The Inaugural of First Workshop on Kondoa Community Network School of Internet Governance

KCN SIG in Summary:

  • Kondoa Community Network School of Internet Governance (KCN SIG) is an outcome from the 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa[1] That was co-hosted by the University of Dodoma and Kondoa Community Network in 2019.
  • KCN SIG is also the product from the project that was co-sponsored by the Internet Society through Beyond the Net Funding and the University of Dodoma to pilot the use of television white space for community networks in rural Tanzania.
  • The event is designed to be the annual event that will bring together various stakeholders working towards sustainable community-based telecommunication networks and community radio in Tanzania and beyond.
  • KCN SIG is a program aimed to create an empowered knowledge of community network members capable of playing a critical role in building a sustainable community network infrastructure, creating local content for digital inclusion, shaping policies that govern the evolution and use of community networks.
  • The event was attended by 44 participants from five countries, i.e., Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt and Republic of Korea. The distribution of gender among the participants was 34% for women and 66% of men.
  • It was attended by representatives from Kondoa Community Network, Dodoma Community Network, Kasulu Community Network and Nyasa Community Network.
  • More than 15 sessions were conducted for two days.
  • KCN SIG was attended by Dr. Anthony Diallo, tzCNA Board Member.
  • KCN SIG supported 18 fellows from around Tanzania were sponsored to attend the two-day event through sponsorship from the fellowship program
  • KCN SIG attracted 15 facilitators from five countries, i.e., Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt and Republic of Korea, to facilitate various sessions.
  • KCN SIG was funded by AfriNIC, Mozilla Foundation through Open Internet Engineering Fellowship, Telecom Infra Project, Tanzania Community Networks of Alliance, dLAB, amongst others.

Kondoa, Tanzania – Kondoa Community Network (KCN), the first community network in Tanzania to pilot the use of Television White Space (TVWS) to connect the unconnected population in Kondoa District, Dodoma Region, Tanzania. KCN hosted the inaugural of Kondoa Community Network School of Internet Governance (KCN SIG) at Study Zone Computer Centre from 14th – 15th February 2020. The SIG is a follow up to the 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa that was held from 28th October – 2nd November 2019 at the University of Dodoma (UDOM) in Dodoma, Tanzania.

KCN SIG 2020 is the maiden and is set to be held annually in Tanzania, with the primary objective of building capacity of individuals from local community networks in Tanzania and East Africa, to understand the national, regional better, and global Internet Governance and policy issues, settings, and processes, in the quest to build a critical mass of Internet governance and community-based telecommunication policy ambassadors.

This year’s two days inaugural edition was organized by Tanzania Community Networks Alliance (tzCNA)[2], an umbrella body that brings together established community networks in Tanzania.

The school attracted sponsorship from AfriNIC – the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa and the Indian Ocean region, Mozilla – through the Open Internet Engineering Fellowship funding, Telecom Infra Project, Tanzania Community Networks Alliance amongst others.

Friday, the official opening day of the KCN SIG was addressed by Mr. Msoleni Juma Dakawa, Kondoa Town Executive Director, who delivered his keynote speech. Mr. Msoleni welcomed participants attended the event and recommended them to visit some of the attractive tourist sites in Kondoa, including Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings which is among the UNESCO World Heritage site. In his keynote speech, Dakawa pointed that Kondoa Community Network is one of the outcomes from the work which started as an academic research project from the University of Dodoma, which is now addressing a very critical societal challenge in collaboration with local community members in Kondoa. He further noted out the Government of Tanzania is heavily investing in Information and Communication Technology to help boost the national economic development and economies of its citizens. The government is working to connect secondary schools, health centers, and citizens to better benefit from the use of Internet services such as e-learning, e-library, and e-health. Mr. Msoleni Dakawa recommended that the community networks approach is contributing to helping the government to achieve its various goals.  Mr. Dakawa finally announced to officially open a two days event on Kondoa Community Network School of Internet Governance that is held at Study Zone Computer Centre in Kondoa.

Day one kicked off with eight sessions taking place, key among them being African Declaration (AfDec) on Internet Rights and Freedoms, a pan-African initiative that seeks to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent. The session speakers Wilfred Jackson (APC[3]), and Rebecca Ryakitimbo (Paradigm Initiative), took the participants through the 13 principles of the Declaration, stating that they were necessary for upholding people’s rights on the Internet. Mr. Wilfred mentioned that the African Declaration is a set of principles and norms for Internet policymaking. He further pinpointed that through these principles, AfDec is seeking to promote human and peoples’ rights online and establish a policy environment that is underpinned by these values. They urged participants to get involved in AfDec’s work by; endorsing the declaration, sharing the declaration in their circles, joining the discussion on the AfDec mailing list, and, last but not least, by sharing their experiences on AfDec platforms. Participants were very active in the session and posed several questions, which were all clarified by the panelist. 

Next on the podium was Ms. Heavenlight Ezra Masaki, Project Management and Community Development Manager – 98.4 Dodoma FM Radio[4], who presented on Digital Communication Skills, Media, and Community & Content Creation. In her discussion, Ms. Masaki took the participants through the history of communication, as well as its transformation from analog to digital. Heavenlight pointed out that it was vital to create local content as it gives communities the opportunity to voices essential stories that are often overlooked by the mainstream media. Masaki called on the need for NGOs, Cooperatives, CBOs, and other private & public organizations to intervene in supporting community networks and community radio initiatives as it helps to amplify the voice of the voiceless groups. She further instilled that community networks help to deliver Internet access at affordable prices. This, she felt, would result in low costs of information sharing, thus allowing allow marginalized communities to share their stories with the outside world. In demonstrating the power of digital communication versus analog, Ms. Masaki indicated that sending letter or parcel through the post office or by bus is an example of analogy method which is not timely and expensive which is not always the case for digital communication alternatives. Ms. Masaki also shared the progress from the Dodoma Community Network[5], initiatives that bring together community members in Dodoma to address the local Internet connectivity challenges in Dodoma City. Participants appreciated the power of digital communication and expressed their feeling that it is not always available in some places in rural Tanzania, and if it is available are not always affordable, especially for low earning people.

In their joint presentation on “Empowering Women through ICT and Rural Connectivity” Ms. Catherine Kimambo (Basic Internet Foundation), and Ms. Rebecca Ryakitimbo, highlighted on their initiatives whose shared goal is to bridge the gender digital divide gap in Tanzania. Ms. Catherine is the Founder and Creative Director of African Child Projects[6], an NGO that works with communities in rural Tanzania on projects ranging from Technology, Culture, and Advocacy for quality education. Catherine stated that her organization was focused on ensuring the provision of free access to information for everyone through the establishment of “one information spot per village” initiative. The African Child Projects also addresses female entrepreneurship, digital health; connects schools with the Internet, among others. Ms. Catherine demonstrated a step-by-step guide on how to establish information spot per village using 3G and 4G technologies[7] a projected supported by Basic Internet Foundation[8]. In the wind-up, Catherine indicated eight challenges facing rural connectivity and disruptive technologies in Tanzania, these are Affordability and accessibility, sustainability, policies and licensing, geographical location, media literacy and digital skills, content creation, project ownership, cultural differences. The session was lively and engaging, especially in finding the solution to 8 challenges posed by Ms. Catherine. It was later agreed that most of these challenges cuts-across different stakeholders, including policymakers, government, private sectors, citizens, to mention a few and hence called participants to collaborate in bringing them in the same room in finding out solutions.

On her part, Rebecca gave an overview of Arusha Women School of Internet Governance (AruWSIG), a premier program she co-founded, whose overarching aim is to mentor girls and women in Arusha (Tanzania) and its environs, through professional digital rights outreach symposiums and hackathons on the topic of Internet Governance. Ms. Rebecca works as a Digital Rights Program Officer for East Africa at Paradigm Initiative heading the East Africa Region and also has been an Internet Society Fellow, a Google Policy Fellow and has served as one of the Co-Founders of the Digital Grassroots[9] a youth initiative to grow digital citizenship. Rebecca shared her experience as Principal Investigator for Community–based Wildlife NETwork in Tanzania (WildNET), a project funded by the National Geographic Society to bring connectivity to indigenous communities in Ngorongoro and Serengeti in Tanzania. Rebecca informed that WildNET focuses on building a network that allows for a digitalized conservation educational curriculum addition in schools as well as data mining, enabling relevant authorities and stakeholders to monitor and make informed decisions on conservation. Besides, Rebecca shared her experience in helping Kikundi cha Wajane Kondoa (KIWAJAKO) – A Group of Widowed Women in Kondoa in addressing the gender digital divide. She shared some strategies she adopted to make sure that gender digital divide is addressed among widow in Kondoa [10].

The session on Business Development and Sustainability Approaches (Part I) by Mr. Haji Dachi and Mr. Stanley Mosha emphasized the need for community networks to adopt business models that would enable them to operate sustainably beyond the initial funding via grants. The team insisted on the need of the corporate structure for various community networks in Tanzania as a way towards achieving both technical and economic sustainability. Mr. Haji Dachi shared his experience on business development services and recommended good governance, transparency, accountability, gender-sensitive, among other core values he considers critical for the success of the community networks.

Dr. Anthony Diallo was our main discussant on several topics presented on the first day of the school. Dr. Anthony, as the founder of several companies in Tanzania, including Sahara Media Group and Continental Digital Media Content LLC, both based in Mwanza, shared his experience to participants attended KCN SIG. He further shared his diverse career in the field of Medical Pharmaceuticals and Biochemistry and from his education experience, Doctor of Business Administration and Master of Management from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia, and the University of Phoenix, AZ, USA. Dr. Diallo has served as a Member of Parliament for Mwanza Rural/Ilemela Constituency for fifteen years and Deputy Minister for Ministry of Trade and Industries, Water and Livestock; and as Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism and Ministry of Livestock/Fisheries in the third phase and fourth phase Government of the United Republic of Tanzania respectively. His experience was very critical towards sustainable community networks in Tanzania. Dr. Diallo moderated sessions on the history of Internet governance, ICT policy ecosystem in Tanzania, and the role of media in achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Tanzania.

Mr. Mufungo Manyama, Community Development Officer for Dodoma City Council, presented his experience on the role of NGO for the community development and its policy, regulations, and registration procedures in Tanzania. While Manyama used much of his time, sharing his experience is supporting NGOs towards positive contribution in addressing critical challenges facing the local community. Finally, Manyama guided the participants on the procedure to register an NGO in Tanzania. Mr. Manyama tried his best to make sure each participant attended the session is aware on the registration processes for NGO and also he recommended that at the end of the session, attended participants should be prepared to register NGOs that help address challenges facing their local community and aiming to collaborate with other stakeholders for the betterment of empowering citizens in Tanzania.

Three sessions were to be delivered remotely, but due to unstable Internet connection, presenters shared their presentation, which was co-delivered by Jabhera Matogoro and Bonface Witaba. These sessions covered accessibility, affordability of Internet, and local content skills building from Dr. Kashif Ali from Facebook/Telecom Infra Project and Dr. Arjuna Sathiaseelan of GAIUS Networks as well as the session which was to be delivered by Mr. Bob Ochieng on the role of ICANN towards a multi-stakeholder Internet Governance event globally. Mr. Bonface Witaba (ICANN / AFRINIC Fellowship alumni), and Mr. Matogoro Jabhera (ICANN Fellows and Open Internet Engineering Fellow), took participants through the works of ICANN and AFRINIC, their role in Internet governance and development in the world and Africa. The two presenters mentioned that ICANN and AFRINIC were multi-stakeholder platforms, where everyone was welcomed to take part in the Policy Development Processes (PDP), in efforts to help shape the evolution and future use of the Internet. They urged participants to apply for various opportunities, including fellowship programs as an entry point into the Internet ecosystem and spaces. AfriNIC’s mission is to serve the African community by providing professional and efficient management of Internet number technology usage and development and promoting Internet self-governance. AfriNIC is guided by its core values, which are; community-driven, operational excellence, passion, innovation, and creativity. Participants appreciated the great works from ICANN and AfriNIC that contribute to shaping the Internet ecosystem and empowering the multi-stakeholderism model.

Saturday, day two of the KCN SIG event, saw eight sessions.

In the first presentation of the day, Eng. Abdalmonem Galila, ICANN Universal Acceptance Ambassador, talked about Universal Acceptance (UA), reiterating that it was a vital requirement for a genuinely multi-lingual and digitally inclusive Internet.  Eng. Abdalmonem mentioned that Universal Acceptance ensured that all domain names, including long new Top Level Domains (TLDs) and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), and e-mail addresses are treated equally and can be compatible across Internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems. Eng. Abdalmonem is also a Deputy Manager of the .masr IDN ccTLD and shared his experience from day to day operations in managing the ccTLD. Before the event in Kondoa, Eng. Galila delivered a technical demonstration to systems administrators and software developers from the University of Dodoma and Tanzania Community Networks Alliance. The session was critical for the professional team to assess the state of universal acceptance for the systems they are managing in their organization. Almost all mail servers and web servers were not UA ready. While in Kondoa, participants agreed to commission a study to assess UA readiness in Tanzania. A study that is currently led by Jabhera Matogoro from the College of Informatics and Virtual Education of the University of Dodoma aiming to contributes to evidence-based policy towards UA readiness in Tanzania. Eng. Galila quoted Nelson Mandela in one of his says if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you speak to him in his language, that goes to his heart. There are several reasons to push for IDN, some of these reasons are: help customers to remember their domain name more easily, contribute to communicating better, it is easier for local customers to use, help better reach local customer base, among others. He also presented reasons given out on why EAIs matters; keep online identity through using local language, preserve local cultural and traditional heritage, easier to remember and to communicate with other online users, to mention a few. At the end of the session, participants were able to distinguish between ASCII and UNICODE texts and the importance of supporting many languages as a way to address the lack of local content to many online applications.

Mr. Prosper Kwigize, Chairperson for Community Media Network of Tanzania (TADIO), discussed the role of ICT in empowering community radio. Mr. Prosper designed his presentation to be more engaging and undertake group discussions on; what is a community, what is radio, what is ICT, and what is community radio. He further elaborated that community radio is the radio established by the community, managed by the community for the community. Community radio should have the specific objectives that come from the needs of the community itself, and its production is done in collaboration with the community. He further shared out the role of community radio and guided participants on how community radio works. Mr. Kwigize pointed that due to the migration of communication and broadcasting technologies from analog to digital, this situation created a gap in information finding and dissemination; this gap necessitated the Internet to be the crucial means of community communication as well as the Broadcasting tool. Prosper indicated that community radio uses the internet (ICT) also during production i.e., verification of names of people used in the package, verify names of countries, or other any other information required by the community radio. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Kwigize noted that not all information or news posted on the Internet is accurate, journalists and radio owners must be able to verify the validity and truth of online information.

Daniel Illakwahhi facilitated the session on behalf of Dr. Alex David Mhagama from Veridoc Global Tanzania, focused his discussion on the role of Blockchain in eliminating document fraud and counterfeits. Mr. Daniel demonstrated how local community networks could take advantage of the deployed Internet infrastructure to verify the originality of QR supported products. In his demonstration, Mr. Daniel took the participants on the complete cycle of using QR technology as a secure alternative to packaging locally-made products in Tanzania. Mr. Daniel presented that, until recently, everything was run on centralized systems. Our money is stored in a bank; our data is stored on our computer or a third-party server like Google Drive or iCloud. If someone wanted to steal your money or edit your data, they would only have to target a single location. This represents a centralized system. Blockchain is a decentralized system. Security is now shared across millions of computers and locations. To edit the same data, you would need to target millions of computers all at the same time. To make this harder, a new block is added to the Ethereum blockchain every 10-20 seconds, which means you would need to hack millions of computers collectively in a 10-second window. If this was even possible, it has been estimated that the power required to attempt this is equivalent to ten New York Cities. VeriDoc Global aims to give document issuers as many options as possible, including the ability to utilize several public and private blockchain networks. Users will be able to create document records on as little as one blockchain network or can choose to create document records on multiple chains simultaneously. This will provide versatility to users as well as future proof of their verification data.  Daniel Illakwahhi pointed out that blockchain technology can be used in banking and finance, education, professional service, government, and medical, to mention a few. Participants were able to appreciate the role of blockchain technology and its critical role in verifying the counterfeits of both local and international products entering the local markets where community networks have been established. 

Dr. Choi Hong-Kyu, World Friends KOICA Advisor, shared his experience on “enabling community access by renewable energy.” Choi pointed out that the African Continent boasted of being the global total most Sun-rich continent with 40% of solar. On its part, Tanzania experienced 2,800 – 3,500 hrs of sunshine per year (64-80%), global insolation of 4 – 7 kWh/m2/day. Dr. Choi volunteered for Solar Appropriate Technology at Ihumwa Village from Jan 2011 to June 2019, Dodoma, Tanzania, and was also a Founding Member for Korea Solar Energy Research Institute (KSERI), Republic of Korea. Hong-Kyu felt that solar energy was most useful, powerful, and affordable, especially in remote regions where electricity access was a mirage. Dr. Choi showcased some of his green solar energy innovations; solar gadgets he said could easily be assembled locally by local communities, in the quest to meet their sustainable energy needs. He gave out six good reasons on why solar matters; Solar is a technology, not a fuel; no associated air pollution with emissions; solar energy is a renewable energy source; solar energy is available all over the world; homeowners can reduce their overall expenses by going solar; and, requires no water to generate electricity. The session also demonstrated that participants could also take advantage of solar power solutions towards empowering youth and community network members who will later sustain the community networks.

Daniel K. Nanghaka, Executive Director of ILICIT Africa (Integrating Livelihoods through Communication Information Technology for Africa) based in Uganda. He attended KCN SIG and gave an overview of modern Internet standards and Internet policy adoption in Africa. Mr. Daniel pointed out that open internet standards could already have been today. However, there is still a challenge in the adoption of the standards despite the usefulness of open internet standards such as DNSSEC, TLS, DANE, RPKI, ROA, DMARC, DKIM, SPF, and IPv6. In his presentation, Daniel informed attended participants that the-Internet. Africa is built based on the open-source code that was posted on github with collaboration and support from AfriNIC. Nanghaka is the Member of the Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ICANN), Chair of ICANN At-Large Outreach and Engagement Sub Committee, and former Chair of FOSSFA. His experience on modern Internet standards and Internet policy adoption was very critical to the established community networks in Tanzania. While finalizing his presentation, Daniel called for more members to join the task force as they are working to conduct an assessment on the Adoption of Modern/Open Internet Standards in Africa, which will later serve towards event-based policy outreach to various stakeholders operating in Africa.

The KCN SIG drew its curtains with a speech by Kondoa District Commissioner, which was represented by Mr. Egid Mhema. He hailed the school organizers and supporters for having hosted the event in Kondoa, stating the move immensely aided in putting Kondoa on the world map. The District Commissioner emphasized on Tanzania government’s commitment to Internet development, pointing out that ICT, if well adopted, could help boost national GDP and contributes to achieving vision 2025 as well as the five years development plan. He further promised all necessary support from his office, aiming to push for policy and regulations that favor modern technologies, including television white space and community networks approach in Tanzania. Mr. Egid Mhema finally announced the closure of the Kondoa Community Network School of Internet Governance and branded the event as Tanzania Community Networks School of Internet Governance moving forward. He recommended that organizers should try their best to embrace the multi-stakehoderism approach that will bring various stakeholders together in Tanzania. Notably, Mr. Egid Mhema acknowledged the financial support from AfriNIC, which has supported 18 fellows to attend the event. The same approach could be adopted to attract more partners who will later sustain the annual event for the new branded name, Tanzania Community Networks School of Internet Governance. The District commissioner later issued out certificates of attendance and appreciation to the fellows and faculty, respectively.

Note: Photos from KCN SIG has been uploaded here:

Reported by Bonface Witaba (Senior Communications Officer, Tanzania Community Networks Alliance), Matogoro Jabhera (Mozilla Open Internet Engineering Fellow), and Salome Nkonoki (Assistant Communications Officer, Tanzania Community Networks Alliance).

Disclaimer: Views expressed here are solely those gathered by the author(s) and should not necessarily be construed to be those of any of organs or neither agencies nor any other organization (s) mentioned or discussed. This article is released under cc-by-sa 4.0 International license, and translation into other languages is encouraged. For more information, please contact the author(s) and or tzCNA.











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