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S3 E5: #Tech4Rights: Access to the internet and internet governance in Africa

In conversation with Bulanda Nkhowani, Amina Idris and Koliwe Majama

 

The annual campaign spearheaded by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is #Tech4Rights: Rethinking a human rights-based approach to new technologies in Africa. The #Tech4Rights campaign focuses on the impact of new technologies on different aspects of human interaction and the impact of technology on human rights. This campaign has a series of activities that look into technology in various specific areas.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria through its  Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit, and Paradigm Initiative (PIN) entered into a partnership offering an academic course to 30 select participants of PIN’s programmes and the Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship (DRIMF). DRIMF is a four-month fellowship with two intakes from 1 March to 30 June and from 1 August to 30 November each year. PIN also presents a 9-month Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab from 1 March to 30 November every year. Through various learning methods, fellows are introduced to the international and regional digital rights ecosystem. The objectives of the fellowship are to expose participants to the digital rights landscape and enhance their knowledge and skills in digital rights in Africa.

In light of this partnership and the annual campaign of the Centre, this episode discusses access to the internet and internet governance in Africa. The speakers, Bulanda Nkhowani, Amina Idris and Koliwe Majama, share their insights on access to the internet and internet governance, drawing their experiences from Zambia and Nigeria. The discussion explores what meaningful access means, based on Part IV of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights resolution on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information on the internet, including conversations on regulatory and operational challenges of licencing community networks in Africa. Furthermore, the discussion explores solutions for bridging the gender digital divide at national level and how to address the growing trend of network disruptions, both nationally and regionally. The podcast concludes by giving recommendations to service providers and governments on how to ensure that citizens have access to critical information during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bulanda Tapiwa Nkhowani is a writer, researcher and public policy enthusiast with a focus on internet governance, digital rights and digital inclusion, and is actively involved in internet governance policy forums and discussions at all levels. She is a co-convenor of the Zambia Internet Governance Forum (Zambia IGF) and an alumna of the Africa School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG). Bulanda currently works with Paradigm Initiative as a Digital Rights and Inclusion Program Officer and regional lead for Southern Africa.

Amina Ibrahim Idris is an experienced officer in community development and capacity building with focus on connecting underserved youths with ICT enabled opportunities to improve their livelihood. Amina works with the Digital Inclusion team at Paradigm Initiative and she is the program assistance for the Northwest region.

Koliwe Majama is a Zimbabwean Media, Information, Communications and Technologies Consultant with over 15 years’ experience working in civil society lobby and advocacy. She has invested in networking and thought leadership on varying internet governance trends on a regional and global level, including gender and the internet, which she is passionate about. She currently works with the Association for Progressive Communications as a coordinator of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms Coalition (AfDec) and as an organiser of the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG).

This conversation was recorded on 15 June 2021.
Edited by Tatenda Musinahama

Music: Inner Peace by Mike Chino https://soundcloud.com/mike-chinoCreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/0nI6qJeqFcc