Help Five Projects Connect the World

At Bilkent University in Ankara, students sit at desks littered with bookbags and bottles of water. It looks like a typical classroom, except for the makeup of the students – school-age girls – and when the instructor asks a question, the room comes alive. “Who wants to code again after today?”

The hands shoot up.

The students are participating in Coding Sisters, a program that teaches coding to girls. Soon they are grinning as they raise their certificates of completion into the air. They yell in unison, “Hello world!”

The project was funded by the Internet Society’s Digital schools!” Chapterthon 2017, in partnership with Wikimedia Foundation. From October to November 2017, 30 projects from around the world came together to bring educational opportunities to children, especially girls. Chapterthon has been nominated for a series of prizes to be given out at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), an annual United Nations-sponsored summit focused on the role information and communication plays in our world. TheWSIS Prizes recognize individuals and organizations that advance the Sustainable Development Goals: 17 global goals dedicated to building a better world by 2030.

Four other innovative, Internet Society-funded projects have been nominated: Zenzeleni Networks in rural South Africa, where one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the country became a telecom operator; Colegio Nacional de Lambaré, where the Paraguay Chapter created a computer lab and access to fixed broadband at an economically disadvantaged school; e-Daara of Thieyetou, where the Senegal Chapter created a digital hub at a school in the remote village of Thieyetou, bringing Internet and other digital resources to teachers, students, and their families; and the Beyond the Net Programme, which funds projects at the local level to cover everything from education to policy-making, teaching technical skills to at-risk young people, and helping local engineers deploy leading technology.

These nominees show that there are many paths to closing the digital divide, but they all share common traits: Vision. Creativity. Innovation.

The Internet is for everybody, but we must think differently if we are going to connect the next billion. Today it’s helping girls to complete a coding course. Tomorrow those girls could bring digital innovation to their own communities.

You can help close the digital divide! Learn more about Beyond the Net grants and how you can help shape tomorrow.

And don’t forget to vote for these innovative projects! The project winners will be announced during WSIS Prizes 2018 Ceremony at the WSIS Forum 2018 in Geneva, 19-23 March 2018.

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Help Make the Internet a Safer Place for Everyone

Ash Ball, a young person in Australia, is working to end cyberbullying as part of the Project Rockit team. Ball, one of the Internet Society’s  25 Under 25 awardees, says he believes that it’s important to empower the younger generation to step in when they see someone being harassed online.

That message is especially important today, which is Safer Internet Day, a call to action to make the Internet safer for everyone.

Linda Patiño is another 25 Under 25 awardee leading the charge. “I was a victim of online harassment, receiving kidnapping and rape threats,” she says. Patiño’s work with the Colombia-based organization Colnodo uses ICTs to promote Internet safety and gender equality. “A tool can be so harmful. I enter this world [of activism] so other girls know they are not alone, that we are creating things to help them get through this. Even though these tools have serious impacts, we are doing good change” in the world.

We all have the power to help make the Internet a more welcoming and accessible place, but Ash Ball and Linda Patiño show that it’s a community effort to do so. No one person can do everything, but we can all do something.

You can join the people who are already making a difference. You can advocate for diversity and inclusiveness so that everyone – especially the most vulnerable – has a voice in how the Internet is run, you can support innovative ways for the next billion to come online, and you can make the Internet more secure by adopting good MANRS and increasing IoT security.

You can become an everyday hero and work towards solutions to make the Internet a safer place for everyone. Learn how you can shape tomorrow!

See what a safer Internet means to other young people around the world!

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Internet Society

It’s Time for a Collaborative G20 Digital Agenda

The G20 member states account for 85 percent of the global economy and are home to half of the world’s Internet users. From artificial intelligence to personal data protections, our physical world is being shaped by our digital world. As current president of the G20, Argentina has put a range of digital challenges on the table. But to tackle these, we need credible commitments and a long-term roadmap.

As three leading organisations from the Internet community, we welcome that Argentina continued the G20 digital work begun by Germany in 2017. Last year, Germany and the other G20 members outlined their aspirations for the development of our digital societies. And the Argentine presidency has identified five priority areas — digital inclusion, future job skills, digital government, SMEs and entrepreneurship, and Industry 4.0 — all dependent on a strong digital economy and society. Now is the year to turn these aspirations into actions.

We call on Argentina to build on this consensus with a dedicated G20 digital agenda. This roadmap must include milestones to the next G20 presidency, to be held by Japan. Priority commitments should include:

Thoughtful and proactive digital policies are needed to reap social and economic benefits for all, the G20 and beyond. A G20 digital agenda can help us to address the challenges facing the health of the Internet and future of the web and establish trust in the development of our digital lives.

The new challenges we face are complicated, but can be tackled through collaboration among all stakeholders to find the right solutions. Argentina can lead this effort through the G20. It must create a convening space, invite participation and ensure transparency and trust — from sharing documents to providing opportunities for inputs from across the spectrum.

The G20 member states are in a position to set the parameters for a global digital agenda that puts the individual first and makes the most of technology for society. We hope they will live up to this responsibility.

This is a joint blog post by the Internet Society, Mozilla and the World Wide Web Foundation.

Cathleen Berger, Global Engagement Lead, Mozilla
Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Senior Director, Global Internet Policy, Internet Society
Craig Fagan, Policy Director, Web Foundation

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Internet Society

5 Months After the Hurricanes, the World Must Do More to Reconnect the Caribbean

2017 was one of the most active hurricane seasons in the Caribbean on record. Five months after the major storms Irma and Marie devastated parts of the Caribbean, there are still far too many people without access to the Internet and everything it offers. In our view, this is unacceptable. Today we published a snapshot of the current situation from the region in a new document, Report from the Field: Post-Hurricane Connectivity in the Caribbean.

The international response to this natural disaster has been mixed at best, and while several entities reached out to the region, a number of challenges impeded smooth and rapid assistance, such as lack of coordination. In some instances, the response from authorities has been either slow or insufficient, or both. The current reality that parts of the Caribbean are still without Internet connectivity this long after the hurricanes wrought their damage is a clear indication that the world’s response to this disaster has fallen short. The robustness of the telecommunications’ infrastructures in certain countries, which form the basis for Internet services, can also be questioned.

The world has the resources to do more.

We ask governments, businesses, educational institutions, NGOs and others, both in the region and around the world, to join together with renewed determination and commitment to reconnect the Caribbean – and to build a more resilient infrastructure that will help the region recover more quickly from the next round of hurricanes.

We believe that the reaction from governments should not be limited by political differences or formal barriers. People’s lives, pains and opportunities demand immediate action and all actors must work together to ensure that the response in future cases is timely and appropriate. It is simply unacceptable that so many people are still without both Internet access and electricity. It’s time to refocus and reaffirm our collective commitment to the Caribbean region.

The Internet Society will lead by example by doing the following:

  1. Partnering with entities that are looking how to enhance telecommunications and internet infrastructure resiliency. As part of this the Internet Society has been accepted as a member of the Commission for Caribbean Network Resilience charted by the CTU. Based on my telecom and Internet policy expertise, I will be joining as our representative.
  2. Partnering with Caribbean organizations focused on telecom infrastructure. In particular we look forward to working with CANTO’s Natural Disaster Committee.
  3. Developing a Disaster Relief Fund as part of our Beyond The Net funding program. This new program will enable Internet Society Chapters in affected regions after a natural disaster to apply for funds for projects that restore Internet connectivity. We will be announcing more information during the weeks ahead.
  4. Engaging our community in this effort. We will ask our Chapters, Organizational Members and individual members to join with us to make this a reality.

I will be attending the CANTO Annual General Meeting next week (4-6 February 2018) in Trinidad & Tobago where I look forward to discussing these ideas with many attendees.

At the Internet Society, we believe that the economic, social, education and communication opportunities made possible by the Internet are critical to our society today. We believe that Internet outages, either by natural disasters or government shutdowns, harm the people in the region and connectivity must be restored as soon as possible. Beyond that, Internet infrastructure must be made as resilient as possible to stand up as much as possible to these kinds of events.

We look forward to working with our members and partners to bring about a reconnected and more resilient Caribbean region. We are planning several activities over the next few months and will be posting updates and more information to this page:

https://www.internetsociety.org/reconnect-the-caribbean/

Please do share our new report and do all you can to help #ReconnectTheCaribbean.


Image credit:  © Commonwealth Secretariat on Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0

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Internet Society

Slates of candidates announced for 2018 Internet Society Board of Trustees elections

The Internet Society Nominations Committee has announced the candidate slates for Chapter and Organization Member elections for the Board of Trustees. Find out who the candidates are.

 

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