Internet Governance Shaping the Internet's Future

We Are on This Road Together

Twenty-six-year-old software engineer Akah Harvey N L has fun building things and sharing his knowledge with local communities in Cameroon. While an undergraduate, Akah took part in the Google Summer of Code, giving him the opportunity to develop an application for one of the largest software organizations in the world. He is now a code reviewer for the online learning platform, Udacity, and leads software development training at Seven Academy in Cameroon. Akah is a 25 under 25 awardee and a cofounder of Traveler, a road safety and emergency app.

I am a software engineer and it’s hard to talk about anything I do without talking about the Internet. Beyond using the Internet for communication – reducing the distance between people with a speed that’s yet unrivaled – lies the gamut of useful services that help me accomplish my day-to-day tasks, like running client-server applications, downloading tools for my work, synchronizing software projects, collaborating on global impactful software projects with people I have never met, mentoring people online who are learning how to code on MOOC platforms, and even traveling the world. The ways in which the Internet simplifies peoples’ lives is difficult to accurately quantify. From social media to education, science, and research, the Internet is now considered one of the most significant inventions of humanity after fire and the electric lamp.

The Internet establishes a level platform for everyone, irrespective of race, gender, or age to express their creativity in ways that were, not so long ago, difficult to imagine. It offers limitless opportunities. But it’s important going forward that we educate people, as skills become more technical and the future of work changes. I have had the privilege of working with people from the largest software foundations in the world and their wisdom and guidance were invaluable in shaping the way I approached learning technology. It made it so much easier for me to understand the world I live in and to be able to enjoy sharing that knowledge with literally anyone willing to learn.

Everyone should learn about technology. It opens one’s mind to a whole new set of possibilities and can unlock hidden potential beyond our wildest imaginations.

The first step is for people to gain consciousness of their environment. Engineers, manufacturers, and developers need to be conscious that they have a moral obligation to build tools that save, not hurt. The very foundation of the Internet is violated when we fail to implement basic user privacy rights. Privacy and security should be built in by default. And users need to be aware of the long-term effects of upcoming technologies and how they are expected to be prepared. Read the Terms & Conditions. Read the updated privacy policy messages they see at the bottom of their screen. Both parties have a role to play in achieving a better society online.

It all starts, however, with keeping the Internet free and as open as possible for the less privileged to afford. Cost and distribution of bandwidth in Africa are still the most limiting factors for Internet access.

When the Internet was shut down in the country, we were developing the roadside safety app, Traveler. It made us realize how badly we needed to include a failsafe in our system to ensure we were not crippled during such events. And it presented some real challenges; finding out what could be achieved using different types of connections, and the amount of information being processed in real time. It’s hard to conceive that the absence of basic Internet connectivity could still be an issue in the 21st century. But that is how it is in Africa. Hopefully we will see improvements, major stakeholders who are interested in the development of our continent.

We are all on this road together. Stop and ask for help on your journey. Learn as you go so that you can empower those coming after you.

Visit #CountMyVoice and help build an Internet that’s for everyone!

Building Trust Internet of Things (IoT) Privacy

Get IoT Smart: Homework for Many Indonesians

Today’s guest post is from Bhredipta Socarana, an Intellectual Property lawyer based in Indonesia and a Youth@IGF Fellow.

As one of the most populated countries, Indonesia has grown as one of the biggest markets for technology development. From the import of various over-the-top platforms to the implementation of Artificial Intelligence, technology has changed the Indonesian livelihood, including my own. This is also the case for Internet of Things (IoT).

As an emerging country, Indonesia admittedly has not been an advance player in responding to technology improvement. Despite the heavy invasion of technology-related products, many Indonesians have homework to do, especially for IoT. The business player needs to be aware of the responsibility of manufacturing and distributing IoT, while the public must also be aware of the various risks that they may be exposed to using IoT products.

Through the rapid development of technology and the intention of the Indonesian government to push the public to enter the “Industrial Revolution 4.0,” it will be mostly impossible to prevent penetration of IoT to our life. This leaves the public with the need to get smart with IoT.

Privacy and cybersecurity are among the issues revolving around IoT, and the need to have a safer and reliable IoT becomes more relevant as our private life becomes connected to the Internet.

The Indonesian public must realize that safety should start with themselves. Taking preventive measures as the initial step in using IoT can never go wrong. It starts when an IoT purchase is made.

As a lawyer specializing in intellectual property and information technology law practice, I am accustomed to the risks of using counterfeit products: from losing money, being attacked by ransomware, to not being able to claim after-sales warranty, just to name some. Furthermore, in terms of operation, terms and conditions related to IoT usage must also be understood. This could include giving the device and its apps permission to record, to track, to store, and other activities involving our privacy. Ultimately, users need to know their rights and have the relevant authority to ask help, if something goes wrong.

As such, a collaborative effort must be made in Indonesia. We must get smarter in choosing and operating IoT, and these efforts must be made by everyone who has a stake in its security: government, business, as well as the public.

The connected future is here. Imagine the possibilities. #GetIoTSmart

Photo of the Indonesia Jakarta Chapter during the Internet Society’s 25th anniversary celebration

Internet Governance

The Internet Is Knowledge and Knowledge Is Power

Adisa Bolutife is a 22-year-old open access advocate based in Lagos, Nigeria. A graduate of the University of Lagos with a degree in and electronics engineering, he is passionate about issues related to access, technology, inclusion, and Internet Governance. In 2016, Bolutife founded Open Switch Africa, where he leads a group of students, researchers, and academics to advocate for open access in research, education, and data in Nigeria. He is also a co-founder and director of Digital Grassroots, a global initiative that works to improve digital literacy in local communities. He is an Internet Society 2017 Youth@IGF fellow and an alumnus of the UNESCO Youth Leadership Workshop on Global Citizenship Education, Mozilla Open Leaders, and OpenCon 2017.

Like many people around the world, the Internet has contributed largely to the person I am today – building my knowledge base through access to a wealth of information. Without the Internet, a lot of things would not be as easy as they are right now.

As a recent graduate, I can relate to the fact that the Internet has been extremely helpful in aiding and improving student learning and research, as I can cite academic resources online and watch lectures from world class tutors from the comfort of my room. I am a strong advocate for open access in research, education, and data, and the Internet has been a powerful enabler in bridging knowledge gaps between privileged and underprivileged communities. The ability of the Internet to serve as a platform for disseminating information to all and sundry, regardless of race, gender, or nationality is what makes the Internet a global tool trusted by billions of people around the world.

In 2016, I founded Open Switch Africa, where I advocate for an accessible and inclusive Internet where information is not hindered by paywalls, regulation, or lack of connectivity.

Without connectivity we cannot have the vast interconnection that the Internet creates between billions of computers and devices, thereby forming an interconnection between people and information. Information brings knowledge, and knowledge, as they say, is power.

It has become increasingly clear that the Internet is at the core of almost all that we do. With automation and machine learning at the forefront of transforming the scope of future jobs, open education and open data driving the scope of education and research, and social media plus blogs disrupting the status quo in communication, very soon a much larger percentage of the world population will depend on the Internet for their livelihood. This is why it is extremely important, in preparation for the future, that we ensure all voices are heard when it comes to critical decisions regarding the future of the Internet.

The Internet is diversity by its very nature, and youth involvement is crucial to shaping the Internet of tomorrow. Young people are already shaping the online culture in so many ways. They are building their dream Internet. And yet when it comes to policy discussions, they are not at the table.

We need policies that protect us and prepare us for the future of the Internet, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Visit #CountMyVoice and help build an Internet that’s for everyone!

Internet Governance

Because Our Future Depends On It

Esther Mwema is a youth leader passionate about gender, digital literacy, and grassroots advocacy. She is founder of the SAFIGI Outreach Foundation and President of Digital Grassroots.

She is also a 2019 IFF Community Development fellow, a 2019 Engineers Without Borders Canada Kumvana fellow, a Mozilla Open Leader, an Internet Society 2017 Youth@IGF fellow, an open knowledge advocate, and a champion for capacity building of youth and girls.

Mwema graduated summa cum laude in multimedia journalism, and is a contributor on and  She is an emerging African writer, working on her debut fantasy novel and does photography in her free time.

Born in 1994, about the same time Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium and a commercialized Internet started to take form, the Internet has inextricably shaped my life and career.

At 16 years old, I got my first job at an Internet café. I had taught myself to type, and that was all I needed to teach people that they couldn’t just guess a password if they had not already set up an email account. Many young people in developing nations are still grappling to learn the computer (it’s far worse for adults). This fact, however, has not stalled a social media boom. There’s a robust consumer market, but the consumers aren’t reflected in the faces of those making decisions for them in shaping the future of the Internet.

At 17 years old, after living abroad alone as a young girl, I founded the SAFIGI Outreach Foundation (Safety First for Girls) in an effort to create a world where girls are empowered, equipped, and fulfilled for the benefit of the entire world. UN Online Volunteers allowed me to collaborate with over 250 volunteers in 50 countries to use Safety Education, Research, and Advocacy in order to respond to core issues affecting safety for girls across the globe.

At 23 years old, I was named an Internet Society 2017 Youth@IGF Programme fellow, and received funding to attend my inaugural Internet Governance Forum (IGF) at the United Nations Office at Geneva in Switzerland. What would become a harrowing journey across borders without a passport, this was my first glance at the wires behind the glossy and bright screen called the Internet and the birthplace of my brainchild, Digital Grassroots.

Shape Your Digital Future! could not have been a more fitting theme for the 2017 IGF. It inspired me to create Digital Grassroots in response to what I see as a gaping digital divide. Despite being major stakeholders of the Internet, young people from marginalized communities are underrepresented in major policy developments and implementation processes that shape our digital future. Events like the IGF can often be taken for granted, and I believe it sets a dangerous precedent for the global IGF to be circulating throughout Europe, when digital rights abuses like Internet shutdowns, social media tax, and threats to journalistic freedom of speech happen predominantly outside the region. While the IGF is mainly for dialogue, for persons who live under administrations that believe “governance” in Internet Governance means government, such dialogue could make a world of difference.

Our team of 2017 Youth@IGF fellows, all under 25 years old and living in 11 different nations across the globe, are passionate about the core values of the Internet. Together we are striving towards ensuring openness, security, privacy, web literacy, and decentralization of the Internet. Starting at the grassroots level, Digital Grassroots created an Internet literacy course to address the existing lack of awareness of basic Internet literacy knowledge in local communities in the developing world. Our Cohort 1 Outcome Report highlights the impact we’ve had. After three cohorts, the final one being in French, we have released a Communiqué on Youth Resolutions in Internet Governance. Mozilla Open Leaders gave our team the tools we needed to work and lead Open, helping us to empower and collaborate within inclusive communities. In 2018, we trained at least 300 young people in digital literacy and mentored over 100 in youth participation in Internet Governance.

Now at 24 years old, I recognize that representation matters if we want to see transformative change online and off. And this is why Digital Grassroots is so important. If we do not create these spaces for ourselves to participate and to be heard, no one will.

Young people seem to have to do more to get a seat at the table, especially young people from underrepresented regions. For most of our team it has meant sleepless nights, working long hours, and sacrificing our own resources to create a relatable Internet literacy course, build a Digital Rights Monopoly game, mentor youth in Internet Governance, travel to meetings, and organize youth IGFs and national IGFs. Digital Grassroots has also recently raised a petition asking local and international Internet Governance bodies to include youth at the table and we invite everyone to sign it.

It’s our future

The journey may start at the IGF but it does not end there. In 2019, I will be curating the Internet Freedom Festival (IFF) as the Next Net IFF Community Development fellow. Next Net focuses on the future of the Internet, opportunities, and risks. The Internet we want.

The Web may not have been invented for a person like me, who did not start out life as a digital native regardless of the era. Policymakers may brush someone like me aside because I don’t fit the market group and seem to have little influence. This is an oversight.

Youth have the power and skill to reinvent and shape an open and healthy Internet, if given the opportunity.

Regardless of attitudes towards young people, girls, and the underrepresented when it comes to participating in Internet issues, it will remain that the Internet is on our side; a neutral platform that embraces all equally.

We are inventing the Internet we want because our future depends on it.

 We need your help! Are you a young person who wants to be a part of the making the Internet for everyone? Here’s where you can get started.

Internet Governance

We Cannot Shape the Internet’s Future Without the Voices of Youth

After almost a decade, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) remains a cornerstone of international Internet and local governance with participation from over 140 countries. The approach of the IGF is simple: anyone who has a stake in the future of the Internet can go and be heard. It was founded and operates on the principles of being bottom-up, transparent, and inclusive.

At the Internet Society, we want to empower youth as a key force in reforming decision making approaches to deliver sound Internet policies that put people’s interests at the center. With the goal of having Youth Voices heard, together we must demand world leaders to break down the barriers that shut their voices out. With this in mind, and together with our partners, we have brought more than 200 youth to IGF 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, under the Youth@IGF program. This is part of our commitment to ensure that the next generation of Internet leaders are primed to advance an open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet for everyone.

Some of the 50 Youth@IGF Fellows who attended this year’s IGF in Paris wanted to share with us their impressions of the Youth@IGF Program and the IGF.

Marko Paloski from Macedonia, founder & coordinator of the Youth IGF MKD and active member of SEEDIG (South Eastern Europe Dialog on Internet Governance), summarizes his experience as Youth@IGF Fellow as follows:

“I was for the first time on Internet Governance Forum (IGF) at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. I was there as part of Youth@IGF Fellows program from Internet Society. The experience is invaluable. First of all, the event is huge it has over 100+ sessions on every Internet Governance topic. What I liked the most was that in every session you could ask questions or give your opinion on the topics, with all the people there from all around the world. You could also speak open and get advice from professionals that work in Governments, Private Sector, Civil Societies, Academia, etc.

Also, I had the pleasure to meet Internet Society president & CEO Andrew Sullivan on the Collaborative Leadership Exchange on Day 0, where we had the opportunity to share our projects and experience in our topics. Andrew took part with us, like he was part of the Youth@IGF Fellows group. We had presentations and meetings with representatives from the Program’s Sponsors, Microsoft and Google that work in this domain, and they listened to us about what obstacles we are facing and how can they help us accomplish our projects goals for better healthy and open Internet. I met a lot of people and with some of them we are still in connection on weekly basis whenever we are working on projects, initiatives or discussing the situations in our societies.
I like to thank the Internet Society that allowed me to take part in the program and have the pleasure to participate on the IGF event. Also, big thanks to our mentors Sheba Mohammid and Tracy Hackshaw for the experience that they gave to us, and Alejandra Prieto for all the coordination and help during the IGF meeting.”

Harsh Ghildiyal is a Teach for India fellow who is teaching at an under-resourced school in Mumbai and helping communities the students come from solve problems. Harsh, whose interests lie in policy and technology, and owing to those interests, over the past couple of years, repeatedly chanced upon the term ‘Internet governance’ until he applied for the Youth@IGF Program. In his own words:

“I knew I would love to play a part in shaping the future of the Internet. However, I couldn’t find a way to do so. Soon enough, though, opportunity knocked. Through Internet Society Youth@IGF program, I entered the intimidating realm of Internet governance with relative ease, and I left Paris with broadened horizons – a more informed and motivated individual. Through the Collaborative Leadership Exchange, the Internet Governance Forum, and other informal interactions, I was able to learn, grow, and most importantly, establish relationships that are helping me collaborate and play a role in shaping the future of the Internet like I always wanted to.”

Sebastian Hoe Wee Kiat from Singapore University of Social Sciences, who builds and strengthens community networks to create a digitally inclusive society to bridge the digital divide, shared with us his impression of the Youth@IGF Program:

“Coming from a low-income family background, I am grateful for the 2018 Youth@IGF Fellowship to contribute to the global conversation on Internet Governance in Paris. As an Asia-Pacific youth, I contributed my voice to the conversation as an invited speaker panelist in the UNESCO workshop The Internet and Jobs: Preparing Gen YZ for future of work. My key takeaways are: we need to champion for a multi-stakeholder approach, allowing more youths and community stakeholders to contribute to the IGF global conversation. My experience as Youth@IGF Fellows allows me to further contribute my work in creating stronger community networks for action. Moving forward, I plan to collaborate with community partners, create resources for digital inclusion projects and champion them by speaking in schools and various local and regional events on topics that are important to our society and which I am deeply passionate on: Mental Health & Technology, Community Networks, and Digital Inclusion.”

Gabriel Karsan, a graduate Intern at the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC), reflected:

“I return home as an optimist with a fundamental base of knowledge and resources from the people and sessions attended as a proud 2018 Youth@IGF Fellow, as of now my dream for an egalitarian Internet for all is closer as the path is set. Currently, we are working with our Group Project DreamInternerVoices, collectively pushing for a safer equal internet, breaking the digital divide by sharing our voices through a touch of diversity and niche-based rhetoric.”

Juliana Novaes, Head of the Projects Comission of the Youth Observatory, shared her impression of the IGF:

“Some years ago, when I thought of the expression “policy-making”, I always imagined old men wearing fancy suits and having difficult conversations in a big company or congress. Not exactly a welcoming place for a young Latin American woman. However, my perceptions of the term started to change when I first heard of the IETF meetings and the decentralized processes in which protocols and technical decisions were made. It was curious to me how it functioned so well without a centralized authority. Later on, I became aware of a United Nations Forum about Internet Governance, and it seemed so strange to me how it was possible for this space to be open for everyone who wished to participate, with no governments retaining all the influence. It wasn’t only until my first IGF, though, that I really saw what policy making really was and how openness, transparency and decentralization are basic principles to be followed by any initiative that calls itself multistakeholder. I’m young, and for this reason there will be many doors closed to me in terms of policy making, but having the opportunity to attend the IGF and to participate in a program such as Youth@IGF gave me strength to fight for these doors to be opened for us. We are young, but we have things to say and we want these things to be heard.”

All these testimonials show us the importance of having a diversity of voices, including Youth, in Internet Governance world. We cannot shape the Internet’s future without Youth’s voiceslet’s open the doors and let them in! Youth are a vital force to get an open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet for everyone.

Are you a passionate young person who thinks you should have a role in shaping the Internet? Learn what you can do at #CountMyVoice!

Internet Governance

The Internet Society and Global Scribes Work Together to Amplify Young Voices

On International Youth Day, the Internet Society and Global Scribes partnered to connect youth around the world to let their voices be heard, allowing them to become empowered and engaged global citizens, striving toward a more united and sustainable digital future.

As local and international actors innovate to solve the most pressing issues that we face in the world today, young people are often left out of the equation with little or no participation in important discussions and decision-making processes.

Youth across the world are often overlooked as a potential resource to solving global challenges, such as climate change, migration, health, and unemployment, despite being directly impacted by these issues and having opinions on how to solve them.

This also happens in the Internet ecosystem, where young people often do not have a place at the table when it comes to decisions that shape the Internet’s future.

While youth are recognized as “the future generation” and perceived as key to a more sustainable tomorrow, they are seldom given adequate platforms to let their voices be heard or allow them to contribute to their societies in a meaningful way, in their own right as youth.

Young people are often deprived of the opportunity to serve as catalysts for a more united and sustainable world today, and not merely as potential change agents and future decision-makers once they become adults.

There is a need to acknowledge the potential of youth and provide an enabling environment for them to not only survive, but thrive in society today – and as the leaders of tomorrow.

Global Scribes fosters such an environment of creative expression, innovation, and cross-cultural connections, encouraging youth to share and explore their passions and talents, acquire crucial 21st century skills, and turn aspirations into reality through collaboration with peers from around the globe.

The Internet Society also contributes to building this environment by constantly celebrating and encouraging youth around the world who are taking action and using the Internet as a force for good in society.

Through this partnership, we aim to connect youth around the world and let their voices be heard, allowing them to become empowered and engaged global citizens, striving toward a more united and sustainable digital future.

Together, we ask young people around the world to raise their voice and show the world the remarkable impact they can bring about as young global citizens using the Internet for positive impact. Your voices and actions count.

“We’re building our Global Scribes platform on the Internet to connect youth around the world. Thanks to this platform, we share our dreams and goodwill for a better future. We care about the world and work to raise awareness about important issues. An open and globally-connected Internet is one of our aspirations for the future. By telling our personal stories with the Internet Society about what we do and how we are making a positive change thanks to the Internet, we hope that more people will hear our stories & join us in shaping a better future”

– Emirhan Şimşek, Age 16, Turkey

Are you a passionate young person who thinks you should have a role in shaping the Internet? Learn what you can do at #CountMyVoice and then join Youth SIG!

Young people need a space where they can have a conversation about what they want the Internet to look like. Join Global Scribes!

Photo: Scribers Irfan Kalender (Age 17, Turkey) and Fares Dehbi (Age 18, Morocco/Qatar) at TEDx Waltham 2018 with Global Scribes: Youth Uniting Nations

Internet Governance

Count My Voice: Demanding an Internet That Benefits Everyone

The Internet Society has a vision that the Internet must be open, global, and secure for the good of all people. But to get there, the world must demand change in how decisions that shape the Internet’s future are made. Decisions being made behind closed doors.

We’re asking young people around the world – smart passionate people who are spearheading online diversity initiatives, using tech for social development, or working to make the Internet more inclusive – to raise their voice and let policy and decision-makers know that when it comes to the policies that shape the Internet their voice counts.

The digital future impacts us all. Open the doors and listen to the diverse voices of people both online and off. Let’s build an Internet that’s for everyone.

Mary Helda Akongo is one of those voices. A recent graduate of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, she believes technology has the power to positively influence the social, political, and economic development of women in Africa. Founder of Roaring Doves, an online and offline peer support community for victims and survivors of gender-based violence, she is also the operations and programs manager for Zimba Women, a Ugandan organization that finds innovative technological solutions to create sustainable futures for African women, as well as an innovation research intern at Katerva, where she works with young people around the world as they use technology to drive social and environmental impact in their communities. In 2017, Mary Helda was awarded the 25 under 25 award by the Internet Society for her exceptional work with Zimba Women, which is using the Internet to create a positive impact on the lives of women in Sub-Saharan Africa.

My life revolves around the Internet. It is something that astonishes me every day. It is that place where I can socialize, be entertained, work, create, share, and get access to information. It opens new doors for my friends, family, and me every day. I would probably be jobless if it wasn’t for the Internet.

I work for an organization called Zimba Women. I stumbled upon their website as I was desperately looking for a job. I say desperately because I had been looking since I completed my Bachelor’s degree at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. But I didn’t want just any job—I wanted to do something that mattered. I sent Zimba Women an email expressing my interest in a volunteering position, and that’s how my journey began.

To me, one of the Internet’s greatest purposes is the role it plays in social and economic development.

The Internet is an essential tool to accelerate business innovations. It provides the much-needed capacity, skills, knowledge, and information for small businesses run by young people to be more productive and competitive. Instead of trying to bring their businesses to the world, the Internet brings a global market to them through a simple click.

The Internet also fosters social change and provides a platform where marginalized groups like women can fight for their rights through sparking conversations that have been ignored for a very long time, like the #MeToo movement. Through Zimba Women, we work with more than 5,000 women in East Africa providing business skills, knowledge, and online mentorship. Our objective is to decrease the digital gender gap so that women can have a better, and fair, opportunity to participate in the development of their communities.

The Internet is an indispensable tool that provides a way for women to access the wider world –a world full of networks, opportunities, communities, health and education information, financial advice, and business skills training. It’s a means for women to seek help when and where they need it, helping to redress gender inequity and foster empowerment. My teammates and I are currently focused on expanding our reach to more women outside East Africa to provide tools and technology platforms, business training, mentorship, access to resources and knowledge and networks to improve the livelihoods for women and girls in underserved communities in Africa.

I recently started working online for Katerva, a U.S. organization that finds, supports and accelerates sustainable innovations from around the world. We work and collaborate from different parts of the world. This couldn’t have been possible without the Internet. It has also simplified my work with Zimba Women and Roaring Doves, an online and offline peer support community for victims and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) who come together to create awareness about GBV, share their stories, and support each other.

Most of what I do (digital marketing, advocacy, research, writing, training, etc.) is predominantly through using digital platforms. It makes my life so much easier.

When I imagine the digital future, I see a better world. A world where millions of young people, especially from the African continent, can increasingly use the Internet to shape their futures and those of their communities by creating social, political, and economic change. The digital economy and emerging technologies, such as big data and e-commerce, present immense opportunities for young people to have and create jobs. The earning potential is limitless.

But are young people being heard when it comes to shaping the future of the Internet? The Internet is supposed to be for everyone.

More than 64% of people in Africa don’t have Internet access. Barriers like affordability of devices and data, Internet shutdowns, Internet balkanization, digital illiteracy, and double taxations have to be addressed. Finding ways to overcome these barriers is going to take everyone. This is why I believe we need to adopt the multistakeholder approach of Internet Governance where all stakeholders, private and public – and youth, have to be involved in making decisions that are related to the Internet.

We must collaborate. We must listen. We must work together to shape a digital future that will positively benefit everyone. And that’s what I want policy and decision makers to know – young people need to be at the table when decisions are being made. We have to be included in the decision-making processes because these decisions directly affect our lives. It’s only fair that we have a say in our futures. Our voice counts.

Visit #CountMyVoice and help build an Internet that’s for everyone!


Image ©Roopa Gogineni / Panos Pictures