So this problem, we have to first address digital literacy and then you come to the cybersecurity.  There is a not-for-profit body, and we work on raising awareness in Nigeria and beyond as well.  We organize free knowledge sharing events. 

The idea is that when people become aware of the risks involved in whatever they are doing, in this case online learning and processes, it enables them to be more conscious and makes them better digital citizens. 

At the end of the day, whatever you are doing in life, it starts from the awareness.  People will understand the role and value of it and more likely to keen to it.  As long as education is going to be online, and I believe it is going to be online as time goes on, we should all -- we need to factor in the aspect of cybersecurity into these kind of discussions.  Thank you.  I will now relinquish the seat back.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for that.  Interesting that we see so many different perspectives but still all interlinked to digital literacy and awareness.  Knowledge is best, the best regulator is also the best decision maker. 

Independent thinking people are the revelation of society and that depends on education and knowledge. 

To understand what matters in the fabric of the 21st century, we need a digital savvy population that can dissect and distribute the resource equally for the benefits of a thriving humanity.  We need autonomous society and thinking people.

Now let's go to rather more solutions.  Imagine maybe 100 years from now, and I would like to ask each and every one of us.  100 years from now, what do you think digital literacy is and how do you see it? 

We here at the IGF, maybe your grandkids 100 years from now, what is the vision that you haver for them?  Beginning with you, Valerie. Keep it short and sweet.

>> VALERIE: I see a girl in Nairobi and a girl in New York being able to exchange information at an equal level.  I see that interconnection but on equal level because we both know what we are talking about, and we both understand because we are linked and linked equally.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: A hundred years from now, how do you see the internet and digital literacy, Yawri?

>> YAWRI CARR: 100 years is a long time, but it would be good to see a bit more of ownership from the people like that they are empowered to understand their rights and their responsibilities online. 

And also that people that, of course, today is not so conscious about these kind of things they could become more.

And also that there is like ethical approach on the development of platforms, of online media and this is not just about trying to penalize someone that is doing something I mean like wrong. 

But at the same time trying to educate them, trying to provide these tools to make the internet and digital platforms way more understandable for everyone.  I think these would be good for the next years.

>> Well, I think mine is simple.  In 100 years, I see a more connected world, a more transformed community.  A more transformed global community I should say.  Yeah.

>> Yes.  The 100 years because my debate is about reimagining the future of Africa. 

So my issue about 100 years reimagining the future of Africa is free our citizen from the burden of access paper documents in every offices and places in Africa.

Reimagine the future of Africa in hundred years is about making citizens to sit in a part of Africa to register for passport, birth certificates and marriage certificates.  And reimagining the future of Africa in hundred years is by providing both local and international scholarship on big data, blockchain, server engineering, PowerBI and cybersecurity and artificial intelligence for technology students in Africa. 

In 100 years reimagining the future of Africa is by developing on ICT curriculum for universities and high school in Africa.  And looking at the future in 100 years is by rolling out computer labs and smart classroom in the various schools in Africa. 

Reimagining the future of Africa is in hundred years is by creating DOS IOC department in many universities and also encouraging females to get in the field of ICT.

And also passing a lot of cybersecurity policy, data protection acts.  And a child online protection law to protect the people in the cyberspace.

And I also look up to see a lot of telecenters in villages and towns which would turn the village into smart economic hubs and make our farmers better to markets and make them less vulnerable to the whims of weather. 

And also by using technology in a hundred years to fight rampant corruption in many nations in Africa and looking at new technology to get better health services.  And that is it.

I really want to see Africa connected in hundred years.  So thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR: Powerful.  Lily?

>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE:  The thing about the future as an extension of the offline world.  I envision a future where we identified structured values and historically in communities, in jails, in area of minorities and everything and essentially to be able to make -- extend what they do offline to the online world and do it in a safer more secure space. 

That is what I envision the future of literacy that people are able to extend what they do on the online space but do it more safely and that prejudice is stopped.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.

>> IHITA GANGAVARAPU: I agree with the point made about how being digitally literate can increase the laws around how they should act online so they don't harm themselves and don't harm others.  This would be one. 

The second thing I feel is in terms of content, create and consume quality content because and also create content relevant to the communities, societies to uplift communities so we bring the people in communities closer. 

And there shouldn't be any discrimination.  And that will come through being digitally literate.  The third point might not be to digital literacy but work towards creating local infrastructure to give incentives to startups and organizations to contribute to low cost infrastructure and connectivity.  And also making sure when you are creating inclusive technologies it is just not creation but also testing with the help of users from the marginalized communities and those who are not very well familiar with the digital space and the tool.

So I think these would be the three things I would see happening in the next hopefully in the next 50 years.  Hopefully it won't take 100 years for us to reach these goals.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  That's a great question. 

>> A great question.  Thank you.  100 years from now I'm certain urbanization or what's called rural to urban immigration and rural marginalization will grow even larger than it already is, and it is really unfortunate. 

There is already a large rate of urbanization because people are moving to urban areas to have access to digital technology and economic development opportunities. 

To elaborate more on that, I want to have a strong spotlight on the digital exclusion for all young people and women and other marginalized communities, like refugee and IDP camps.

There is a huge digital rights and access disparities between rural and urban young people.  The urban communities have more political and economic attention.  Rural adults and youth are one of the most of most disadvantaged across the world.  175 million young people in low income countries cannot read a full sentence. 

500 million live on less than $2 a day and 80% of young rural workers are engaged in informal employment such as family farms and hard labor.  Especially young rural women, they are disproportionately affected by this rural marginalization.  There are significantly greater rates of school dropouts, forced marriages, gender-based violence, honorable killing, and teenage pregnancies. 

The Malala Fund estimate that of the education for 20 million marginalized girls due to the lack of digital access adding up to the 129 million who are already deprived of education. 

And this is also combined with the escalating hidden and unreported cases of gender-based violence which is also the shadow violence in the pandemic that we are seeing right now during the pandemic.

I strongly believe that digitalization is the answer to bridging these substantial literary rights and inclusion disparities between urban and rural communities.

As an example, our foundation has been meeting for the past few months, we partnered with the International Republican Institute to extensively educate urban young people on digital media and literacy disinformation and elimination and then we empowered them to initiate small awareness campaigns in marginalized communities that have reached over 700 young people and women.

So we leveraged the fact that they have access to digital technologies and empowered them to lead digital initiatives in other communities. 

As a conclusion, we need to hear the unheard voices off all youth, and we should give them equal rights and opportunities to be at the forefront of change. 

They must have access to digital technologies that enable them to not only champion a healthier and more inclusive rural transformation, but an inclusive global transformation.  Thank you.

>> Thank you, Karsan.  So I will keep this short and sweet as you have seen. 

So in 100 years, I'm seeing more women being brought online and given the awareness being created on the lower levels of digital literacy among women and seeing women equipped with basic ICT skills and empowered to utilize the internet.  Thank you. 

>> Not to rain on our parade.  In 100 years, the digital divide will still exist.  And we will still have instances of the global north and the global south.

And the amenities up north will still be better than the amenities down south.  We will have a lot of urbanization and still communities living in the rural.

>> All right.  Thank you for the opportunity.  So to me, even before this hundred years I want to see the next three decades one of the issues very concerning is school, secondary schools today being given the opportunity to have access to smart devices in the school to be able to have access to the internet and have -- and do research online instead of students being banned from using the devices. 

Already we have issue of accessibility where students do not have access to ICT equipment, and they are being banned.  I have experienced this from the primary to secondary you don't have access to the devices.  You have the privilege of being given the opportunity to use these devices or even if you are going to court and you will be able to experience the technology. 

So I think the next two decades there should be policies that change this mode of education allowing all people to have access to quality education.  Thank you.

>> Good morning, everyone.  I think COVID-19 has proven that in Africa we are still behind in term of access to internet coverage of access to digital tools. 

I will take an example from my country.  In May 20 the government through the Ministry of National Education set up a TV program to allow students at least to complete academic year and pass exams.  But unfortunately, that great program did not work.  Why?  Because people in particularly in the rural side do not have access to electricity, do not have capacity to buy computers, tablets and then the financial capacity to buy megabytes to have access to online courses and because also internet is not well regulated in Chad. 

This seems to be generally in Africa.  So my intervention is consistent in Africa, how can we be sure in Africa everyone is connected to internet?  Why elsewhere we promote the useful of internet in artificial intelligence and how to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals, but at the same time in Africa we are so far on the promise of accessibility and at the same time cut from the internet.  Thank you.

>> Thank you very much.

>> Thank you, Karsan, for inviting me.  For me, in my country we have like to get one gig of internet data we need to pay like $1.  That is too expensive.  And I want to say that we need to put more effort to when we have infrastructure we can more access and everything can go well.  Thank you.

>> Thank you very much.  Would you like to contribute?

>> Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is Avira from Egypt.  And I think if we are talking about 100 years, I think COVID was a wakeup call. 

So I will be trying to be a bit ambitious.  I think if we do not really focus on Africa being a contributor to technology, not only a consumer to technology, if we are still speaking about digital literacy and even in Egypt talking about supporting youth in digital skills. 

I want them to be contributors to digital.  Otherwise we will not be thinking about that. 

We need to move not only -- maybe this is too ambitious, but I can't see it any other way.  We need to move from just basic literacy, this is, of course, needed to how to be contributors to technologies.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Would you like to contribute, sir?

>> Thank you.  It is important to know that internet is not only to move to social media.  Frequently it is better for them to promote local content and use it for their own activities.  That is very good.

>> Didn't realize we were going to go around.  So I think it is nice to us to get some opinions.

And so I agree what was said there will still be some divide.  I don't know how bad it will be or how good, but there will be some divide because we are still in the continent that is speaking of Africa where the partitions is over 70 years old. 

They do not think of the future because they would either be dead to see it in the first place.  Not current technology and current events of the world and contribute or to take the country forward in that regard. 

There is also still going to be financial gaps which is going to slow down our ability to adopt technology faster or as fast as we would like. 

I think 100 years, nevertheless, 100 years' time I just expect that since the current generation, the Gen Z they call them now, the generation is coming up with kind of what the next generation, since they are digital natives I think they will be able to have more in terms of trying to improve the digital adoption in Africa. 

As the lady from Egypt said, we have to be working in digital.  We have people in AI from our generation.  So our children and even their children which is probably the 100 years’ time should be at the forefront of a lot of this research and considerations in the tech space. 

And just to add this, I was speaking on the session -- I will be speaking on a session tomorrow at 9:30 on education and online cybersecurity in case you can attend.  It is WS 240.

>> I'm from Poland.  So I'm pretty privileged and I see it all the time.  I study management and artificial intelligence here.  And I work as a researcher like pretty much all of the things I do is thanks to the internet and the infrastructure we have here.  So and pretty much what I do I learned online, not at school.

So and I see the importance also of English.  In Poland, we don't have much great content in Polish.  And it is not -- preferably it is not like comparable to what we can see in languages of Africa. 

But we also don't have that much content in Polish and the quality is like not comparable to the content in English.

And also comprehend like how broad is the content in English.  I don't know what it will be in 100 years.  The five years horizon is like not simple to imagine for me.  Like five years is really hard.  I really believe that it is -- it really is possible that it will be really better. 

Because when you have the potential of this many people and you have these new technologies like, for example, Starlink which will bring costs down in terms of the internet in really rural areas like five to ten years, it will be probably not that expensive because you would not use like cables and so much resources.  It will be just one antenna for like $100 which some organizations can just fund.

And the cost will be cheaper than now.  But also I think that the value which internet and almost free access to knowledge provides is enough to afford the internet in like pretty like if you know English.  It is really easy to earn money to afford the internet access to just sustain itself.

So the investment needed to use internet is like up front as an investment which can be pretty quickly paid out.  But it is the like challenge is how we can help people to learn English in effective way and how can we address the issue of like the feeling inside of everyone.  In Poland, we have like something similar.  I can relate to what I see every day.

That we have the -- people are convinced or I see many young people also which, of course, use internet.  But that they are not so sure if they can use technology or create technology or they can like, you know, have the idea what to do in life in their hands. 

So I think it is in some ways similar.  But, of course, I cannot relate in so many ways.  But that's my input and my vision.

>> So I very much agree with Yan because I'm also from Poland and I know that the content in Polish is also very limited.  And you need to know English to learn very fun things, things that you could really use in the future and in your work and like everything.  You can do everything if you know English.  I agree that English gives you so many possibilities.

But also I think that the role of people that teach how to use internet is very important.  Because I know that many people have access to internet in Poland, many people know English, but they use internet in a very stupid way.  They watch TikTok four hours a day and don't do anything like productive. 

They do stuff that is very -- because like internet gives you so much possibilities and it is very hard to really focus on the things that matter, on the topics that really do make you a better human, make you know more things, more very like very like interesting stuff. 

So you really need to know how to use internet in the proper way.  And I think that that is very hard to do in -- even in countries where internet is very accessible.

And yeah, I think the role of the teachers, of the educators is very important here.  And but also you have to teach the people that is teaching the children.  So I think it is a very hard barrier to come across. 

But also I am not sure what would be in hundred years from now.  It is very hard to imagine.  Like for me, it's hard to imagine what I will do like on Christmas.  I think about today and tomorrow maybe.  But like looking hundred years ahead is really, really a hard task.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for sharing that.  For me, it's three Es.  Equity, equanimity, and equality.  That is about it. 

I don't need to speak English so I can use the internet.  I think it's the same for you, local content is enough.  I need to have an internet in Swahili.  The internet was built on values of openness and centralization and being end to end.  That's enough. 

For all of us to be represented equally and sharing and having equal spaces without the barriers of entry.  I envision an internet where there is no xenophobia or racism or misogyny. It is important to develop characters of the internet users. If you are selfish, you will create selfish resources in the end.

>> I would agree.

>> MODERATOR: So it is important to have that.  Because we are here -- it is very similar from the Polish perspective and west African perspective and East African perspective.  We offer some kind of very a similar playing field. 

And the reason I asked the question in 100 years is because we all chose to be here and that comes with a responsibility. 

It is not equal that we are privileged enough to be on this panel and share all that we know, and we go back, and nothing happens.  So take this responsibility and be accountable in creating the infrastructures and the institutions that you need to create the equal space on the internet.  I would like to welcome Lily, if you would like to wrap up.

>> LILY EDINAM BOTSYOE: So we just found out in everybody's submission that it actually begins with people and not policies. 

Understanding people's needs and essentially meeting them where it affects them the most.  And now it is literacy.  With inclusion there are three foots to it and then the base will be rights and security and safety.  Affordability.  Accessibility. 

You are looking also at the knowledge that people have to be able to use and manipulate in the online space.  To round up the session where we are discussing data skill sets and asking where it has gotten to, is this how far we can get. 

It means you've been telling to understand that there is more that can be done.  When it comes to even meeting people in the language that they understand.  There are means that they are taught, there are the tools that are given to use and essentially how to compete in such an environment means there is more that can be done.  We are not at the end yet. 

Even as much as technology evolves, it evolves with time and with complexities and space and many other things that come with it. 

So this is like a Clarion call, one that is not only left to stakeholders only here.  I know we are a great advocacy.  But it extends to government and extends even to engaging the people on the ground who are the real users of the technologies we are building and who essentially are looking to kind of because some part of the world somewhere somebody probably thinks that a computer is a square box and hasn't interfaced with data and appreciate how much it can be of value with them. 

We have the messages from the session.  Recommendations where we are saying directly to specific stakeholder groups and saying this is what we aspire that you do.  Government, building policies or looking to connect people.  You want it to be very comprehensive engagement with everybody involved. 

Users, end users who probably will tell you what they have in mind and that nobody is left out essentially and also to technical communities to civil societies.  It doesn't end here.  The skill set is a wide range of skills, and it doesn't just end at using Facebook. 

It ends when we are able to question the why, the what, the how and build upon it to make ends meet, to make a community value out of them and advocate anti prejudices and all of those. 

This is part of literacy and learning is a continuous one even for you and I.  Thank you for joining.  For everybody who is interested, we are rushing on to another stakeholder with African IGF where we can send our recommendations if you are interested.  Ballroom C, you can come with us.  Thank you so much.

>> One final comment from our Iraqi brother to wrap up.

>> I urge government to create digital licenses for young people to use social media.  We have licenses before driving a car.  For young people and children to social media, they should have a license.  So it is really important for us to care for the mental health and also the well-being of our young people and especially the younger children and generation by creating a license and age limit and more restrictions.

>> MODERATOR: Bravo to all of us.  See you at the next session.