KICTANet at FIFAfrica22 – Equal Participation of Women in the Digital Ecosystem

The ninth edition of the Forum for Internet Freedom in Africa is taking place in Lusaka, Zambia between 28 September – 29 September, 2022, hosted by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). The landmark event which convenes a spectrum of stakeholders from across the internet governance and digital rights arenas in Africa and beyond, is making a physical comeback since 2019, in the aftermath of Covid -19.

The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is hosting a session on “Bridging the Digital Gender Divide at the Grassroots through Last Mile Connectivity” focusing on the multi-layered issues around equitable participation of women in the digital economy and how community networks are helping bridge this gap. The session will focus on:

  • Hurdles to achieving digital equity.
  • How community networks are achieving last mile connectivity in areas that have experienced digital redlining (where ISPs have neglected to invest in infrastructure or provide services to certain areas or communities that don\’t offer high returns on investment)
  • How are community networks helping achieve digital equity at the grassroots.
  • Why digital equity is not proportional to advancement in technology. There has been expectation that as technology continues to advance, the digital divide gap will automatically close, which has not been the case.
  • How do we Leverage community networks to fight technophobia (discomfort in using technology) at the grassroots level.
  • Decolonizing the internet in terms of technology and content.
  • Socio-cultural norms and biases preventing women from participating in the digital ecosystem and how to leverage CNs to break these biases?
  • Value added services within community networks that can help women extract more value from digital tools to fight GBV, providing a platform to raise/advocate for issues that are important to them, and give them access to information.
    Policies and legislations that exist to support women\’s digital rights and promote enhanced, safer and more affordable access to digital tools.
  • Possibilities that exist in creation and coordination of policies between African countries and relevant stakeholders on fostering women\’s and girls full participation, and inclusion in the digital ecosystem.
  • Taking conversations on equitable digital rights from the “boardroom platforms” to the grassroots level in order for the subjects of these conversations to understand and contribute to these conversations, and more so, the people in the advocacy space to understand the real needs of the communities towards contextualized technology.

Community networks are at the heart of last mile connectivity in providing equitable access for women in the digital ecosystem, building capacity towards digital literacy and helping women and girls leverage this access to improve their socio- economic and socio-cultural situation.

The Speakers on this panel were

 

Catherine Kyalo (moderator), Africa Regional Coordinator for Community Networks, KICTANet, Angela Minayo (Speaker) Women’s Digital Rights Program Officer, KICTANet, Risper Arose (Speaker) Gender and Community Engagement Coordinator, TunapandaNet, Barrack Otieno( Speaker) KICTANet, Trustee

This is a series of our publications on Community Networks.

Ms. Catherine Kyalo is the Africa Regional Coordinator for Community Networks at KICTANET under the LOCNET initiative. She is passionate about community welfare and enjoys yoga to rejuvenate. LinkedIn | Twitter