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IGF 2017 - Day 2 - Room XXII - WS90 Achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in a Digital Future Where Do Youth Stand

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: It can range like child abuse can.

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>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Then I joined the advisory board.

Why this session, you might ask us? We can answer with the following. Our population reached (?) yet only 3.8 billion online, which means almost 50% are left behind, which is so much less. You might understand what makes 2030 a reality within the context of IGF and shaping the digital future. What we want to do is challenge young people to think about the future of their envision and how to sustain it as well. We mentioned that young people are actually the key actor to achieve the 2030 agenda, this pursuit. Well, we do believe that (?) political and social systems, and we believe that with that non-acceptance of the current model, the economics and political model, is the refusal to accept there is the problem.

According to ICT's facts and figures, 80% of the population online, 71% of young people online is even higher than the proportion of students using Internet, which is only 48%. Therefore, we believe that online use is a power, but it is a power that needs to be channelled to achieve our agenda. It's too many things to leverage here. We can leverage energy, knowledge, and progress and commitment to achieve our pursuit. So it's our pleasure to have you all with us today to discuss this. We are really excited about this session. Our workshop takes the form of interactive discussion to average the expertise and research experiences of the diverse organization we have here with us today and taking part in fact workshop. The discussion will be the interaction between ICT for the use of sustainable development. We'll try to highlight the ways in which ICT can be used for engagement. What the interview is, first of all, to promote dialogue among participants to further this format. We want to share access to effective use of ICT and use the initiative. We're here today to share with you the initiative and discuss them.

Also, we want to inform you with our work with the U.N. for children in relation to ICT (?) we are also aiming to compile a brief for a publication. We count on your active participation and support.

So let's start with a brief presentation from our panelists here, and we'll be starting with Mark (?). He's affiliated with the business constituency supporting American and Latin (?) in three different countries.

>> PANELIST: Thank you, Khouloud. Good evening, everyone. I'm Mark. What I'm here to do is to share how this experience is starting to become a career. Because, you see, the youth programs, the next generation programs, the opportunities into the systems that are given to young people around the world, yes, they're very important because they allow us to access the spaces, the international spaces, transnational spaces that transcend our budget, transcend our experiences. They're incredible, very good for us. But at the same time, there needs to be a flow. There has to be something in which we receive this knowledge, we work on it, and we find a path, somewhere we can invest in. More often than not, it doesn't materialize. It doesn't stop once you have this experience.

What I did after my first meeting -- for those who don't know, I manage names and numbers on the Internet. It's a very good program for the next generation. Khouloud is from there. That's where I met her. I went to my hometown and said I learned so many interesting things. How do I share them? That's where I think our role as entrepreneurs comes in, where there are idea starters. There are resources around. They're just not being leveraged. So I began talking to different institutions and getting a feeling for, okay, I need money for that. Where should that money come from. And I need a people to give a course. Who could those people be? And the answer was my friends from the program who were already there. With that, I began my course, very unpretentiously.

Now we have done around ten additions, three countries, moving toward five countries. There was nothing given there. It was something born out of what I wanted to do, and I felt like it could be done. So we need to keep in mind that while those opportunities are given to youth, there's also a need to not stay constrained within those opportunities.

We always have to look forward to how we are going to apply this in a meaningful way that will drive our careers forward, that will drive our positions forward, and those of all of our youth and all of the people who are vulnerable, and everyone we feel don't have a stake in this. So what I always suggest to any youth group that I manage to coach or teach or get in contact with is that the power of having an initiative is very important, that you come with an idea, and you attempt to carry it out, and you attempt to, Okay. I feel that people need education about this. I feel people need more Internet access. I feel if we're constrained because we don't know how to do it, then that's already a losing battle. That's not where we want to come from.

We have a lot of energy. We're very diverse. We have groups that keep growing. Now there is a youth (?) many observatories, many generations of groups. Those are resources. It's not just our friends. Those are resources also, the institutions that are willing to pay for you to travel somewhere. If they're not willing, knock on different doors. If we don't deep that mentality, a mentality of how to move things forward and create new spaces, consequently, we'll become an eternal cycle of youth, just going through the system again and again. That should not be the answer. That's my perception of that.

So now I'm leaving my course to another youth and thinking of the next step. In America, a lot of businesses are not included in the Internet governance or the Internet in general. By now, I have amassed some knowledge, and I started investing into that, how to bring those people in. What I heard, much like with my courses, Oh, that's impossible. There's no market for that. Nobody is interested. That's going to fail for sure.

It turns out it didn't. It's working out pretty well. That's what you get. A lot of people in the system will tell you that what you're trying is impossible just because they didn't do it or they couldn't do it or that wasn't a thing at the time. A lot of things are possible. It's just that we have to have the courage to just stand up and do it. Yeah, that inspires some, the idea that there's still (?) is not completely true. There are road bumps. There are political aspects to navigate; but at the end of the day, if you have a goal, you should be able to pursue it because there is space for it. You just have to keep in mind that it is a path and you need a plan.

So with that, I very briefly want to introduce the final thought and pass the floor back to Khouloud so we can get a discussion going afterwards.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you. We have Michael Oghia. He's a researcher and editor working within the Internet Governance System. He has professional experience in conflict resolution, media, civil society and academia in United States, Libya, and Serbia.

Michael, the floor is yours.

>> MICHAEL JOSEPH OGHIA: That makes me sound more important than I really am. I promise.

So for the past year or so I've been really trying to focus on sustainability, as it relates to the Internet because, for instance, just to give you an idea, global ICT use is currently around -- it was estimated 10% of total electricity use. The fact is ICT's sustainability is not built into the core of the design of ICT, and this has led to many problems and many issues going forward, whether it be from E-waste to how we're generating data, the power of the Internet, and so on. This is something I'm interested in and will continue to do so, but at the same time, you know, the more I focus on sustainability, the more it makes me think of a certain thing, and that is 2030, which is the deadline for things to be met, that is not an arbitrary date. At last year's IGF, I was lucky enough to be in a group with a bunch of young people. One of my co-collaborators is sitting in the back. In the guide we designed -- one of the ideas we had talked about was about the importance of involving youth. Why? Because since 2030 is not arbitrary. It's not arbitrary because we don't need the -- we're going to be the ones suffering from it. We, the youth. Meeting it is our problem. We are the ones that are going to suffer. It is the biggest problem.

So over the past year, one of the ways that I've been really trying to focus my sustainability work but also my capacity-building work is, you know, a couple of capacity-building projects in southeast Europe. One of them is a youth-led initiative that was with the corporation and development network of eastern Europe. That is a platform that's connected to the greens of Europe. We actually organized from the bottom up, thanks to council of Europe funding. We actually funded and created our own digital rights seminar where we focused on cyber security and digital rights capacity building. One of the ideas is we wanted to better engage youth and help give activists and young people the tools to protect themselves online.

Another organization I was very happy to be involved with this year was the African School of Internet Governance. That was also youth led and youth organized. That was another thing we did throughout Africa to help build capacity specifically for Internet governance. The fact is we really need to encourage youth-led organizing and youth-led programming. In the end, nobody else is really responsible for empowering us. We have to do it ourselves. The clock is ticking. Climate change is getting worse. Multiple other aspects are not necessarily being met quick enough.

On top of that, even the goals themselves don't even -- it's kind of ironic. There's no direct relationship between Target 9, which is about connecting the next billion people. There's no direct correlation between that and SDG 12, which is about consumption, and SDG 7, which is about energy. The fact is, yes, these are very much youth-related issues. It is on our shoulders to help make sure the SDGs get realized. Really, I cannot stress enough, the only way the SDGs are going to be completely implemented is if youth are involved in that process.

Thank you.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you very much, Michael. Now we turn to Sharada Srinivasan. Her area of research includes youth access and youth-generated aspects.

>> SHARADA SRINIVASAN: Is it on? Thanks very much, Khouloud. So just to clarify, I'm from Zimbabwe, but I stay in South Africa.

Okay. One of the things that ICT Africa is focused on is understanding exactly what is on the ground. We look at building ICT policy. It's better to have a youth (?) which I lead, which tries to understand the youth from marginalized perspectives. It's been great listening to my colleagues, but for me, one thing that stands out when it comes to youth is it's not a homogeneous group. We've been speaking about them as if it's one happy population. Our research has focused -- we conducted ICT access and surveys from an individual perspective in several countries, and we also conducted qualitative focus groups in Kenya and Nigeria and Tanzania. What are the challenges young people face, and how are they making (?) greater issues?

What we actually found was that focusing specifically on the Internet, it can only be an effect determined by the context. What we looked at was age groups between 15 and 19 and 20 to 24. We found that for a large number of people we interviewed, poverty was a big issue. Sometimes there would be school dropouts. This meant that they wouldn't be able to access certain facilities. This also means it was not a resource that could be easily accessed, the Internet. Well, in the countries we've looked at, young people have limited Internet use when you look at the age groups 15 between 35, despite the low-access levels in these countries.

What we found is young people use the Internet to address certain issues, such as creating economic opportunities. My favorite was young people who created a group where they would post video, and you had to subscribe. This was the case in Tanzania. For young women who were in (?), they were using the Internet to find inspirational figures and to motivate their families to let them use the Internet. I think when we think about the SDGs and the impacts it will have on young people, there are issues beyond ICT.

So, for example, gender issues where if young women are not trusted to actually make use of the Internet -- in this case, what I mean is that if your main point of Internet access is (?) and you have to walk a distance, there's not that level of trust of exactly where are you going.

Then you have both for young men and women, their parents don't actually trust them to be online. That's more of a case of understanding what the Internet is more and how it can be used for the great divide.

Before we can effectively talk about the Internet having an impact on youth and SDGs, we actually still have a lot of issues we need to deal with in the background. So that's my intervention.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you, very much. This session is a brief presentation about the Internet and (?) we want you to see how young people did it because you can do it too. And now, we'll moving forward for our panel discussion, which will also be with our great panelists. It will be moderated with our panel chair. Maybe Katherine (phonetic) didn't make it. That's not a problem. We'll start our main discussion with our panelists.

Would you like to start?

>> PANELIST: Hello. I bring a new perspective because I'm also working on a project to connect unconnected communities around the world, and we do have a focus on youth as well. I actually wanted to start by asking how much of the (?) that exists within youth is really reflected in policies that target youth? I think that so far all of the panelists have talked about different issues that you face. Michael talked about the work that needs to be done in terms of sustainable climate change. We've heard about the work that needs to be done in terms of entrepreneurship and how they're driving connectivity up from the ground. I wanted to see that given such a wide perspective in terms of what youth look like, how exactly can policy be targeting youth in a way that leads to (?) in a sustainable matter. I'm happy to open the floor to the panelists to share your feedback.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you. We have (?) with us. He's the executive director of Mobile Forms (phonetic) Africa. He has something to say and wants to encourage people as well. The floor is yours.

>> PANELIST: Thank you. Looks like I almost missed out. I've given this in a previous session (?). I run a company called Mobile Forums. We work in Nigeria (?) and for businesses in government. The way that we talked about this was we've been spending a lot of money in trying to get our targets in Africa for a long time. For many of us, the African market still looks like a black box. It's almost impossible to get reliable information to track the success or failures of the project. So what we decided to do was we knew the problem. The problem was the infrastructure didn't exist. So we thought about what if we could create infrastructure. Not what everybody is used to, but what infrastructure could be our next work? Connect mobile devices (?) in the local community to write consistent feedback in their spare time (?) and improve -- oh, I didn't know that was showing. You can move to the next slide. Good. So next slide, please. So that's why we came up with processing. Let's all connect. Let's let everyone contribute.

So today, we start out the model in Nigeria. We're expanding to Ghana. We have youth across communities that have indicated interest in collaborating on this project. In return, we give them small rewards, and they're happy to do this for two things. They understand there's a bigger goal, and the data they're collecting is going to be used (?) and the next thing is they get extra rewards to supplement their income. You start getting reliable data wherever you are. The results of this is reliable data, data can be verified at any point in time, two or three years (?).

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>> PANELIST: That can be used to monitor and track the SDG call. We discuss with policy makers the best way to do this and also to continue this project. Thanks for having me.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you very much. So now that we have kind of mapped out examples and best practices, now we're trying to address another point, according to our speakers, let's say what Avenues do you have to actually engage in ICT-related discussions and mostly in the decision-making. How do we do it? A lot of people and young people here want to engage in the decision-making whether it's national, regional, or global decision-making level. How do you think that people should feel for it? Sharada works with 1 World Connected also.

>> SHARADA SRINIVASAN: So I probably want to share my experience with the way we engage in stakeholders outside of academic circles. 1 was connected to the research project out of the University of Pennsylvania. Case studies of initiatives all around the world, we've reached out to around 750 to 800 of them from 153 countries, and build 120-case studies to find out what (?) exists and what they're doing within their communities. When we go to dissemination of results, because a lot of the work is being done by research fellows who are often youth, we take the opportunity we have to engage at multiple community power.

We feed our results into a work process so it can be disseminated to the decision-makers. We collaborate with the Internet inclusion initiative where there's a data working group that we feed our work into and also collaborate with partners to understand needs. We also team up and partner with multiple other organizations to be able to get our data out to multiple high-decision-making powers. So we engage with multi-national governments where possible, often at forums like this. We have the conversation here and take it to a higher level and keep consistent with following updates to our data and results, making sure they're able to have the information they need in order to be able to make the decisions that might be useful in terms of investment into infrastructure or investment into programs that can yield better connectivity which then also ties into better progress on sustainable goals.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you very much, Sharada.

>> PANELIST: If you will allow me, I want to start converging a bit your previous question so we can get a discussion started. It's youth as a stakeholder group and also participation in the decision-making processes. I'm often careful about certain assumptions about what the youth look like. For instance, when I started my course, the core assumption was that it would be mostly men. That was completely wrong and proven time and time again that it's completely and totally wrong. We have a majority of women always. It's consistent. It is across countries. That shows in itself that many assumptions can be wrong. There's this vast majority of people from different backgrounds that want to engage with this team. Are we reaching them in interesting and meaningful ways? That is the question that needs to be addressed.

Sometimes, it seems to me the answer is no, and fitting into Khouloud's question: Why? Political processes, other institutions, they seem to start the process of people who are there are are there because they have a goal. Youth often don't have a goal, correct? We're searching for a goal. We're searching for something to invest our time and energy in. This is the thing about assumptions. It always leads to a bit of (?) or conclusions.

The way to do this is to simply do it. There is a barrier there. For example, if you start contributing to mailing lists. I've heard of many, many people -- it's very likely you make a comment that's very important, very interesting, and nobody would care; but if some more experienced member of the group says the same thing right after, people will go, Oh, this is such a great contribution. How come nobody thought of this. Right? It's this sort of problem that happens.

We hear about it time and time again, but there is a curve. There's a point in which you manage to get over that. Is it easy? No. It's hard. It's tiresome. It takes energy, but it's just kind of something we have to overcome. People have different limitations. We have to think about the inclusion of so many people along this travels, this experience of being able to go around in different conferences.

We've met people with all kinds of disabilities, and they tried their best to push and make improvements. The only disability of youth, I like to say, is lack of money. Right? So we have to find ways to leverage that.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Quite practical, Mike, I would say. Thank you for these feedbacks. Recognition is something really hard to achieve, but I think we have young people to motivate us and tell you, you can get that recognition. You will work hard, yes. You will get tired, yes, but never give up. Recognition comes with time. You will get it. It's not easy, but you can get it just like we have all of these amazing people trying to do things as much as they can.

Now we have another question, actually, which is: How and in what ways can we try to balance between digital creativity in a way and kind of create different kinds of opportunities, like trying to make a difference from this traditional working style and employment? It's a question of employment, again, for youth at the table.

Sharada?

>> SHARADA SRINIVASAN: Thanks very much. Related to the questions raised, there's (?) connections to youth and connectivity. How are they targeting and how is it working? Regarding to questions you've asked regarding creating new economic opportunities, what we have found in our research is that in specific contexts where you've got people who are naturally entrepreneurial, they're actually taking up the resources they have. I think the last speaker is one clear indicative of the work he's doing in Nigeria.

Clearly, when you actually speak to young people on the ground, you actually find out in certain contexts, they are doing something. The biggest challenges around actually having the funding that needs to be done. If you think about our systems when it comes to getting the funding for particular projects, it's once again the thing about experience. It's once again about having the ability to write a business proposal. Do people have faith in young people to present a project and actually say, We're going believe in you and embrace it.

One of the policy recommendations is looking at the ways in which we can support young people in their entrepreneurial activities and try to remove some of the barriers that limit them from accessing these limited resources. When you think about it, if you look at the educational curriculum, not everybody has access to learn to write a business proposal. You have to take a class. The question is: Who do you connect with? And how do you get there? It's one of the issues of the context. As a young person, it's a matter of saying: What resources do I have?

What we found for the young group was they would either ask their parents for some form of loans or they would work. If you owned a piece of land, you would work for some money and find your capital. I think that's also the thing, like what other resources are available for young people to take forward this digital creativity?

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you, Sharada. Now we're moving to discussions with the audience, whether in person or remotely. Do you have questions here? Questions from the audience? No. No. Okay. We should move on to our next question, actually.

How do you think that ICT can be used in a way to enhance participation of young people toward achieving SDGs?

(Off mic)

>> PANELIST: We're already doing something in that area. We need to create communities. We need to get them to get engaged. Crowd sourcing, I've been looking into crowd sourcing a lot. The fact that we could get a lot of youth to do things and share their experiences encourages a lot of innovation. Creating the environment is also very key. Obviously we're talking about (?). It's always important. We tend to shy away from funds. We couldn't have gone this far if we didn't get grants or have investors who were willing to say, Go try out this idea. These are people who didn't know us. The fact that they believed in what we were trying to do and were willing to give us a chance.

If a lot of youth out there, especially in Africa, there are a lot of amazing ideas, people that have things to do. If we believe in them and give them the funds they need, it will go a long way. So two things, crowd sourcing opportunities, getting the youth to engage together. Putting them in communities to do amazing things together. And the other is to provide them access to funds.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you. We have a question from the audience, remotely, of course. The question was: How can youth in developing countries leverage the rapid rate of digitalization, and how can they leapfrog the digital economy? How balanced is that? Now do we leapfrog from that?

>> PANELIST: Something that's been in consideration in Brazil recently, but I am sure in different countries as well, is how there's a certain futility to staffing every school with computers if you're not providing responsible, logical, ethical, and technical capacities to children from the start? Often the computers getting used for -- of course you can use them for social media.

We're not talking about just putting them to run educational software or something, but there needs to be a more concerted effort from the beginning to get children using computers in a way that's more productive. It doesn't have to be all productive, but there needs to be an effort. Some schools do initiatives such as from coding and such, which are great but don't fit every background as well. You can't force coding on every child, so trying to find ways to be more constructive from the start and teaching that the computer is a tool that can be used for pretty much anything is very important.

When I am starting an initiative with kids (?) and I'm trying to map out what kind of needs they have, what kinds of problems and initiatives they have. The most interesting one I've come upon so far is that they don't really get that this is a thing. This is part of their life. This is part of their existence. This is not a device that was invented and then connected to a network that spans an entire globe that was developed over the course of decades. This is part of their existence. How do you teach responsible use of the Internet? How do you teach the importance of technology, the risks? How do you teach the fine details of technology to somebody who understands this as a part of their body?

So it's completely different. We're not thinking the same thing anymore. It's not the same thing as how we had to learn it. It's not the same thing of how you teach older people. The thing is we can settle for some methodology. We need to keep pushing forward, innovating, and looking at the needs that arise because the technology is dynamic. Why do we get into our heads that the way of engaging and teaching it isn't as well?

That's what I have to offer on this subject.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Can you introduce yourself?

>> PARTICIPANT: Thank you very much. (?) I have a question for you. I attended this morning the special session data gathering and data collection, and I found what you are doing in the country really interesting. I would like to just understand how you help the community, the women especially, supplement their income through data collection, if I understood well? Thank you very much.

>> PANELIST: Thank you. In terms of leapfrogging, one example of the leapfrogging we've done is for a long time dish didn't grow up with (?) in my house. In Africa, many of us moved onto -- can you hear me? So many of us jumped and moved straight to mobile devices. It's the same thing we have to do here. We have to stop think about the old technologies and move straight to the new ones and engage there.

So the way we supplement income for people, for example, in Nigeria, (?) price every year. They can't do it frequently because it costs them a lot of money, and it costs them a lot of time. The model we run today means they can do it at a fraction of the cost, and they can do it regularly.

Imagine if a mother who already goes to the market knows that the government is willing to pay $10 to get us some data for them every weekend when she goes to the market. That's extra income for her. It's costing actually nothing because she's already going there in the first place, and she probably enjoys being there. Never go to the market with my mother. That's how we help supplement their income. They're happy about it because it's something they already love doing, and getting paid to do it is absolutely amazing for them. It may not be much. Maybe it's just air time to reward them for contributing.

So in different situations, it's different work systems.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you.

Now, we have a funny question from a participant. If you were to get (?) back for a young person to join the civil society or make his own initiative, how would you do it? What would you put? If you were to give a starter pack for people, like what do you start with? What do you give them as advice?

>> PANELIST: Advice? I'm sorry, I don't --

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: How a starter one should start, like a guide.

>> PANELIST: Oh, geez, that's a lot.

(Laughter)

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Basically the basic tools.

>> PANELIST: We would need a different session for that. I would say if you need a great idea, you need to start. You need to start as little as you can. If you don't have the skills to view the technology, start with one subgroup or something. Just start. Do it manually until you can boot the system to get it going, and then gradual. What we started is radically different from what we're doing today. We've had to change the model over and over again. We wanted to solve the problem of (?) in Nigeria. What we started was totally wrong, but we changed it over time. Yeah, that's it for now.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Do we have another starter pack? Recipe, whatever you want to call it, starter guide? Do you have another one from a different perspective? Please do.

We're open for any question. Whenever you have a question, just raise your hand and ask.

>> SHARADA SRINIVASAN: So I'm going to think about myself. So one of the initiatives I've seen that try to get people involved within the ICT space or to teach them a new skill has been creating an environment that's cool for young people to get into. So you've got your food, which is important. I don't think young people would come to IGF because there's no food.

(Laughter)

>> SHARADA SRINIVASAN: That they can afford. But it encourages young people. For myself and Yolanda, we started an initiative called (?) and all it took was literally just a passion about something and realizing that there isn't someone who's doing this, so how do we take the initiative forward. It's about creating an environment that allows young people to take their dream further.

Also, the other thing about creating a starter pack, if young people supported it, I think that's another thing when you've got an idea, people will actually take you (?) and people who have done this before, you may not need financial support, but you may need support. So it's about encouraging young people to thrive.

>> PARTICIPANT: My name is Rohan (?). I'm a student. I'm only 15 years old.

>> PANELIST: Well done.

>> PARTICIPANT: I guess we can agree that is sustainable goals are something that occupy all of our concerns. It's the highest concern we have in these current days. I believe for youth there's a rise for the need to develop the awareness of these goals. So as a young person, I believe that the decisions we make in ratifying these goals are something that will affect our futures and also for my friends and family, et cetera. What comes to my mind is what role can be taken by the youth to aure these sustainable development goals and as youth, how can we shape our future through these goals.

In my opinion, I believe these can be split up into four parts. One is that the youth do not underestimate themselves. And the second one is that the youth will have a positive vibe so that they will know they have an effect, et cetera. And the third one, I believe the most important one, is that they have the ability to take forward their ideas and projects, et cetera. And the fourth one is to have confidence for them to speak up, et cetera. The problem with that, I find, is that it's very hard to get across all of these goals. I just want to hear your perspective of how we can get these through.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you very much.

>> PANELIST: I would add to that that you are very ambitious and very, very wise, spot on. I would add lead by example. This is something that I think is a very big differential when you want to start generating change. You often bump into people who do not do that. They have certain values that they teach or preach about, but they do not practice those values. So if you truly believe in something, you might as well embody that.

You might as well show people why it's meaningful more than tell them because something -- very silly example. By just doing recycling on my street, people started noticing what I was doing. They started asking, Why do you do that? Oh, it's good for the environment. And suddenly when one person picked up, the other picked up. Then, you know, I didn't do anything. I was just doing my part. So leading by example, I find it's often the best course when you're trying to achieve something like that.

>> PARTICIPANT: Hello, everyone. My name is Yolanda (?) from South African (?) I would like to thank you guys for hosting this panel. It's so needed. It's also so disappointing that the room is not as full as I hoped it would be. We have a large youth group. Like the 15-year-old from the floor said, sometimes we don't take ourselves seriously. One of my biggest concerns, and as a person who's part of a team and trying to shape policy domestically and globally, if you don't show up, what does that mean for our digital futures?

I guess this really goes to my bigger point. I have to doubt that young people are at the forefront of this revolution. We're literally transforming our lives. However, how do we effectively participate in changing policy. As much as we're creators, do we really have a say in the way which policy goes if you don't show up. The biggest question is how do you effectively engage? Sorry to go on and on because we have this new youth organization in South Africa, we've been trying to engage with multiple stakeholders, and we've been receiving a lot of pushback and hostility because we're a youth group.

Policy makers, when you say youth, they Chuck you out. How is a way to engage in policy forums and to be taken seriously, not only at the IGF but domestically. That's where the policy really happens. Does anyone have a case study to share about maybe how they were able to participate in a policy forum in their local context? Thank you.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you.

>> PANELIST: So I'm going to draw upon my personal experience before I started working on this project. I was working for my master thesis on a contemporary issue quite well known in the Internet governance area. At the time I wrote my thesis was when the (?) regulation was ongoing in order to decide if there should be (?) pricing. The way you as individuals can participate is by actively looking for a written discussion forum.

Most national regulators have discussions they put out just for feedback before they finalize it. It was timely that my research was able to feed in to some of the work that was ongoing in the policy space on the rating at the time. This is early 2016. This is one way you can individually contribute because they do take individual contributions. It was useful to engage with policy makers at that forum.

At my school at the time, we had a student-organized conference on the issues of net neutrality and zero rating at that time that focused on the particular issues that were being discussed in the legislation that helped bring leader into our community and also helped us be heard a lot more. I think just in terms of engaging, it's not about being in the youth-only sessions but also going out there into sessions where there are policy discussions that are happening, the high-level sessions and open sessions where you can put together and put out your voice out there directly to the decision-makers and ask to be heard.

At times I understand it's easy for people to discard you as youth, but as long as you have a very strong point -- like in my point, I find it useful when you back it up with data and back it up with evidence and go in a manner that they believe it's useful for them to use and pitch it in a way that's useful to them. Those are skills we need to hone.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you, Sharada.

I have also something to add regarding that question. I think now we have (?) but now it's like companies are intervening. Now companies that actually control tech are the one that control bind the decision making. Let me just give you one instant, for example. Not really related to youth, but you will see my point.

Most of us remember the Apple versus FBI case. When we see it was really something important because it was about national security. Apple was able to mobilize people and to actually believe for them it was about privacy whereas it was just about the brand's image as well. I think that also we can take the example of Facebook. Facebook and companies like that are really influencing the decision making. What we want to tell you today is create your own initiatives. Try to master ICT. Try to master social media. Make it something useful. Make your own network. Network with people on site and remotely, but try to do something. Even a small project can help.

There are a lot of small projects that started, but once you have recognition from people, you have power. That's something you need to be aware of. It all comes to recognition. Companies like Facebook, et cetera, what do they really have? How do they achieve that? By the recognition of people. Once they have people opinion, people trust them enough so they can pressure the government. What you need as well do is have your own initiatives. Or make your tech company. Why not? We have our friend here which is from the business sector, and he can tell you that he's the executive director of mobile phones in Africa. Try to master as much as you can. Make your own company. If not, try to make an organization, whatever. Just try to do something.

That's what we're telling you because things are shifting. Governments are no longer the decision makers. They're really under the pressure of tech companies. That's something we all see and we can witness, really. What we want you to do is have your own initiatives mostly and try to make it happen.

>> PARTICIPANT: Although I'm not a youth, I was once.

(Laughter)

>> PARTICIPANT: Basically the young man there has challenged us. A theme for this year's IGF is shape your digital future. Whose digital future? My digital future? Your digital future? Whose? I don't trust somebody who is 67 years old and says, Shape your digital future? Whose future are you shaping? So the young man is very fortunate. 20 years from now, he'll be 55. He shaped his own digital future.

So what I'm trying to say is youth should be involved in so many innovative activities that will impact positively and some form of (?) social change. I grew up before the Internet, before a mobile phone. Whatever I did was book to book. Now I'm looking at a generation. My daughter who is just about eight years -- no. Ten years now. She does French in school. When she brings homework for French, I don't speak French, but I will use Google. So if the youth are not able to shape their digital future and probably make life better for them, no one will. With everything at hand, I think instead of saying 50 years, we should say 50 seconds. Don't wait 50 years to achieve something you can achieve within 50 seconds.

>> PANELIST: May I engage in some self-criticism. Youth panels often have this quality that youth are awesome. Yes, we are, but, however there's some big howevers. Youth are not very efficient. This has come time and time again. I've led next-generation groups. I have tried to lead business initiatives. Meanwhile, you have, on one hand, a lot of energy. That's very good, a lot of willpower and energy, but a lot of times, that burns and burns without focus. So one thing that needs to be always in the minds of somebody who is trying to engage is focus.

Just to give a small example, back two editions ago, the youth were excited. It was youth from one end to the other. Everybody wanted to give their opinion, but the thing was everybody was trying to say pretty much the same set of things, and it got so diluted, and it got so lost in translation that nobody cared in the end that was supposed to be impacted. What I try to do when I'm leading one of those groups is say, Okay. Get this one person who is the best speaker, and you channel all of the ideas and just send him with a package of ideas.

Then you pick another person with another package of ideas. So it's channeling. It's being efficient. It's hitting hard instead of hitting very small, very diluted, you know, that's something that needs to be worked on. So I hope we're trying to do something in that direction. I hope that whenever all of us graduates into that level, we'll be able to go, like, Okay. Here are the mistakes we made. Here's how we can do it better and be more impactful. This is something to keep in mind, I very much believe.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: We have another question remotely. Do you think that the current curriculums are really enough to create the next generation of entrepreneurs? The educational curriculums.

>> SHARADA SRINIVASAN: So our research (?) was connected, we try to profile projects that are doing the (?) training programs among other things. What we realized is that there's a lot of traditional themes that seem to be focused entirely on teaching tools and not necessarily focused on outcomes. I feel at the time you do tie it to outcome-based training, for instance, entrepreneurship training, or training for farmers like one of our projects in Nigeria does, or not just how to code but how to build things on the Web, if you're doing a coding camp kind of training, is incredibly helpful.

So currently, I feel like there's a diversity in the (?) literacy training programs that exist. Definitely at the national level, they're not very cognizant because they're focused on how do you use Word or Excel, which is only one step in that direction and to retain first-generation learners in key literacy programs, it seems relevant to have to take into account that they will be using it for something.

So a project in Tunisia I'm aware of teaches school opportunities in Tunisia how to --  not just how to use the weapon, but how to build their own blog and put terms on that blog. That's an outcome you're creating as opposed to just a process of this is how you do HDML, which isn't really helpful and doesn't really engage for a very long sustained period of time. So I would said you need more training, what do you tie these tools to rather than just training. There needs to be more, I would say.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you, Sharada.

I would like to direct the question also to the people we have here. Do you think that the current curriculums, the educational curriculums are enough? What do you think is missing in your curriculum, for example? These kind of things we want to transmit as part of the group? What do you think is missing? What do you think you need to learn but you're not getting it?

>> PANELIST: I'm so sorry to jump in. I had this point at the Africa IGF. We were talking about the digital transformation. It was amazing, but one thing was missing, just basic education. What are kids learning? How are we paying the young child to participate in the digital economy? I think, you know, throughout the IGF space -- and I congratulate those who are educators and are part of these conversations, there's a large group missing part of these conversations. Clearly something is missing.

For example, my little sister is seven. What she's learning is what I learned. Clearly there's a gap there. I had to raise that because we were having this conversation in the Africa IGF. Thank you.

>> PARTICIPANT: Edmund Chung here. We've been doing work for the last ten years. Recently this year, we just started to review some of the curriculum in Hong Kong. So a colleague here might add to that. It's largely unfortunate it's very outdated. By the time it becomes a textbook, it's totally outdated. Especially when we talk about Internet literacy really, it's unbelievably outdated.

One of the things that we have started to do this year, which might be interesting is engaging young people in the development of those curriculum because the reality is that whatever expert you find to draw up a curriculum, they never lived through Facebook while they were in primary school. Sorry. That's not going to happen. The only guys that have are the young people. In order to tell them, you know, what is appropriate to do on Facebook, hey, you never had Facebook while you were in primary school. Sorry. You're not really the expert.

What we've learned quickly is to have to engage these people and have them as part of the process in actually developing those curriculum. I think that's one of the things we learned very quickly. Other educational bureaus should really think about this, especially when we talk about Internet literacy.

That's not only the case that is for this generation. I think it will grow and develop. The Internet will change every year, and we'll always need to go back to the young people who are online more time than older people like myself and get the expertise from the real expertise.

>> PARTICIPANT: Hello, everyone. My name is Sebrina. I wanted to say something at each question you asked, but each time I wanted to say something, in my head I had like, Okay. You want to find a general ID for all kids. For each question, I'm trying to find a general idea, and then I just realized that we can't have a general idea because for each country and each area, there's a different way to make youth engaged to learn new things and so on. And I would like, for example, at the questions with when you asked for educational way to engage youth and to learn them, et cetera, I was like, Okay. But if we act directly to the educational (?) maybe we can learn them and they will learn the kids. Because how we can make kids engaged if, for example, parents --

(Audio fading in and out)

>> UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: For example, take myself. My parents, it was: First of all you go to school, and then you do what you want to do next. So the fact to introduce Internet (?) was a good idea, and if school is not really -- if Internet is not really important in the program of the school, so we are toward another problem. Okay. If it's not important, how (?) is this?

Then I realized, Okay. It's just me in France. In other countries, schools are very efficient for Internet learning. I understand myself, but I don't know if everybody is understanding me. Yes, maybe we could just talk about context in the country and ideas of solution in each country and maybe find a way to -- for example, here in France, we have this way to do things. We have this good idea. This is not really working, but us in this country have that. How can we work together to (?) finally found a way to work together to find a general solution, but by specific solutions first. Do you understand me?

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you very much. Actually, what we were trying to do, we had different young people from each region, each one telling us about an initiative he did. What went wrong? What went right? All of these people are people who are young, yet they tried to do their own initiatives. Each one is coming from a different region and to see what works and what is not. We were trying, at least.

>> PANELIST: Just to share, so in my country, we've got a program called text start-up kids (phonetic). The program is more doing camps when schools are closed where we allow kids to come up with solutions for their own schools to say, What would you love to see in terms of maybe changing your curriculum under the ICT sector? Given trainings, whatever. We invite IBM. We invite different private sectors to come and see the potential within the young people, exactly what they want to do so that they can help us in terms of the equipment we need. Most of the time you find that -- you would hear people say, Young people are not active. Young people are active. It's that we don't have much resource to go out there and build exactly what we want to do. So I believe that given an opportunity to these young people would grow different in in terms of the ICT sector.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you very much. It's quite a great idea to have camps for kids for them to see what is really not working in their schools and to actually improve it. I think each one of us can start an initiative in his or her own country as well.

>> PARTICIPANT: Hi, everyone. My name is Sam from Asia. We basically started a program in Hong Kong. What we have found in the past ten years, there are many dedicated young people in Hong Kong or around Asia, but the thing is curriculum in the secondary school still may not be so updated because they are still learning about the PowerPoint and Excel or something like that.

What we want to try to do is (?) like the gentleman said (?) I want to urge everyone here to join us. If you have any ideas to make the curriculum more complete, particularly for second-level student because they need updated material so they can have a stance about what is Internet governance or digital economy, something like that, so they can enter the university, so they can join a different kind of initiative.

Also, I would like to share that every year, there are 24,000 youth from college entering the university. Not many young people get into the initiative like our ambassador program. So I would like to see if young people can have a taste of Internet governance in their secondary school time. They can more have a better stance to participate in this area. Thank you.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Thank you very much. That's why we would like to urge most of our people here to actually create their own courses, Internet governance courses. Can we have five minutes, and then we'll wrap up.

>> UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I want to share something also, with those young people we do camps with, some of them, they are clever. It's just you find them saying Can you change the content in our own language so we can understand it better? When we start translating some of the articles, you start to see when you engage young people in their own language where they're comfortable and it's easy for them to express themselves in terms of what they want.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: Unfortunately, we have two minutes left. So I think we need to wrap it up early. Does anyone have last-minute things to say?

>> PANELIST: So from our side, we're looking for more collaborations, more engagements, and, more importantly, I will be able to discuss more (?) to solve more problems across Africa. I am passionate about it. I think it's going to be a model that we need to adopt across industries. We're all aware of the start-ups, like Ubers (?) we would be able to help people more efficiently and start to collaborate more. I think it's going to be awesome when we get to collaborate across countries.

>> PANELIST: Definitely, people who took something from here and want to spread it out through their communities as well.

>> PANELIST: I will be very brief. I think that my biggest takeaway from this session and the discussion that ensued is that there's a lot to be done in terms of youth inclusion, both in terms of policy-making spaces but also in terms of how you get included in coming online in the very first place and how we can make that a process that's easier for us to get to to have a more robust and digitally shaped future. I think that's something we need to put our thoughts together on.

>> PANELIST: It is time we start putting those initiatives together in a book or compilation and we stop talking about them in forums and start making the material and collude in organizing that collection with the vast material she has amassed. We need to have this as a resource and not just as an ad hoc thing.

>> PANELIST: For me, I think my last words are we need to understand what the youth are, where their needs are, and how we can best work together to address them. Those are my last words.

>> KHOULOUD DAWAHI: So unfortunately our session comes to an end. We would like very much to thank you for coming here. We know it's late. We know it's the last session of the day, and you're probably tired, but thank you for making time to be with us. What we want you to take from our sessions today is examples of initiatives, how to go further. We have different initiatives from different regions. We want you to think about them. Think about what went right and wrong. We want you to think about your initiatives and the people who are actually here today. Collaborate, try to outreach people. Don't be shy. That's something very important because when we're youth, we get to be a little bit intimidated by experts, by the word expert, but we want to tell you that you can also be an expert. You just have to work hard. Don't be shy. Make your own initiative because that's how you do it in a digital future. Thank you very much.

(Applause)

(Session concluded at 6:15 p.m.)

 

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