1st Summit on Community Networks in Africa (Nairobi, 22 Nov 2016)

Received by email via TIER mailing list. Registration is here. If you are attending, please report back here - this is an important issue to follow given recent discussions about the continuing challenge many of us face with lack of access to information and communication.

There are some really interesting links and resources mentioned below as well - very much worth exploring. Let us know what you find!

###Call for Participation: 1st Summit on Community Networks in Africa 22nd November 2016, 09h00 - 17h00 AfriCHI, Nairobi, Kenya


Connecting the next Billion is one of the central issues on the international Internet and Internet Governance agenda. At the Internet Society, we consider “Connecting the Next Billion” as a key issue, as it relates directly to our mission and vision. Despite the success of the mobile revolution in Africa, there are significant barriers to connectivity.

Community established networks also referred to as “community networks” (CN) are an emerging and sustainable solution to address the connectivity gaps that exist in urban and rural areas around the world. In Africa, where these gaps are more evident. A recent survey was able to identify 37 community networks initiatives in 12 African countries, of which 25 are considered active. [1]

To understand better how this phenomenon is evolving in the continent, the First Summit on Community Networks in Africa will be held on 22nd November 2016 in Nairobi Kenya within the AfriCHI conference. The Summit aims to bring together more than ten community network operators in Africa to engage in experience sharing on their challenges and opportunities. The objective of the summit is to promote increased collaboration between community network operators in the region and to provide an opportunity for them to engage with other stakeholders.

###Who Should Attend Community Network operators, Wireless Network Researchers, Policy Makers, Regulators and Regulatory Associations, Civil Society organisations and members of the public interested on the topic.

###Venue Auditorium in the University of Nairobi towers, University of Nairobi ###Draft Summary Agenda 8:30 Registration 9:00 - 09:15 Welcome and Introduction - Michuki Mwangi 9:15 - 10:15 Presentations - Reasons to start a Community Network and evolution since then 10:15 - 11:00 Presentations - Arrangements to keep social cohesion and foster inclusion 11:00 - 11:30 Coffee Break 11:30 - 12:00 Presentations - Arrangements to keep social cohesion and foster inclusion (continued) 12:00 - 13:00 Community Networks Presentations - Infrastructure and service provision 13:00 - 14:00 Lunch 14:00 - 14:45 Focused discussions - Part I Question: What are the barriers to establishing more Community Networks and scale the existing ones? 14:45 - 15:30 Focused discussions - Part II Question: What are the capacity building and training opportunities and needs? 15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break 16:00 - 16:45 Focused discussions Part III Question: What opportunities can be leveraged to make Community Networks more sustainable? 16:45 - 17:00 Wrap-up

###Registration Participation fees: 30 USD For registrations please proceed to https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventId=1864389 Select "Registration Type: Workshops/Courses/…" After entering your personal details please select “Community Networks in Africa” under the agenda items

###Useful Information Lunch will be provided French - English simultaneous translation will be available ###Logistics Around the Event ACM Dev, 18-20 November: http://acmdev.org AfriCHI, 21-25 November: http://africhi.net/ Entry visas for Kenya: http://evisa.go.ke/single-entry-visa.html Single Entry Visa. Issued for a single entry to persons whose nationalities require a visa to enter Kenya either for business, tourism or medical reasons. ###Examples Community Networks in Africa attending the Summit Connecting Eenhana, Fatsuam Foundation and Mesh Bukavu from: “(Re)Building Technology: Community Technology Field guide” Ensemble Pour La Difference and Fjord: “Bringing The Internet To Africa’s Forgotten Island” Tunapanda Net: http://www.tunapanda.org/ Zenzeleni Networks: http://zenzeleni.net BOSCO Uganda: http://boscouganda.com/our-approach/bosco-network/ Murambinda Works: http://www.machaworks.org/murumbinda.html Macha Works: http://www.machaworks.org Soweto Wireless User Group (SoWUG): http://sowug.org.za/ ###Examples of Other Community Networks in the world Internet Society Wireless for Communities in South Asia: http://www.internetsociety.org/what-we-do/where-we-work/asia/south-asia/wireless-communities Digital Empowerment Foundation: http://defindia.org Guifi: https://guifi.net Rhizomatica: https://rhizomatica.org ###Contact Carlos Rey-Moreno: carlos.reymoreno@gmail.com Michuki Mwangi: mwangi@isoc.org ###Notes [1] C. Rey-Moreno, M. Graaf, “Map of Community Networks in Africa”, 1st Report on the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity: “Community Connectivity: Building the Internet from Scratch”. Ed. FGV Rio Editions. December 2016. In press

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Thanks @ashleyvanwaes for inviting Michuki Mwangi and Carlos Rey-Moreno, the contacts for this event, to join the legal empowerment network and update us on outcomes from the 1st summit on community networks in Africa, which took place late last year. Here’s the reply from Michuki Mwangi. Look forward to more!

Thank you for the introductions to Namati and your interest on the community network summit.

Thus far, we are in the process of finalizing the Summit summary report, which will be in form of a blog piece and also link the various presentations that were made during the event. At the same time, Carlos is busy writing a more comprehensive report which will have more details from the summit. The report will also include additional information that we collected from face-to-face interviews held with the individual community network operators, after the summit.

We hope that when the two reports are ready, they will be of value to your members. In particular, we hope that they might find inspiration to establish community networks in their respective regions. From 2017, we shall be looking to support the establishment of community networks in Africa. We therefore hope that once the reports are ready, they will play a role in engaging with communities such as Namati. Then, we should be able to contribute to the discussions posted on your group since we shall have a guideline on actions that can help address the issues raised.

In the meantime, we are happy to keep the discussions going on and see if we have other areas of engagement. Specifically on issues of telecommunications policy on issues such as spectrum allocations for community networks. Carlos has been active on this issue in South Africa. We anticipate that the outcomes from South Africa will have a ripple effect in the rest of the continent. Therefore having policy and legal experts engaged at an early stage, will help advance the discourse in the days ahead. Carlos you want to mention something about this ?

And another reply from Carlos with some very interesting information from South Africa on the use of GSM in rural communities.

With regards to the work that Michuki Mwangi mentions, I recently presented to parliament the contents of the following Policy brief. It advocates to allow communities to use GSM spectrum allocated to mobile phone companies but not used in a given area.


The report from the parliamentary committee (which is due to be approved by parliament soon) is can be found in this link (PDF) and contains most of our points as Recommendations to the Minister. The way forward is to understand how to utilize the latter to making a reality that communities in South Africa (and Africa more generally) can provide themselves with their own GSM communications. Any support on this would be more than welcomed.