Building ‘demand-side’ capacity for internet deployment

8 Dec 2016 13:00h - 14:30h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 11th Internet Governance Forum]

Ms Erin Breitenbucher (co-organiser) said that the session will be discussing how to build capacity for local content creation. The purpose of the session was to address the phenomena that has been documented recently with some good data on how many people have access to the Internet but do not use it.

Ms Marcela Czarny,, Argentina, talked about how her NGO deals with children’s rights. They meet with children and discuss with them the things that relate to their interests, including children and technology (especially children security online), as well as the possibility of benefiting from other children on social sites and not only the risk associated with online attacks. They focus on digital culture, the idea that digital citizenship and digital literacy are keys to empowering children for life. They specifically work on the following:

  1. Digital citizenship, talking about the rights and responsibilities of children and teenagers in the digital environment, and being responsible citizens on the Internet.
  2. Acquiring tools and skills pertaining to the development of critical thinking and solving problems with technology.
  3. How children are responsible and have their own needs and rights as individuals.
  4. Teaching children how to associate with people of different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
  5. Working with parents and decision makers, experts who develop web content.

She identified the following recommendations and challenges to understanding children:

  1. Adults sometimes find it difficult to understand children’s needs and are always force to apply adult directives.
  2. Government is very important when it comes to children’s rights issues, since solving or understanding children requires gender perspective, more importantly, the inclusion of women.
  3. Access to content – boys have more access than girls

Jemena (full name inaudible) from AT&T in Latin America talked about some observations made on how to advance the use of ICTs in schools:

  1. Why regular people should call the Internet their own i.e. how the Internet could be part of their day to day activities.
  2. Discovering the tsunami of contents out there and the purpose of it.
  3. They have a programme for using ICTs for application purposes. People care about important issues and one of them is education, and digital technology should be used to teach.
  4. There is a challenge in bridging the digital gap with rural communities.
  5. Knowing children is a great way to promote interaction among them.
  6. Digital skills work when we combine them with traditional skills, and traditional teaching activities can be enhanced by ICTs.
  7. They listen to efforts as a component of interest to their activities.
  8. Having technology, quality content i.e. properly organised contents relevant to teachers for teaching.
  9. They also have a call-centre and WhatsApp groups, which makes them available to assist the teachers at any time.
  10. They believe in PPPs (public private partnerships) and mostly work with educational ministries, getting to know what they care about, the curricula provided to students, and this enables them to provide the relevant content.
  11. Technology for classroom content is permanently available for teachers to access, and opportunities are given to people to call the programme their own.

Ms Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia, shared her experiences and questioned why people are not online. She added that, many countries have very low Internet prices and have met the UN SDGs on broadband affordability, and most phone owners use smart phones. People go online to check market prices, educational content, health content, etc., but mostly to access social media. People do diverse things on social media (e.g. hair dressers and designers follow celebrities, to get styles for their customers. Social media uses have both positive impacts and negative.

Mr Stuart Forrest, owner of Triggerfish Animation Studios, talked about how to create professional content in other languages. He shared experiences with their success stories in Africa and other regions. Triggerfish is the largest animation studio in Africa, and has been around for 20 years. The company provide services for Sesame Street. They use local people like craft makers to produce images that are fresh and meet their needs. The script development could not compete with the processes at major studios, since they require billions of dollars, and so they tried to develop their own script department which started with Disney and led them to compete in the industry.

Ms Malenga Mulendema from Zambia, shared her story which started on the Internet, by watching stories and movies and trailers from the Internet, and subsequently came across Triggerfish through the process. She was inspired to make crazy and funny content for children, and her goal was how to tell an African story in the African way, to be enjoyed by everyone, not only Africans. She believes that collaboration with other content creators in other countries got her far. Moreover, she built her capacity by joining the Triggerfish startup, learned from the experience and got to work with Disney to make her work better.

Bobby (full name inaudible) a filmmaker and an educational content creator, talked about the dedication it takes to produce the kind of content people want. Engage, entertain, inform, and educate are the four drivers he believes are the order of communication.  He came to realise that there was an entire generation which he believes was making links themselves to some of the traditional values they were brought up with. He initiated the following five core values using children’s aesthetic, their language, and their technology: Gender equality, Security, Getting and sharing, Non-violence and Respect.

Mr Aldo Farah Orozco, Angel Ventures, talked about the struggles he has had with creative entrepreneurs trying to raise money. Investors approach them seeking advice on what projects (animation studio, etc.) to venture into. He explained that, venture capital is risky – the situation gets complicated when you are at more risk (and that is the problem or challenge for entrepreneurs). The options animation studios have is to seek for governments grants. He encouraged creators to raise their own resources.

by Ivy Hoetu, Internet Society Ghana