IGF 2023 WS #164 Meaningful Access: Lessons from the Global South


Digital Divides & Inclusion
Affordable Access
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Organizer 1: Lorenzo Vargas, World Association for Christian Communication (WACC)

Speaker 1: Lorenzo Vargas, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Kemly Camacho, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: James Gondwe, Civil Society, African Group


Lorenzo Vargas, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Nils Brock, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Lorenzo Vargas, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

How are grassroots-level communities able to bring learnings from their work on local connectivity to national or regional-level policy spaces and platforms?
What are the lessons about community-driven participation, particularly when working with local policy actors, for broader connectivity efforts?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The participants will learn about the many ways in which community-based organizations in underserved areas employ participatory methods to establish community internet networks in an effort to meet their community communication and information needs.


This panel will showcase the learnings and best practices of four (4) community internet and communication networks in the Global South (Costa Rica, India, Kenya, and Malawi) that have developed effective methods for their communities to share their voices and values via meaningful connectivity and access efforts. These four (4) initiatives are having a positive impact at the local level in terms of access to information, greater community participation, and enhanced community cohesion.

The panel will include perspectives about community networks and meaningful access from the perspective of Indigenous people, urban inclusion, gender justice, and policy-making. This form of connectivity is seen as “meaningful” because it not only meets communication and information needs, but also works towards meeting the community’s socio-economic needs.

This panel falls under the larger IGF theme of “The Internet We Want - Empowering All People.” This is because the organizations working in these projects employ participatory and “learn by doing” approaches to meet the needs of local underserved communities. In this sense, this panel will be an opportunity to promote dialogue between grassroots connectivity and policy-makers and donors unfamiliar with these types of approaches.

The community support organizations from Kenya, India, Costa Rica and Malawi have been working together with support from the Local Network initiative (a collective effort between APC and Rhizomatica) and WACC.

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcome will be a publication about lessons from the South, which will integrate the learnings stemming from the conversation at the IGF. This will lead to greater shared knowledge about local-level meaningful access as a result of dialogue about four (4) case studies on community-led complementary access solutions.

Hybrid Format: The organizers are experienced in the participation of hybrid events. The facilitators have training and experience to ensure that online chat and attendees and speakers have space and are acknowledged throughout the session.

There will be opportunities to pose questions to the audience to both online and onsite participants around what is their level of community engagement when working with underserved areas. We can pose the questions in the online chat as well as pose it to the people present at the Japan IGF.