My #KeSIG2021 Experience – A Cheat Sheet for Future Students

Cherie Oyier

By Cherie Oyier.

Earlier this year 2021, I read a book by Austin Kleon titled, “Show Your Work.” It is a tiny book that I think everyone should read. Anyway, this book’s main objective is to encourage more people to show the behind-the-scenes or backend processes that go into achieving final results. Austin claims that showing the backend processes not only gives the creator an opportunity to see and appreciate their progress, it also inspires others of the possibility of success and opens the floor for feedback and ideas on how to improve the process for future creators. It is on this basis that I am inspired to write about my experience as a Kenya School of Internet Governance (#KeSIG2021) cohort. 

I trace my experience back to when the call for applications was made. The call for applications is made annually via the KeSIG website and then it makes its way into various social media platforms through re-sharing. I, for instance, saw the call in one of the WhatsApp groups I am a member of. This, therefore, goes to show that it is important to join communities or groups of like-minded people where you are likely to see such updates. However, if you are yet to meet such people, worry not, you can always check the KeSIG website or better yet follow them on their different social media pages to stay updated. The application form comes as a Google form that is easy to navigate and fill. The questions on the form require that you demonstrate why you want to take up the course, what plans or contributions you intend to make in the Internet Governance space post the course among other details. I strongly recommend that applicants provide well-thought, honest and contextual answers. The application and admission process is very competitive thus you want your application to stands out and to give recruiters as much context as to why you deserve a slot, therefore generic answers will not favor you. 

Successful applicants will receive an onboarding email that also includes the course program. It is imperative that you regularly check your email for this. As this cohort was held online due to the pandemic, the introductory class was done before the e-learning portal was open for access by students. In this introductory class, the faculty got to introduce themselves, train us on how to navigate the e-learning platform, and finally give us access to the platform. The e-learning platform is easy to navigate therefore you are guaranteed to have a great user experience, or at least I did.

Once admitted, we were able to start our self-paced learning for a week. During this period, we got access to six lessons including external links to further resources and material, graded forum discussions, and assignments after each lesson. For me, one of the best parts of this cohort was the creation of a WhatsApp group at the onset. Membership of the group included students and the faculty and this created a space to seek support and an opportunity for horizontal exchange of experiences, views, and observations freely. When the course got more technical as we made progress, this group came in handy with participants discussing their challenges and offering valuable guidance. Interaction within the group was a good icebreaker to creating new networks especially since the essence of the cohort is to create new communities to lend their voices in the Internet Governance space. The fact that the cohort accommodates participants from different disciplines, means that members offer diverse perspectives during discussions that build on the quality of discussions.  The group also acts as a constant accountability partner. Many are the times members checked in to find out if all members had submitted assignments and most nights there was someone counting down to the submission deadline. 

The KeSIG and KICTANet faculty provided valuable support through the group as well. I like to think of the faculty members as open and transparent like the internet – all pun intended! Faculty members were more like peers and very approachable. They answered our sometimes very amateur questions without reservation, challenged and pushed our intellectual limits, and most importantly they were very open to learning from us. 

After each lesson, students are to complete a graded forum discussion and assignments. These forums seek opinions on the topic covered. My recommendation to future students, therefore, is to read the resources provided for each lesson and go the extra mile of finding more resources on the Internet in order to engage better. Since the time for submission of the assignments is limited, ensure to actively set aside time each day to complete your reading and assignments on time. Further, please actively participate in the forum discussions as these discussions add value to the overall Internet Governance space.

In the second week, students are required to attend live online sessions for three days. During this time, the faculty invites industry players to share their thoughts and experiences on different issues. The sessions are open to participants to engage with the industry leaders through questions, feedback, and opinions. Active participation is key as it enables you to grasp concepts better and seek clarity on current issues happening in a particular industry. 

The final quiz is made accessible to students on the third day of the final week. This quiz is a consolidation of questions that cut across all six lessons. The quiz is timed so you might sweat a little but it is totally doable if you study and attend live sessions. The results of the quiz are generated in real-time and are accessible on the platform, students are also able to track their grades, and progress through the platform as they progress. 

The last day of KeSIG always coincides with the Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KeIGF) day. Students get to attend the forum and interact with more industry players for the entire day. Upon completion of the course, students are issued with shareable certificates and they can go on to engage and contribute in discussions that shape Internet Governance.

The Internet is an integral part of our day-to-day lives, it is an enabler of our fundamental rights and freedoms and thus we each have a responsibility to engage in conversations that shape and develop it at any level. Our voices mold the Internet into what we want it to be and this is why KeSIG is intent on introducing more diverse voices in Internet Governance discourses through this course. Therefore, any aspiring student should consider this as a free cheat sheet on how to join and successfully complete the KeSIG course because your voice is needed and it matters. 

I hope this highlight of the behind-the-scenes workings gives you an insight into what to expect and inspires you to join the course. I wish you the very best of luck!

Cherie Oyier is a 2021 Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG) fellow and is also an advocate of the High Court of Kenya practicing at Oyier and Company Advocates. She regularly publishes articles on issues falling at the intersection of law and technology via her LinkedIn account and is passionate about contributing to Internet Governance policy discourse.

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.

Kenya IGF 2021 Summary Report

Closing ceremony given by Mercy Ndegwa of Facebook

Blog by June Okal.

Hybrid Forum held on 23 September 2021

The Internet Governance Forum (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.

Modelled on the IGF structure and principles, the Kenya IGF is a unique platform for all stakeholders to openly share perspectives and concerns on the key issues that may affect the future of Internet users in the country and across the globe in general.

The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTAnet) in partnership with industry stakeholders, convened and organized the Kenya IGF 2021. KICTAnet worked with partners and sponsors to make the event a success. The willingness of Facebook, the Ford Foundation, the Communications Authority (CA), Safaricom PLC, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Kenya Network Information Centre, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, Internet Governance Forum Support Association (IGFSA), Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK), CIO East Africa, the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa to partner and support the event is an indication of their commitment to the development and growth of the internet in Kenya.

For the second time, due to the ongoing COVID – 19 pandemic, the Kenya IGF was convened as a hybrid event with both physical and online participation. The forum also included a sign interpreter to ensure inclusive engagement by participants who are abled differently. The 2021 Kenya IGF was attended by +300 participants under the theme Internet United. The event was free to attend and was streamed online.

From the Opening Remarks made by Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer – Safaricom PLC, Alberto Cerda, Ford Foundation and Josephine Gauld, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, all the speakers were excited for the 2021 KIGF discussion, and high pointed the need for multistakeholder collaboration in dealing with the challenges affecting the internet at a national, regional and global scale. Through the Keynote Address delivered by Acting Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya – the ICT industry regulator -, Ms. Mercy Wanjau identified the top three priorities that will need to be addressed in the coming year, being, the need to narrow the digital divide, enhancing of user trust in terms of freedom on the internet and provision for safeguards on disclosure of information which would need to be a collaborative effort between stakeholders.

At the first session, ‘High-Level Panel – Emerging regulation of content, data and consumer rights’ the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner cited the need for compliance and awareness. In recognition of new and emerging technologies, key industry players called for timely engagement to develop new frameworks that would enhance trust and balance interests between stakeholders, including end-users and business partners. In summary, at the heart of new age regulation is the need to facilitate innovation and multi-stakeholderism.

The subsequent session on Inclusion, Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity emphasized the need to not only deliver connection and connectivity but meaningful connectivity where there is an impact for the end-user. The session speakers highlighted some programmes that have been implemented across the country towards this effort, challenges faced in content moderation and restriction of Freedom of Expression and Information as well as an illustration of the ongoing work on community networks.

Trust, security, and stability – the third thematic topic of discussion. There was a rallying call for enhanced public awareness in recognition of the shift of the national cybersecurity strategy in Kenya from its enactment seven (7) years ago to date owing to the evolution of technology, increased cybercrime threats as well as the pandemic–led digital transformation.

The imposition of personal values rather than national values, lack of knowledge of the national electoral technology-based system to be used, absence of transparency and accountability and a need for public education were emphasized as key concerns in the penultimate discussion on Elections, Data and Technology. In appreciation of the vital place for telecommunications infrastructure, the need for a legal framework recognizing and protecting critical infrastructure was noted. Compliance to the global standard of personal data protection by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was flagged as non-negotiable as the Constitutional right to privacy is non-derogable. Summarily, technology should reinforce the democratic process, not undermine it.

In conclusion, the last session zeroing in on Emerging Issues (e.g. 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Tax, E-learning and FinTech) underscored the importance of Digital Services Tax, its impact on the economy in attempting to extend the tax bracket specifically for non-resident providers, recognized the potential impact of 5G technology and the crucial role of the regulator in spectrum allocation. The use of artificial intelligence particularly in financial technology service delivery was lauded in compliance with the law, with counter-arguments on premature regulation in the field of fintech vis a vis the place for self-regulation. User centricity in the development of e-learning solutions should be based on the key pain points flagged by key stakeholders and the need for a new smart city development rather than the retrofitting of existing cities was cited to leverage technology in an attempt to alleviate existing challenges.

The event also featured an award ceremony for the 40 participants of the Kenya School of Internet Governance (KESIG) and the outcome report of the 2021 Youth IGF conveyed. In delivering the Vote of Thanks, Barrack Otieno chair of the Multi Advisory Group (MAG) thanked all the sponsors, partners, speakers, MAG members, KICTANet team and attendees for their engagement. In her Closing Remarks, Mercy Ndegwa, Public Policy Director, East & Horn of Africa, Facebook opined that ‘Internet United’ was an amazingly apt theme throughout the day, noted that the conversation and content were extremely rich and applauded KICTAnet for hosting such a great event.

Conclusively, the attendees – representing various sectors including government, the private sector, civil society, the technical and academic community, and the general public – shared key session highlights and comments on the active chatbox. There was unquestionable consensus on the great content, good insights, impactful learning and interesting conversations in recognition of how the internet has come to play such an important role in our lives and hence the need for its governance. One attendee lauded the virtual setup, quipping that it, ‘looks like a Kenyan apple event’.

The reports of the Kenya IGF 2021 will be follow shortly on the KICTANet documents portal.

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.

Kenya IGF

Hybrid Forum: 23 September 2021

Theme: “Internet United

The Internet Governance Forum (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.

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, media 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 sub-regional then regional level finally culminating in a report that is presented at 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 2008, 2009, 2012 and thereafter, the global IGF in 2011 in Nairobi. This year, the 16th Annual Global IGF Meeting convened by the United Nations, will be hosted by the Government of Poland and is scheduled to take place from 6 – 10 December in Katowice.

KICTAnet in partnership with Industry stakeholders, convenes and organizes the Kenya IGF. This has been the tradition since the 1st edition of the Kenya IGF, which was held in 2008. The Kenya IGF has been hosted and convened by KICTAnet in every successive year since then. KICTAnet works with partners and sponsors to make the event a success. The willingness of the various organizations to partner and support the event is an indication of their commitment to the development and growth of the internet in Kenya.

The main outcome of the Kenya IGF is to maximize opportunities for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas on Internet Governance (IG) related issues. Others include:

  1. Creation of opportunities to share best practices and experiences;
  2. Identification of emerging issues and bringing them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public; and,
  3. Contribution to capacity building for Internet governance.
  4. Bringing new voices into the Internet Governance Conversation.
  5. Develop a common national position with key recommendations to feed to East Africa and Africa IGFs.

Past Kenya IGF Programs

  1. The 2021 Kenya IGF Program
  2. The 2020 Kenya IGF Program
  3. The 2019 Kenya IGF Program
  4. The 2018 Kenya IGF Program
  5. The 2017 Kenya IGF Program

Kenya IGF 2021 Programme


September 23rd, 2021AgendaModerator
8:00 – 8:30 amArrival and RegistrationKICTANet MAG Team, Nzambi Kakusu
8:15 – 8:30 amWelcome and IntroductionsConference Moderator: Ali Hussein or Ian.
8:30 – 9:00 amOpening Remarks
Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer – Safaricom PLC
Alberto Cerda, Ford Foundation
Josephine Gauld, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya 
Grace Githaiga, Convenor, KICTANet
9:00 – 9:15 amKeynote Address
Mercy Wanjau, Ag. Director-General, Communications Authority of Kenya
9:15 – 9:20 amInterlude: Spots from event sponsors
9:20 – 10:15 amSession 1: High-Level Panel –  Emerging regulation of content, data, and consumer rights

Panel:
Amb. Zellweger Valentin, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya
Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Safaricom PLC
Immaculate Kassait, Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC)
Patricia Muchiri, Communications Authority
Mercy Ndegwa, Facebook
Moderator: Ali Hussein, Chair, KICTANet
10:15 – 10:30 amPlenary Session
10.30 – 10.35 amInterlude: Spots from event sponsors
10:35 – 11:20 amSession 2: Inclusion, Universal Access, and Meaningful Connectivity 

Panel:
Josephine Gauld, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya 
Joel Karubiu, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC)
Josephine Miliza, Regional Coordinator at KICTANet, APC LOCNet
Mugambi Kiai, Regional Director, ARTICLE19 Eastern Africa
Moderator: Bob Ochieng ICANN

11:20 – 11:35 amPlenary session
11:35 – 11:40 pmInterlude: Spots from event sponsors
11:40 – 12:40 pm
Session 3: Trust, security, and stability

Panel:
Joseph Mathenge, Serianu Limited
Col. Evans Ombati, Director, National Cybercrime Coordination Centre (NC3)
Dr. Paula Musuva, USIU
Joseph Nzano, KE-CIRT
Moderator: Mutheu Khimulu, Legal Specialist in Cyber security
12:40 – 1:10 pmPlenary Session
1:10 – 1:30 pmInterlude and Health BreakSpots from program sponsors
1:30 – 2:15 pmSession 4: Elections, Data and Technology

Panel
Director of ICT  Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
Anne Ireri, Chair, Election Observation Group (ELOG) 
Martha Karua, Party Leader, NARC Kenya
Tevin Mwenda, KICTANet Research Fellow
Davis Malombe, Executive Director, Kenya Human Rights Commission
Moderator: Stephanie Muchai
2:15 – 2:30 pmPlenary Session
Interlude: Spots from event sponsors
2:35 – 3:20 pmSession 5: Emerging Issues (e.g. 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Tax, E-learning and FinTech)

Panel
Rispah Simiyu, Digital Tax, KRA
Adam Lane, Deputy CEO Huawei
Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT),
Strathmore Law SchoolPeninah Kimani, Chief Digital Officer,
Longhorn Publishers
Mary Mwangi, CEO, Data Integrated
Engineer John Tanui, CEO KONZA
Moderator: Keith Andere
3:20 – 3:35 pmPlenary Session
3:35 – 3:40 pmInterlude: Spots from event sponsors
3:40 – 3:50 pmReport from Youth IGFTBC
3:50 – 4:10 pmActions Points and Way Forward
Rapporteurs Summary 
Lead Rapporteur – June Okal
4:10 – 4:30 pmKenya School of Internet Governance Award CeremonyKICTANet – Rosemary Kimwatu
4:30 – 4:40 pmClosing Session 
Mercy Ndegwa, Facebook
Vote of thanks 
KIGF MAG, KICTANet – Barrack Otieno
End of Event

Maintaining Public Order During Internet Shutdown

Image Credit.

Written by Victoria, from the Bloggers Association of Kenya.

Imagine waking up one day and turning on your computer but you cannot get access to the internet; no browsing, no news, no videos, no internet games, no online chat forums, no social media access. Everything online has been locked out in an instant.

Our world relies heavily on the internet. From communicating with each other to having easy access to a wide variety of knowledge, it is hard to tell what we would do without the internet even for a day.

If the internet was to shut down, the first and most noticeable change will be the huge communication issues. Recently, when a popular communications service provider in Kenya shut down for close to 24 hours, the country was out of a major communication platform. Nevertheless, due to the access to other communication service providers, people were able to communicate with each other.

Imagine a situation where we will not be able to communicate with each other when no service providers can be accessed. We can forget about even having cell phone reception since the cables and satellites that support our wireless phone services will not be able to operate without the internet. We also will not be able to send and receive emails and social media. This would mean the end of easy access to fast-paced information and knowledge.

With just the touch of your screen, we can find out what is happening in other parts of the country from occasional events to even the weather just because of internet access. With no internet, we will have to rely on antenna radio and broadcast television. This would be challenging since most people have transitioned to digital television.

When the internet is shut down, even temporarily, it is viewed as very suspicious activity on the government’s part, especially during an electoral year.

There is a real fear of Internet Shutdowns during this election period (either complete or partial). There seems to be doublespeak from the government (the Cabinet Secretary and Communications Authority of Kenya giving contradicting statements). The basis of the shutdown could be brought about by public order justification for instance: to maintain public order as well as initiatives such as National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s gadgets to monitor hate mongers.

If the internet shuts down during the Election Day, transmission of results would definitely be affected and the said Virtual Private Network (VPN) set to be used to transmit tallied votes could equally be compromised. At a National Election Conference hosted by IEBC in early June, Dr Wangusi, a panellist in one of the sessions, assured Kenyans that there would be no censorship or interruption of communication on the day of elections. He also clarified that election results would be transmitted on a VPN which would see that they do not touch on the bandwidth Kenyans would use on the day.

An Internet shutdown is not the right way to maintain public order. This is because, if the internet went out, it would cause panic in the country. People would start looting, burning things down, and having no regard for local authority. The lack of information when the internet is down will force the government to turn to the martial law to restore order. This would include the local police being replaced by the army as well as new rules like curfews being implemented. This is, therefore, detrimental to a country’s economy.

However, it would be nearly impossible for a government to shut down the entire Internet. Some people in the public have access to a wide range of tools such as VPNs that can easily be used to circumvent any blocks put to deny them access to the Internet in case of an internet shutdown. There are, therefore, too many paths into and out of the country using these VPNs, which have independent providers. The providers who would have to be intimidated for a countrywide shutdown to be executed.

Written by Victoria, from http://bake.or.ke