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Beyond the Net Community Projects Growing the Internet Human Rights

Internet@MySchool – a pilot project connecting Yemeni schools in Sanaa and Aden

As a country, Yemen is among the least with Internet connectivity in the Middle East. This is particularly troubling given the rise of Internet access across the globe. Furthermore, the youth in Yemen constitute the majority of the population yet are being left behind because of the lack of Internet access in schools due to poor economic conditions coupled with other priorities that supersede Internet access.

And due to the continuation of conflicts, the educational process in Yemen facing many challenges: shortages in the financial resources, the rehabilitation of partially damaged schools, and the printing of school textbooks. Currently, there are about 2 million school-age children are out of school and more than 1,600 schools are currently unfit for use due to conflict-related damage, hosting of IDPs, or occupation by armed groups.

While schools in Yemen facing these challenges, that does not mean that Internet access should not be a high priority. On the contrary, we believe that the Internet could be a strong incentive and means of support to help students acquire knowledge and be motivated to study online and compensate for the lack of books and other study material.

Students need the Internet because it is the most effective way to share ideas and experiences and complement regular traditional education. Similarly, teachers need to be informed of the new pedagogic methods and teaching material that allows them to enhance their teaching methods and improve their curricula. Teachers can also use the Internet to exchange views with each other and formulate common ideas to present to the government. This is why Yemen Chapter strongly believe in connecting schools to the internet will have a long-term positive impact.

Thanks to Beyond the Net Funding Programme support we are implementing Internet@MySchool, a project which aims to connect to the Internet four secondary school’s senior classrooms in two cities (Sanaa, and Aden) and provide training and booklets to ensure that the Internet services the project provides are used effectively by students and teachers in those schools.

The project will select one boys school and one girls school in both cities. Those schools are going to be a pilot project, which we hope will be replicated across the country and the region.

The project team, in the last five months, has worked hard to identify the selected schools to implements the project through a selection and evaluation criteria. The team has completed the following activities:

  • Installed the Internet and network infrastructure in four schools in Sana’a and Aden.
  • Produced and printed 3000 copy of a booklet in Arabic language with illustrations will be used in the training sessions for students on the basics of internet and how to use internet as a tool for education. The booklet will be distributed to students and staff in the selected schools and could be reprinted and used in many different settings and contexts if resources are available.
  • Created a website for the project with login authorization to each of the schools to allow students and staff posting  their own experiences, photos, questions, and other contributions and for the project to promote its work. Additionally, students can communicate with their teachers and colleagues to discuss and share educational resources or materials.
  • Created Social media accounts such as facebook page for disseminating project activities among public audience.
  • Video showing some activities of the project
  • Video promoting the website of the project 
  • Preparing for the training sessions in the next few weeks.
Share this story

If you like this story, please share it with your friends. That would tremendously help in spreading the word and raising the visibility of this project. Help more people understand how the Internet can change lives.

We are interested in your project

We are looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how to make your community better using the Internet. Internet Society “Beyond the Net Funding Programme” funds projects up to $ 30.000 USD.

Find out more about the programme 
Stay tuned for the upcoming blog and follow our stories on Twitter 

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Beyond the Net Community Projects Development Growing the Internet Human Rights

e-Daara de Thieyetou – Internet au cœur du village

Beyond the Net Journal: Sénégal Chapter #1 Episode

Thieyetou est un village du nord-ouest du Sénégal situé à 27km de la ville la plus proche et difficilement accessible. Sa population rencontre également des difficultés d’accès à l’information et à l’éducation. De même, sa distance de la ville rend l’entretien du matériel informatique presque impossible, les techniciens doivent venir de la ville.

Actuellement, plus de deux cents trente élèves fréquentent l’école primaire qui accueille aussi les étudiants d’autres localités autour (Garame, Ndari, Koure, Ndialigue), la plupart n’ayant jamais accédé à Internet.

Le chapitre du Sénégal (http://www.isoc.sn/), avec le soutien du club informatique de l’Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar (www.esp.sn), souhaite déployer dans l’école primaire de Thieyetou une connexion internet sécurisée, partagée par Wifi de même qu’un logiciel de gestion scolaire en ligne. Ce dernier permettra aux professeurs de pouvoir suivre la progression de leurs élèves.  De plus, l’accès à l’internet sera possible à toute la population du village.

Un défi supplémentaire a été mis en lumière par ce projet.  En effet, le village connaît des problèmes d’approvisionnement en électricité, ce qui apporte de grande contrainte au déploiement du réseau.  Cependant, les membres ont su y pallier via l’installation d’un kit solaire autonome.

Pour terminer, il est important de mentionner que le rôle du chapitre ne c’est pas arrêté à ces considérations techniques. Constatant que l’école manquait de matériel scolaire essentiel pour le déroulement des cours, le Chapitre a lancé un appel à contribution à tous ses membres.

Reproductibilité du projet

Un accord entre le Ministère de l’Education du Sénégal et le principal fournisseur d’accès Internet du pays assure un accès Internet gratuit à 1Mb, l’hébergement web et les adresses de courrier électronique dans n’importe quelle école publique du pays.   Ce qui rend ce projet réalisable dans toute école primaire ou secondaire au Sénégal.

La documentation (manuels d’installation et d’utilisation) et les expériences partagées de ce projet seront entièrement disponibles et maintenues en ligne par les membres du chapitre. Cela aidera à diffuser les informations sur ce projet et à faciliter sa réplication.

Découvrez le projet avec les mots de Monsieur Ahmath Bamba Mbacke, chef de projet et Monsieur Alex Corenthin, President du Chapitre du Sénégal.

Partager cet article

Si vous aimez cette histoire, partagez-la avec vos amis. Cela aiderait énormément à diffuser l’info et à accroître la visibilité de ce projet, en aidant plus de gens à comprendre comment Internet peut changer des vies.

Avez-vous une idée de projet ? Nous sommes intéressés par votre projet.

Nous recherchons de nouvelles idées, provenant de partout dans le monde, sur la façon de rendre votre communauté plus efficace en utilisant Internet. « Beyond the Net » finance des projets jusqu’à concurrence de 30 000 $ US.

Vous voulez créer votre propre projet ? Participez à une des prochaines sessions d’information les 7 et 23 février 2017.
Categories
Community Projects Development Growing the Internet Human Rights

Experiencing the Internet’s Role in Community Empowerment

Taking advantage of the fact that Internet Society’s CEO, Kathy Brown, and I were both in India last month, we visited one of our Wireless for Communities (W4C) sites in Tilonia, located in Rajasthan state.

Located some 380km from Delhi in a rural location, the W4C Tilonia site is based at the Barefoot College campus, and is a self-reliant model village – from generating their own solar electricity to sustainable water harvesting. They also run a community education programme teaching people from around the world skills to help them empower their local communities.

The W4C programme has been running since 2010 and it adopts a holistic approach to empowering rural communities with digital skills and tools. Establishing W4C in Tilonia was a natural meeting of the two programmes.

The impact was plain to see. Both the old and new campuses of Barefoot College in Tilonia are now linked to each other by point-to-point WiFi, and each campus has a local WiFi network that connects everything from schools to community radio stations. The administration of the campus has now gone paperless – with all work being done online. The community education programme uses Internet and ICT technology extensively and it was amazing to see tablet computers and large screen TVs being used to teach electronic kit assembly to the ‘Solar Mamas’. These Solar Mamas keep in touch with family back home using Internet messaging apps. The Internet truly permeates through everything at Barefoot College.

One of the most touching scenes was seeing a classroom full of young girls during their midday break all queuing up in an orderly fashion to get their 10 minutes each at a computer. The wonder and curiosity in their eyes – and their patience waiting for their turn – was truly remarkable. And all the more reason, that we must make the Internet of Opportunity available to everyone, everywhere.

You can follow Kathy and my journey to W4C Tilonia on storify here and there is a video of our visit here.

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Beyond the Net Community Projects Growing the Internet Human Rights Privacy

A safe Internet for Aragonese kids under 12

Beyond the Net Journal: Spain Aragon Chapter #1 Episode

In a society where Internet in schools is become more and more common, knowing how to face the learning process in kids under 12, became an essential building block. Parents and teachers need to recognize that on the Internet kids aren’t just watching, they are interacting with other people. With this in mind, the Aragon Spain Chapter applied to Beyond the Net Funding Programme with the aim of educating Aragonese parents and kids with skills and tools for a safer use of online resources. I asked few questions to Andres Gomez to get a deeper insight of their project.

Tell us the purpose of this project and what is your role.

As a manager of the Spain Aragon Chapter, I  launched this project along with some other members. Our aim is teaching children how to use the Internet in a responsible way. They will learn how to protect themselves against online threats and how to avoid kids bullying. We don’t want to use parental control or similar vigilance tools because we firmly think that prohibition is Not the Answer. We are going to create new educational tools, providing children with the right skills to detect and avoid dangers. My role is Project Coordinator.

What background led to this project? 

Children and the Internet is one of our biggest concerns.  I worry about my sons, but I think that parental overprotection can be as dangerous as a lack of protection. Your decision could deprive them of access to fantastic resources for legitimate information.  But your children might be sneaking around the Internet filters without your knowledge, and that’s when the danger increases. They may come into contact with demeaning, racist, sexist, violent, hateful and false information, or even worst they may encounter online predators. I decided to create this project starting from my point of view, bringing together a team with the best professional skills to make it a success. Our final goal will also be the creation of a new Chapter dedicated to children security policies.


The project team: Alexander Dobbie, Teresa Auseré, Angelina Gracia del Rio, Andres Gomez

What do you expect to achieve, listing three main project objectives?

As a first step, we are going to take a survey of parents and teachers concerns about the safety of their children when surfing the Internet. A clear understanding of the problem will provide us the right information. Next step will be creating educational tools to make children safer. Later we will provide parents and teachers with surveillance tools to watch their kid’s behavior.

How will this contribute to Chapter’s local presence and Internet Society’s mission in general?

Currently, the interest of Internet Society in our local community has declined. I think this project will be an opportunity to rekindle interests on Internet policies. The involvement of external agents is satisfactory, and we are working to increase it. Also to enhancing the Spain Aragon Chapter, the ultimate goal of the project is the creation of a Chapter for children where they will express their wishes and needs. A key role of this Chapter will be ensuring the legislation and the protection tools to be the most helpful for children. We want our community to be aware that these children will be the Internet users of the future. We hope that our activities will increase people’s interest in this important topic.

Share this story

If you like this story, please share it with your friends. That would tremendously help in spreading the word and raising the visibility of this project. Help more people understand how the Internet can change lives.

Do you have a great idea? We are interested in your project

We are looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how to make your community better using the Internet. Internet Society “Beyond the Net Funding Programme” funds projects up to $ 30.000 USD.

Find out More about Beyond the Net Funding Programme.
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Beyond the Net Growing the Internet Human Rights Technology

8 new projects under Internet Society’s Beyond the Net program

We’re excited to announce 8 new projects under Internet Society’s Beyond the Net program – a program designed to help your big idea to change lives using the net become a reality.

Projects are usually developed and run by our Chapters or Interest Groups – a group of volunteers on the ground who are united by location or interest.

Here’s the latest round of inspiring projects:

seDaara of Thieyetou
Senegal Chapter

The Internet is hard to come by in Thieyetou. The Senegalese village is about 30 kilometers from the nearest city and surrounded by desert. This means it’s both hard to maintain hardware and difficult to get it fixed when dust gets in the machines.

ISOC Senegal is working to change that.

By working with Senegal’s Ecole Supérieur Polytechnique, the project will turn Thieyetou’s elementary school into a digital hub for everyone. The community will get a local Ethernet network with a long range wifi hotspot. The school itself will get a low-energy, solar powered Raspberry Pi computer lab. And, finally, teachers will get access to open source software that will allow them to digitize student records. When school’s not in session, the computer lab will be open to everyone as a cyber café.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Post-Disaster Resilient Communications
Philippines Chapter

In remote and rural parts of the Philippines, telecommunications networks can be spotty at the best of times. When a natural disasters hit, they’re wiped out completely. But that is about to change thanks to ISOC Philippines’ new Unmanned Aerial Vehicles project.

The plan would see UAVs — or what most of us call drones — sent up in disaster zones to act as wireless relays and data aggregators. The drones would set up a local MESH network that would help people get in touch with loves ones. It would also help emergency workers to talk to one another.

The project also hopes to make sure the drones will able to work with Unmanned Ground Vehicles to find information about the situation on the ground. This helps emergency workers work safely and efficiently.

A Safe Internet for Kids Under 12: Prohibition is Not the Answer
Spain Aragon Chapter

We all want to make sure children can stay safe online. Unfortunately, locking kids out of the Internet doesn’t work.

Prohibition is not the answer.

This project aims to take a different approach to Internet safety. One that focuses on education, information, and building trust. It will teach children how to use the Internet in a responsible way, that both keeps them safe and teaches them not to bully other kids online.

It will also help children become passionate about the Internet. They, in turn, will be able to work with adults to build a better online world.

The program will also teach parents how to talk to their children about online issues so their kids use computers with little surveillance.

Upgrading the Zenzeleni Network
South Africa Gauteng Chapter

Mankosi, in the Eastern Cape Province, is one of South Africa’s poorest communities. Most residents live on less that $2 US per day. In spite of this, the people living there value connectivity like anyone else. Residents spend an average 22% of their income on the ability to connect and communicate. Unfortunately, even with this, less than a quarter of residents are online in any given month. Those that are keep their usage to a minimum.

Thankfully, Mankosi is getting an alternative to expensive, spotty service. The Zenzeleni Network was set up in 2012 to provide voice service to the community, using analog phones connect to WiFi routers and VOiP technology.

Now, ISOC South Africa (Gauteng) and the University of Western Cape are upgrading the system to create a powerful and stable network to help get more people online. The program will also see computer labs set up in the Mankosi’s primary and secondary school, and computer literacy training for teachers. The goal is to make it possible for people in Mankosi to get online for a fraction of what it currently costs, and turn Zenzeleni into a model for community-owned telecommunications companies.

Internet@MySchool
Yemen Chapter

Due to poverty and political instability, Yemen is one of the least connected countries in the Middle East. It’s a major problem, especially in a country where over 40% of people are under 15 and at risk of being left behind in a high-tech global economy.

A new pilot program from ISOC Yemen will give students at six Yemeni high schools a chance to become part of the Internet. One boy’s school and one girl’s school from the country’s three largest cities will not only get connected, but will have the chance use the Internet in their studies. This includes everything from booklets to special guest lectures. The project will be a pilot with the goal of getting more and more young Yemenis get online.

Boosting local content to rural schools in Uganda
Uganda Chapter

Internet usage is on the rise in Uganda. As of June of last year, roughly 37% of Ugandans were online, up from an estimated 10% five years earlier.

The problem is these new users aren’t finding enough material in their language. The Internet is still overwhelmingly built for people who are Western and English speaking. ISOC Uganda has come up with a quick way to increase the amount of content in Uganda’s most commonly spoken language, Luganda, without having to reinvent the wheel. They will translate content from English Wikipedia into Luganda.

To make sure the project can last, they’ll also train Ugandan high school students to become Wikipedia editors. This will help create new content in their language, and encourage the use of Wikipedia as an educational resource.

Rural Communities Access to Information Society (RUCCESS)
Nepal Chapter

Nepal is a country with a great digital divide. While urban Nepal is getting more and more connected, there are large parts of rural Nepal where Internet access is still very hard to come by. This was made worse by the 2015 earthquake, which saw massive infrastructure damage, much of which is still waiting to be repaired.

ISOC Nepal’s Rural Communities Access to Information Society will put community access hubs in rural schools, community centers, and village development offices. It will also focus on training women how to use social media, including Facebook and Viber, to stay in touch with their sons and husbands. (In many of these communities, men go away to work, leaving women and children behind.) The hubs will pay for themselves by charging for things like printing and scanning.

Net4all
Spain Catalonia Chapter

In Catalonia, Guifi.net has changed the way people get online. The free, open, neutral communications network is self-organized and operated by users. Companies, individuals, and local administrations contribute to the nodes of the network. In 2009, the network started deploying fiber optic cable to farms in rural communities.

The next step for Guifi.net is to export this model to the world. ISOC’s Catalan chapter is helping them do that. It will create materials to help people in underserved communities all over the world to create their own free, user-driven, decentralized networks.

Do you have a great idea?
Categories
Growing the Internet Human Rights Improving Technical Security Privacy

Securing the Internet for children in Asia-Pacific

At a recent UNICEF event, the role of the ICT industry in East Asia and the Pacific was examined in respect to promoting children’s rights and UNICEF’s “Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection”. In the course of the day the discussion turned to childrens’ self-esteem, and need for love and sense of belonging that may result in risky or inappropriate online behaviour. Just as importantly, it was pointed out that children may be unaware of the negative repercussions of their behavior to themselves and others, one of which is the loss of privacy through data collection by service and content providers. These trends inevitably have far-reaching implications for online trust and confidence.

Cooperation and partnership are key especially as laws to tackle the dissemination of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), the prosecution of abusers, awareness-raising and children’s recovery from exploitation are not in place in many countries. Governments, private sector, local associations/champions, educators, civil society, parents and caregivers all have important roles in ensuring a safe and secure Internet for children.

It was established that there needs to be a careful balance between children’s right to protection on the one hand, and their right to information and freedom of expression on the other. Although there are numerous tools to facilitate childrens’ positive Internet use, such as hotlines/helplines, international education campaigns, and child empowerment programmes, these still need to be scaled, and best practices culled from existing approaches.

This is very much in line with our five-point Collaborative Security Framework wherein we suggest ways by which society can tackle security challenges to bring about a better and stronger Internet. These include (1) Fostering confidence and protecting opportunities (the Internet is a driver of economic and social innovation, and security will foster confidence in the Internet and ensure its continued success); (2) Collective responsibility (Internet participants share a responsibility towards the system and should not act in their self-interest but with everyone’s welfare in mind); (3) Fundamental Properties and Values (Security solutions should be compatible with human rights and the fundamental properties of the Internet); (4) Evolution and Consensus (Agile, evolutionary steps based on the expertise of a broad set of stakeholders) and; (5) Think Globally, Act Locally (The most impactful solutions are likely to be reached through voluntary, bottom-up initiatives).

So the fundamental question is: Should businesses and individuals accept the increased risk and liabilities of attack along with the increased reach, potential and usage of the Internet? An analogy is that crossing the road may have its risks but one can also gain and accomplish a lot in that journey.

The reality is that we may not have much choice but to go with the flow. Children will often want what their peers have and, be creative in getting it. Equipping them with knowledge can be a good step forward. Close collaboration is needed every step of the way. With Asia-Pacific being home to more than half of the world’s young people, the steps we take now will inevitably impact the lives of hundreds and millions of Internet users in the near future.

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Beyond the Net Growing the Internet Human Rights Privacy

Announcing Beyond the Net Selected Projects!

The first round of Beyond the Net funding recipients are selected!

I’m excited about this selection as it’s the first of the programme! A few months ago we evolved our Community Grants programme to Beyond the Net – a funding programme for our Chapters and members to build and carry out projects in their city, town, or communities.

Projects range from giving people in Sri Lanka a new sight to building a Internet community center for Indigenous Mayans. All are dedicated to bringing amazing opportunities to people around the world.

Do you have a great idea?

You can apply for small, medium, or large-scale grants as a Chapter or, if there is no Chapter where you live, as an individual member.

Find out more about how to apply for a Beyond the Net grant.

Congratulations to all recipients!

Safer and conscious use of the Internet among K-12 children in Turkey

Project Leader: Fatma Demirel, Turkey Chapter

According to the EU Kids Online: National Perspectives report, 25% of children in Turkey express statements that are perceived as constituting Internet addiction (defined as “excessive use” in the report).

This project seeks to educate children on safer Internet use and teach them how to avoid risks online while using social media, search engines, and video gaming sites. We believe that through education, children can become more aware of the risks of Internet use and they can use the Internet without the need for any kind of prohibitions of content – since blocking content is not the solution, which is in line with the values of ISOC. We will also conduct seminars and workshops about how to access reliable information from the Internet. As indicated in the ISOC mission, we are aiming for all people benefit to benefit from using the Internet.

Simplification of Terms and Conditions

Project Leader: Nicolas Chagny, France Chapter

The law on confidence in the digital economy (LCEN) forced each website to acquire imprint with clear and identical information, enabling any user to identify the publisher of a site, and its host contact. In 2013, the Internet Society conducted the global survey on Internet usage called “Global Internet User Survey”. We noted that a majority of French Internet users feels helpless in terms of protection of privacy on the Internet. Only 7% of respondents say they always read the terms of use and privacy (TOS). Among those that sometimes read these conditions, only 12% says they completely understand it. Over 90% of respondents do not systematically pay attention to privacy rules.

This project aims to:

  • The creation of simple and synthetic General Terms and Conditions (GTC) models, meeting the legal requirements of publishers. The goal is to have TOS included in one single page, understandable by all;
  • The creation of a single simple sign-on, understandable to all, in orde to allow each user, upon validation of terms and conditions, to do so in full knowledge of the commitments he makes.

The project is not intended to analyze, classify or judge the Terms and Conditions of websites, but to improve accessibility and readability of these terms.

New vision for the visually impaired

Project Leader: Sagarika Wickramasekera, Sri-Lanka Chapter

Sri Lanka has a population of 20 million people of these about 200,000 people are believed to be blind and another 400,000 are visually impaired. Many of these lost their sight during the country’s civil war (1983-2009).

This project was initiated following a demand from the visual impaired soldiers that saw the Internet as a tool to stop their isolation, develop their knowledge and skills and ultimately find a job and re-integrate society.

Internet Society Sri-Lankan Chapter together with a local organization for the blind decided to bring this idea to life and include all visually impaired person in the country. In the initial phase, the project will create a core group of future Trainers of thirty visually impaired individuals and train them in computer literacy. After receiving their certification this group will begin to train their fellow visually impaired citizens. In the second phase, a Mobile Lab will be developed to reach out to visually impaired people in remote locations that have poor access to Internet.

Hamara Internet

Project Leader: Nighat Dad, in collaboration with the Pakistan Islamabad Chapter

Organisations and initiatives that deal with the rights of women in Pakistan will tackle harassment, but do not focus on the role played by ICTs. In the absence of any proactive laws to tackle cyber harassment, the aim of the Hamara Internet (“Our Internet”) campaign is to raise the awareness of digital violence against women, and to provide women with the necessary knowledge and tools to protect their online and offline freedom of expression via comprehensive workshops and trainings. By fostering digital literacy among women, they will be able to not only safety and effectively navigate digital spaces themselves, but will also be able to help their families and friends to protect themselves as well.

WiFi-UH

Project Leader: Alejandro Ramos Encinosa, Cuba

The University of Havana, the oldest and biggest university in Cuba, is located in the center of the city and it has facilities all around. With more than 25 000 students it only has around 3000 computers in its labs, which is not enough for our community to fully cover all the needs for contents for learning, research and innovation.

The project’s main goal is to provide the University of Havana with a powerful WiFi network in all its main campuses. This network will allow the community to access the Internet using their personal devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. It will also permit the visitors and people living close to the university to surf the net. The access points will be placed in order to cover all the open spaces in the university. Besides the implementation of the WiFi network, the project encompasses the training of the technical personal and the introduction of this kind of technology to the users.

Internet Radio for People with Visual Impairments

Project Leader: Igor Mkrtumyan, Armenia Chapter

The creation of the Internet Availability Center in 2012 for blind and visually impaired people at the Culture House of Blinds in Yerevan, Armenia, triggered creative ideas among active members and instructors of the center. They came to the conclusion that Internet radio is one of the utmost importance for blinds. Through a comprehensive internet radio programmation, this project will help Armenian blinds to be well informed of their rights and privileges, problems and solutions, new opportunities and success stories. They will become trained to overcome psychological barriers for integration into the society. They will network and provided with a platform for joint advocacy. The project will orient them in choice of suitable profession, and make them more active participants of social life.

By the end of the project there will be a functional platform established for people with various disabilities, particularly for those with vision impairments and a notable cohort of Armenian speaking people of five continents.

IICB – Indian IETF Capacity Building Program – Phase II

Anupam Agrawal, India Kolkata Chapter

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Society (ISOC) and Internet Architecture Board (IAB) are important Internet governance organisations concerned with the technical aspects of the Internet. Countries, which have representation in the core technical activities of these organisations, can have significant contribution and strong presence in the world of Internet governance. However, till date India’s participation in these organisations is almost negligible.

As such Phase I – of the IICB program was initiated which was to create a broad level approach framework, Converting the objectives into actionable goals, conduct awareness sessions in 5 colleges, 5 SMEs and then conduct 2 IICB conferences along with creating a common IT platform to work on IETF nationally and send 2 people on partial fellowships to any IETF meeting. This received the support of Government of India as well and is nearing its completion. The IT platform – iicb.org showcases everything done till now.

The current project will seek to achieve Phase II of the IICB program. During this phase, MOU will be signed with participating institutions, awareness sessions will be conducted therein and IICB conferences will be hosted by forming consortium of participating institutions every quarter and then publication of a quarterly digest on IETF participation and contribution. The project also endeavors to start the process of remotely attending IETF meetings All these efforts are being channelized for hosting of IETF in India (Either IETF -100 / IETF 103) wherein ISOC Kolkata Chapter is working very closely with Government of India and initial interactions have been made with the IETF Administrative committee as well.

Community Internet Center for Indigenous Mayans

Andrew Ettinger, Guatemala

This project aims to provide Internet access and educational Internet training for indigenous Mayan children and families.

A Community Internet Center will be created, a space where the entire community is invited to use the Internet for free, with staff that has been trained to teach others how to use the systems. This will encourage people in the community who do not have access to a computer nor money to use the local Internet cafes to learn about Internet and how to use it.

Access to emerging tech and the new economy for indigenous Guatemalans is one way for them to escape the cycle of endemic poverty.

Non-visual access to the digital library (NoVA)

Project Leader: Woubakal Tesfaye, Ethiopia

The project entitled “Non-visual access to digital library (NoVA)” aims to fulfill the information needs of visually impaired students who are attending high school and higher educational institutions as well as visually impaired employees and job seekers.

The contents of this web-based library will be uploaded mainly by Together!. Users can also contribute. To facilitate accessibility for the users, the web-based digital library includes free accessible programs like both Amharic and English screen readers and screen magnifiers. And also supports different languages.

As Ethiopia is a melting pot of nations and nationalities the web-based library will allow the user to select their preferred language.

The proposed project will bridge the existing digital divide among sighted and visually impaired students and professionals by serving as a main information and reference domain for visually impaired to access information at their convenience, without restriction.

Categories
Community Projects Growing the Internet Human Rights

A visit to Children’s Future project in Cambodia

I was recently in Cambodia for three weeks and from my observations I saw many improvements to our computer course offerings. I saw that our teachers now have a greater level of confidence in teaching our students. This is largely due to ongoing training from our Learning Center Manager, from outside trainings from technology based organizations, and to the continuous development of a behavior management system based on positive reinforcement. In all that Children’s Future does, we include the opinions of the students as well as the staff; with the development of the behavior management system, students and staff were included and now the students understand what is expected of them in the classroom and teachers know how to respond if students have negative behavior. This has led to more effective teaching, less disruption during classes, more attentive students, and better test scores. I saw that teachers were using new techniques in their courses and that students were more engaged. In our basic computer courses, teachers have integrated online learning options in tandem with their regular course plan. I also saw that our English course teachers were using technology and internet options in their classrooms.


Children’s Future computer courses continue to develop and evolve. A new course, Adobe Premiere 302, was initiated at the beginning of this semester and has been implemented over the last few months. This course builds upon Adobe Premiere 301 and has taught the students to create and edit videos. Students first search for footage from the internet and create short videos. Then, students learn how to record sound, record footage so that they can create and edit their own videos. After monitoring and evaluating the courses last year, teachers learned that the students needed to develop their ability to work in teams. Thus, Adobe Premiere 302 includes a group project component where students are encouraged to produce and edit films in small groups.


Children’s Future is in the beginning stages of evaluating and revising its Child Protection Policy. One aspect of this is the use of social media at our Learning Center as well as in the community. Focus groups are being planned with students and staff to better understand how to teach and ensure safe internet use.Children’s Future Fun Season (summer session) will begin in August and teachers will prepare for the next year of courses and offerings to the students. We have arranged for teacher trainers to spend time with our teachers to further develop course options and strengthen the existing courses.

Categories
Growing the Internet

Chadian youth celebrates the internet for the first time

On 27 December 2014, the Chadian Youth celebrated the Internet during an event organized by ISOC-Chad in partnership with the collective WenakLabs and other associations working in the technology field of information and communication (ICT).

Held at the National Library of the capital N’Djamena, the event was attended by over 300 youngsters among whom where some neophytes/ beginners who received training on how to create mailboxes such as Gmail and Yahoo and other social network accounts including Facebook and Twitter. A number of themes were also presented and discussed on the occasion including:

  • The concept of free software and free Internet, which invites young people to migrate to free software (open source)
  • The use of social networks (E-reputation, good practice of social networks, etc.)
  • The OSM community – Chad and the importance of the free digital mapping
  • The concept of Jerry DIT or learning by experimentation
  • The challenges of local content on the Internet

The event also enabled the young to be connected to the Internet all day with the help of the telecommunications company Airtel Chad.

Related articles on the event.

Read the report from the ISOC Chapter in Chad (in French).

Categories
Growing the Internet Human Rights Women in Tech

Pakistan’s girls and the future of the local technology industry

The Internet has brought a whole new world of information and enablement for us,” said Shafiq Khalid, a 12-year-old student in Islamabad, Pakistan. “My mother is happy I’m sharing delicious recipes with her.”

Khalid is one of the hundreds of girls participating in a programme offered by the Pakistan Social Association (PSA) and supported by local Internet Society’s chapter members that gives young rural girls basic training in computer and Internet use. As chapter developer manager for the Internet Society, I had a chance to talk to some of the many girls impacted by this project.

“Women are nearly 53% of our population, and most of them are in villages,” explained Ammar Jaffri, president of PSA and Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter member. “If we train one girl, she will bring change in her entire family, especially when educating her own children.”

By training one girl, we can bring change in her entire family, especially when educating her own children. Pakistan Social Association

Since 2012, 15 community leaders in villages around Islamabad were prepared as multipliers and given the tools to educate 20 young girls each. Last April 25th, the final phase of the training was celebrated during ICT [Information and Communications Technology] for Girls day. Around 300 girls came together to receive their certification after successfully completing their exams. The hope is that these girls continue to invest in their education and eventually move into the ICT industry.

“It’s an amazing platform – to be able to receive so much information and knowledge!” said 14-year-old student Qurat-ul-Ain Abbasi. “We are quite new to the Internet world, but we would like to receive more training and courses so we can get the most out of it.”

Technology and the gender gap

Getting rural students, especially the girls, involved and comfortable with computers and the Internet early is crucial for increasing diversity in the ICT industry, as well as the greater online community.

Even more important, the initiative bravely and directly addresses gender inequality, one of the country’s most pressing social issues. “After the encouragement from the success of ICTs for Girls Day, we are planning to expand the training to 20,000 girls,” said Jaffri. “We intend to implement this project in all rural parts of Pakistan as a pilot. This would help to address gender inequality in Pakistan and set a trend for others to follow.”


Since 2012, 15 community leaders in villages around Islamabad were prepared as multipliers and given the tools to educate 20 young girls each. Pakistan Social Association

Watching these girls browsing around the Internet and making an effort to learn more with each click was a very special moment. The shining replies I got while seeking their interviews made me understand and value even further our commitment to keeping the Internet as open, free and accessible platform for human development.

Categories
Growing the Internet Human Rights Internet Governance To archive

Human Rights Day: 20 years of the Internet and Human Rights

The Internet’s relationship with human rights can tentatively be traced back to the very foundations of this global network, with the creation of the Internet Protocol suite (TCP/IP) some 40 years ago.

Although the Internet’s original architects did not intentionally conceive the Internet as a tool to advance human rights, the principles they built into its design embody the ideals of freedom of expression; one could almost read Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the freedom to share, receive and impart information and ideas across frontiers) as a definition of the Internet, even though it was written a quarter of a century before the invention of the Internet Protocol (see Markus Kummer’s Human Rights Council statement).

December 10th marks traditional celebrations for Human Rights Day. This year the focus will be on the 20th Anniversary of the creation of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, highlighting key human rights achievements of the past two decades.

This is also a great opportunity to look back at key Internet developments, in the Internet’s short history, that have impacted the exercise of fundamental rights in a networked world.

Open standards to limitless innovation

On the technological side, open Internet standards have provided the building blocks for the network’s generative nature, unlocking the limitless potential of decentralised innovation and creativity in new applications and services.

Building upon this foundation, new technologies and applications are continuously emerging that impact people’s basic freedoms, such as access to and sharing of information (e.g. emails, VoIP, instant chat, blogs), freedom of peaceful association (e.g. social networks, forums) or access to knowledge and cultural content (e.g. Wikipedia).

Expanding access

But these achievements would be rather meaningless if the Internet’s benefits were restricted to a sub-set of people. Fortunately, much progress has taken place in the past few years to expand Internet access around the world. The recently launched 2013 Web Index indicates that “the number of internet users worldwide has more than doubled since WSIS [World Summit on the Information Society], from 16 percent of the global population in 2005 to 39 percent in 2013″.

Taking the example of Africa, starting with the single SEACOM cable connecting West Africa in 1999, there are now 13 major cable connecting Sub-saharan and Mediterranean Africa. Most of them have gone online in the past three years. This has been a major development for Internet access in Africa, supported, among other elements, by the increasing use of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) to optimize traffic and foster more efficient and cheaper connections.

Challenges for the future

As great as the achievements are, many challenges remain. The greater part of the world still has no access to the Internet. According to A4AI’s “Affordability Index”, for those living on less than US$2/day, entry-level broadband costs an average of 40% of monthly income, and in many countries this figure exceeds 80% or 100%. As a consequence, billions cannot afford to connect to the network, therefore limiting the economic and social that access could promote. The Internet Society is working with partners around the globe to increase Internet infrastructure through its development work.

The story doesn’t end there, unfortunately. Openness can be double-edged: the same technology that is used to foster free expression can also be used to repress it. Suspension of Internet access, delaying traffic, bandwidth capping, filtering of websites and/or of their content, surveillance of online activities and invasion of privacy are but few of the measures which threaten both the Internet’s functionality and its ability to promote the exercise of fundamental rights online.

For example, the 2013 Web Index found that 94% of countries in its sample survey do not meet best practice standards for checks and balances on government interception of electronic communications. Adequately meeting users’ expectations of privacy on the Internet will remain a key challenge going forward.

Keep the Internet strong

The Internet is basically what we make of it: it reflects our society, with its bright and darker aspects. An Internet which is open and collaborative is the starting point to make it stronger as a platform for human rights.

It is our collective responsibility – users, governments, engineers, companies – to reduce the Internet’s downsides and to optimise it as a positive force in our economic activities, social interactions and political participation.

Share our infographic: join the call for an open, free and strong Internet!
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Community Projects Human Rights To archive

Building Futures Thailand Project

As the five Building Futures Thailand (BFT) volunteers arrived in Siray Bay, we were greeted by Mr. Kittiphum the Director of the Koh Sirae School. The majority of the children who attend this school rely on it for their daily needs such as food and clothing in addition to their education, so the school’s operational budget never seems to be enough to cover all the basic requirements. This week’s project will focus on a complete overhaul of the school’s library which will include a new computer lab that will be used by the 1000 students who attend the school.

Our day started by assessing the pre-ordered supplies and organizing boxes to ensure we had all the necessary materials to begin our work. By Friday of this week, the library will be painted, include all new furniture, two routers for a new WiFi network and 17 all-in-one HP workstations. The five volunteers that will be completing the project this week are from the United States and reside in Virginia, Nebraska, and California.

For more information on Build Furtures Thailand or to donate, please visit their website.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

After day two, the painting required across the roughly 1500 square foot room is almost complete and half of the new library furniture is now assembled which included bookshelves and tables. Each day as the team works the children watch through the windows as the transformation occurs right before their eyes. During the school’s daily breaks, many wander over to be near the action as they frequently check-in on our progress and stop in to smile and wave. Regardless of the language barrier, it’s obvious they want to help so tomorrow we have a few things planned for those who stop by.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Today’s focus was primarily on furniture as we assembled 50 office chairs, bookshelf cabinets and utility tables for the library with the help of some of the students. Most of the kids who attend the Koh Sirae School are middle school age; however, the facility supports children up to age sixteen. While we waited for additional paint to be delivered to finish the walls tomorrow, work also began on the room configuration to accommodate Thursday’s computer delivery and WiFi network installation. The excitement is beginning to build as the room is starting to take shape and will be completed by Friday.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

As our last full work day started on Thanksgiving, we still had a lot to do to ensure the project would be completed in time for the school party scheduled for the kids to see their new library on Friday morning. The HP all-in-on computer work stations were delivered around 11am and installed while blinds were hung around the room and paint trim was finished. Following the installation of the Fathead wall décor decals and magnet boards in the check-in area by the front door, a new chalk board decal was also affixed to the reading area which includes bean bag chairs for the kids to sit in while they read. The final touches were made, basic cleaning done and the furniture was reset before the pictures were snapped and high fives all around as this year’s project came to a close. What a great way to give thanks.