New voices at Kenya School of Internet Governance 2021

KeSIG class in session

The Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG)  is the premier training platform to grow new voices in the internet governance space in Kenya and also serves the larger African continent. KeSIG, convened annually from 2016, is held just before the Kenya Internet Government Forum. The 6th edition was held from 10th – 23rd September 2021.

KeSIG training acts as an internet governance training Bootcamp and includes aspects of digital inclusion in internet governance to enable the cohort to engage in ICT and digital ecosystem systemic enhancement including the policymaking process. KeSIG has an elaborate curriculum delivered via an online learning platform, instructor-led discussions, and live insights from industry experts. The main topics are

  1. The evolution of the Internet,
  2. Internet Design Principles,
  3. Introduction to Internet Governance,
  4. National and transnational organisations’ role in governing the internet,
  5. Role of private sector – passive observer or active contributor?
  6. Selected key global Internet governance Issues,
  7. Community networks and citizen engagement models.

The final three days of the learning program include sessions where industry speakers engage with students from a practitioner’s perspective as well as instructor-led discussion forums.

Prior to the development of the KeSIG learning program before the year  2015, there were many requests by new voices on the Internet Governance space to get induction or training on ICT policy making and advocacy. Since Schools of Internet Governance (SIGs) have become an acceptable model for induction, KICTANet responded to this need and introduced KeSIG in the East African Region. KeSIG was the first country-led SIG initiative in Africa.

The selection process of both faculty and students since inception ensures that participation is inclusive. The criteria for selection include affirmative action to include persons from marginalized groups such as the Counties, PWDs, state and non-state actors, diverse professionals drawn from various multi-stakeholder groups, gender equality, geographical representation, those from low income,  rural areas, AND LGBTQI+.

Applications are received through a Google form that is shared on KICTANet’s mailing list, website, and social media platforms. The community is encouraged to widely share the application form, downstream to get as diverse applicants as possible.

KeSIG has over the years developed leading voices in the internet governance space both regionally and internationally. It is expected that this year’s fellows will become ambassadors and champions for digital inclusion including internet governance after the training as has been demonstrated by previous cohorts.

This year’s process began with identifying trainers, industry speakers and updating the curriculum and e-learning platform. A rigorous candidate screening was undertaken and an induction session led to the KESIG 2021 kick-off. Students were taken through an induction on how to use the e-learning platform and the expectations of the course on the 10th of Sept. 2021.

KeSIG 2021 was conducted using a combination of the KICTANet developed e-learning platform and online interaction through zoom video call. Several industrial leaders, policy practitioners, and implementers had a chance to interact with the students. KeSIG 2021 received a total of 342 applications across 21 counties in Kenya and 8 from 5 countries in Africa after which 115 individuals were shortlisted for the training. Students who successfully completed the program were 74. This year’s school had 8 industry speakers deliver content touching on various topics to demystify the Internet governance process.

  1. Overview of the course, John Walubengo.
  2. Nicole Gregory – British High Commission, Head of People and Partnerships
  3. History of the internet, and Internet Infrastructure development. Paul Muchene – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  4. Content moderation, Sarah Muyonga and Desmond Mushi – Facebook
  5. Private Sector’s Role in Internet Governance, Rosemary Kimwatu
  6. National/Transnational Organizations role in Internet Governance, Ali Hussein
  7.  Role of the regulator in internet governance  – Robin Busolo, Communications Authority of Kenya.

After an engaging two weeks of study, the students will be issued certificates. In addition, the students also shared their experience at the graduation ceremony held at the Internet Governance Forum and also through blogs published by the students.

Program Evaluation

After evaluation of the training,  57% of students responded that they were very satisfied with the overall experience, and 34% were satisfied. 47% asked for more experts and industrial speakers to talk to address them, while 46% felt the training should be longer.

The report of the KeSIG 2021 is available here. The program is available here.

Blog by Mwendwa Kivuva with contributions from Rosemary Kimwatu, and Judy Okite.

Exclusivity, Universal access, and meaningful connectivity. Is Kenya achieving it?

Access and inclusivty panel moderated by Bob Ochieng

Kenya just concluded the Kenya Internet Governance Forum, KeIGF2021 took a dive into what it takes to achieve a united internet locally as globally and what could possibly hinder this. Themed; United Internet, the hybrid forum was hosted for the 14th time since 2008.

The whole day forum, hosted by KiCTANet covered three main topics; inclusion, universal access as well as meaningful connectivity.

Opening remarks were made by Director-General, Communications Authority of Kenya, Mercy Wanjau “to create a united internet we need to narrow the digital divide”, which the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a non-inclusive digital ecosystem here in Kenya. In order to achieve a united internet; all people should have access to reliable, stable, and most importantly affordable internet access.

She said, “The internet has been a critical tool for social change, During the #COVID19 the internet has provided a solution to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. It has tremendously improved life in all aspects.”

She added that it is no doubt that the internet has evolved to become a critical tool for social change, as it has and continues to shape human life.Covid-19 pandemic has made this evident, as the internet provides solutions to the challenges brought forth by the pandemic.

Mercy Wanjau holds these sentiments and believes that a call to action for regulators to ensure universal internet for all people is of paramount importance.

Executive Chief Officer of the Kenya Network Information Centre (KeNIC) and administer of .ke domain names system in Kenya, Joel Karubiu, explained that as KeNIC manages and administers .ke their role is to ensure that secure, reliable, and accessible internet is provided to the .ke internet ecosystem. Adding that internet access is no longer seen as a luxury but as a basic human right, and that unstable internet connections caused by unreliable electricity infrastructure poses a threat to its access.

The day was a beehive of activities ranging from online safety to data protection and legislation.

IGF is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder forum where public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance, such as the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability, and development are discussed.

The United Nations Secretary-General formally announced the establishment of the IGF in July 2006 and the first meeting was convened in October 2006. Since then it has been held annually to discuss internet-related issues.

Republished from CIO Africa, the event animators.