My reflection on Kenya School of Internet Governance and working in Post Covid19 era

By Peter Mmbando, KeSIG and KeIGF Fellow 2020, from Tanzania.

As the year 2020 draws to close and we prepare to welcome the year 2021, I share my reflections on the KeSIG and KeIGF 2020 as the first virtual events hosted in Kenya that engaged Multistakeholders from East African Countries.

The events were virtual, with presentations from ICT professionals, and digital policy experts who provided rich content that changed my way of thinking for future events and work in cyberspace. I learned that due to the pandemic, the world had totally changed from analog to digital. The pandemic prompted everyone to work remotely or from home. Some organizations changed to hybrid offices where non-essential workers begin working from home or remotely in finance, ICT, agriculture, media to name a few.

Much of the contents at KeSIG reminded us to focus and not panic, to be creative, perseverance, to upgrade skills, and to accumulate constructive knowledge for the betterment of the world. The concepts covered internet design principles, introduction into internet governance, international roles of internet governance, private sector roles in internet governance, and emerging issues.
I have learned that most youths are taking digital life for granted, not paying enough time to details, to explore, read, practice digital skills, as well as upgrade their skills in cybersecurity, instead, they spend much time on social media chatting or watching unproductive information.

In addition, the KeSIG 2020 and KeIGF 2020 had touched on issues of disinformation and misinformation that had affected communities by creating fear and panic during the pandemic. Youths, especially women must be equipped with digital skills ( techno know-how) in order to understand how to respond to cyber-bullying, cyber-attacks, and cyberspace at large as well as to learn how to write positive narratives about Africa with reliable sources of information.

Furthermore, KeIGF speakers elaborated on how youth can practically learn negotiation skills not only at the national level, continental level but also at the global level in policy formulation and discussions. Negotiation skills are vital for African youths to address critical issues facing the African continent, for instance, the issues of internet connectivity, data privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity policies. Other issues are internet shutdown and throttling and mass surveillance.

Lastly, youth must understand that while most jobs and opportunities are remote and virtual, it is time to wake up and learn, upgrade skills, and fast to adapt changes in life. As we are living in a digitalized world, we depend much on the digital economy to survive or live. We should well manage time and other resources to build constructive digital workspace and engage in community activities to bring positive change at different levels.

Lack of digital skills should not be an excuse for not working remotely or trying to create opportunities in a pandemic or non-pandemic period, we have seen that the future of work is remote to hybrid, as nearly 70% of organizations believe the productivity gains of remote working are sustainable beyond the pandemic. It is time for African youths to work hard and come up with solutions to problems that are facing in the digital space.

My First Virtual School Experience at KeSIG

By Rebeccah Wambui.

The insistent message to “do something meaningful with your time” during the unprecedented, at least in our generation, the covid-19 pandemic period had taken its toll on me. So in a typical millennial style, I did nothing meaningful in protest for a while. Until I came across application invitations for the fifth cohort of Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG)/ by KICTANet

I applied instantly. This was the opportunity to further my skills on internet governance and officially join the learnt a new skill during Covid19 club.

The application and acceptance process was brief and concise. School officially kicked off with the learning management system induction training, followed by intensive, three-day sessions. This included the mandatory self-paced reading of course material provided through the KICTANet e-learning platform, and zoom interactions with industry experts from CSK, Safaricom, ICANN, and KHRC. Course work evaluation was a timed one hour attempt, with a 60% pass mark.

The graduation and certificate award ceremonies have previously been held at the end of Kenya Internet Governance forums, but this year’s got a mention at the Virtual Kenya IGF webinar with trainees receiving e- certificates.

A key lesson I learned was – Multistakeholdersim is the approach to Internet Governance and generally means that a multitude of stakeholders, as opposed to governments only, can participate in and have an impact on Internet Governance processes, discussions, and Internet policy development.

I now have the skills and knowledge to engage in wider internet governance discussions as well as the responsibility to create awareness and invite other stakeholders in, as the field is perceived as an exclusive reserve for the technical community.

Rebeccah Wambui is in the gig economy of Capacity Development and Social Impact. She also hosts The Audacity Podcast ke.
@beckywambui 

Kenya IGF week 2019

The Kenya IGF week shall be held from 29th July to 1st August 2019 at the Panafric Hotel, in Nairobi.

The IGF week has a series of activities including the Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG), policy briefs dissemination workshops, and culminates in the flagship Kenya Internet Governance Forum.

Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG)

KeSIG has grown to be among KICTANet’s flagship programmes, and its success has not been only in bringing in new voices but also encouraging those whose work has been disrupted by the internet to understand and contribute to internet policy making processes. In its 4th edition, KeSIG deliberately targets law enforcement officers, civil society organisation officers, traditional and new media practitioners, the tech community and academics. Its aim remains to build capacity for local and global internet governance by leveraging on existing policy advocates from areas such as media, human rights, devolved government and law enforcement and adding new voices Areas to be covered in the training include: introduction and main issues in internet governance; internet governance processes and how to get involved; and Kenya’s internet governance frameworks. The faculty is sourced from local and African actors such as the regulators, the executive, civil society leaders , digital rights activists, lawyers and technical community.

KeSIG’s mission is to increase capacity of key actors and potential actors in the local internet governance space. These include traditional human rights defenders and civil society organisations, students, academia, tech community and government departments. These actors are also commissioned to participate in international internet policy making for a thereby contributing African perspectives in global debates.

Kenya IGF

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder forum where public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance issues, such as the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. The United Nations Secretary-General formally announced the establishment of the IGF in July 2006 and the first meeting was convened in October 2006.

The purpose of the IGF is to maximize the opportunity for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas on Internet Governance (IG) related issues; create opportunities to share best practices and experiences; identify emerging issues and bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public; and contribute to capacity building for Internet governance. 

The event brings together stakeholders representing government, the private sector, civil society, the technical and academic community, and the public in an informal setting for policy dialogue on Internet governance issues on an equal basis through an open and inclusive process. This type of cooperative engagement is usually referred to as the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance, which is one of the key features for the Internet’s success. This model is paramount to ensure that the Internet remains sustainable for economic and social development.

The forums are localised and their outcomes feed into each other from country to the global level. The outcomes of the country level (Kenya IGF) feed into the regional level (East Africa IGF), continental level (Africa IGF) and ultimately at the global level (IGF). Previously, Kenya hosted the East Africa IGF in 2009 and thereafter, the global IGF in 2011 in Nairobi. 

This year, the 14th Annual Global IGF Meeting convened by the United Nations, will be hosted by the Government of Germany and is scheduled to take place from 25 – 29 November 2019 in Berlin.

Side events: Policy briefs dissemination workshops

Several side events will be held during the IGF week. One of them will be the policy brief on Regulation OTTs – the challenges and recommendations.

More to follow …

Call for Volunteers for the 2019 Kenya IGF MAG

KICTANet wishes to invite volunteers from the different stakeholder groups to assist in the preparation of the Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) 2019, which will be held on Thursday, 1 August 2019. 

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) is an annual meeting that brings together various stakeholder groups to dialogue on ICT and Internet policy. The Steering Team otherwise known as the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) role is to assist in convening the Kenya IGF by preparing the programme and schedule and to improve the IGF process through community consultations, outreach and stakeholder engagement. MAG members volunteer and serve in their personal capacity, and are expected to have established linkages with their respective stakeholder groups. Please review the MAG TOR.

To express interest, please send an email to info@kictanet.or.ke with the subject line “Kenya IGF 2019 MAG” indicating your stakeholder group, expertise and why you are interested in joining the steering committee of KIGF 2019 by Tuesday, June 25 2019. 

Membership to the steering team is voluntary and all materials produced by KICTANet are published under creative commons licenses. Organisations from various stakeholder groups are encouraged to nominate representatives.

Call for volunteers for 2019 KeSIG steering committee

KICTANet wishes to invite volunteers to the steering committee of the 2019 Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG). Now in its fourth edition, KeSIG takes place prior to the Kenya IGF, with the aim of introducing beginners in internet governance to basic concepts in internet policy making. This is with the goal of creating and increasing the available expertise for participation in local and global internet governance processes. 

KeSIG is slotted for 29th to 31st July 2019. 

Please write to info@kictanet.or.ke, with the subject 2019 KeSIG steering committee if interested in collaboratively organising the school, explaining your interest. Membership to the team is on volunteer basis and we aim to have representation of diverse groups.


Find more information on KeSIG here. 
KeSIG Steering Team TORs 

Kenya School of Internet Governance

Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG) is on its fifth year in 2020. The very successful inaugural school was held in 2016 in Nairobi with 50 participants going through an intense three day training.

The school targets Kenyans from all sectors- government, academia, tech community and civil society who are new to Internet Governance issues.

KeSIG is an introductory course covering technical, economic, legal and contemporary social issues brought about by the Internet and how they affect Kenyan decision making. It aims to build critical mass of individuals advocating for Internet rights and freedoms through equipping the participants with the skills needed to participate meaningfully in local, regional and global policy discourse.