Ali Hussein takes students through the KeSIG 2019

Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG) is held annually during the Kenya IGF Week, and precedes the Kenya IGF.

The  inaugural school was organized by Kenya ICT Action Network with the support of its partners Facebook and Hivos  in the year  2016 in Nairobi with 50 participants going through a three day intensive capacity building program on Internet Governance.The School was the first national school of Internet Governance  in Africa.

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum has played a pivotal role in enhancing public participation in public policy development in Kenya. The forum has not only introduced new forms of ensuring public participation such as remote participation with the support of International organizations such as the Internet Society and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and numbers which have equally been embraced by the government, private sector, technical community academia and media, it has also built the capacity of many actors from diverse areas in the private sector, civil society, academia and the media on how to engage with other stakeholders in public policy development processes though a multi stakeholder approach. It is for this reason that the Kenya School of Internet Governance was conceptualized to bring new voices into the Internet Governance debate.

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

KeSIG is convened by Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) which is a multi-stakeholder platform for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development. KICTANet has since 2008 convened the annual Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) that brings together local actors in ICT policy discussions. In response to a need for new voices, KICTANet, with support from HIVOS and Facebook , organised the first Kenya School of Internet governance (KeSIG) in 2016.  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 2nd and 3rd editions, 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 3rd edition of 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.

Objectives

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. Specifically, the three day face to face training aims to:

  1. get participants to understand internet governance
  2. increase the mass of people contributing to internet policy making in Kenya and globally
  3. equip participants with skills to effectively participate in internet governance discussions and forums
  4. provide networking opportunities for different stakeholders
  5. provide actors involved in internet governance (trainers) with feedback on emerging issues

Methodology

KeSIG will take place over a period of four days. In the first day, participants are taken through basic concepts in internet governance with a focus on Kenya’s journey. Topical issues such as content control and election monitoring are covered in the second day. On the third day, participants interact with policy makers such as the Communications Authority, legislative drafters and policy advocates from Kenya and Africa.

The training is a mix of lectures and interactive activities. Participants get to listen to perspectives from veterans and practitioners who have participated in shaping Kenya’s position as an ICT power house in Eastern Africa. They also get to stimulate scenarios such as content policy , digitalisation and the future and digital rights in Africa. KeSIG alumni also facilitate sessions in the programme, encouraging participants to envision their contribution to internet policy making.

Areas to be covered in the training include:

  1. Introduction to internet governance
  2. Main concepts in internet governance
  3. Internet governance processes and how to get involved
  4. Kenya’s internet Governance policy /legal framework(s),  internet Governance Issues  in Kenya
  5. Digitalisation and digital rights in Kenya and Africa at large