Lagos, April 24, 2019 Some panelists at the Digital Rights Inclusive Forum (DRIF) on Wednesday called for partnership with government, civil and legal societies to create value for community Internet network.
The panelists, at the seventh edition of the DRIF, said that such partnership would improve Internet accessibility and connectivity in rural communities.
According to them, most of the communities in Africa do not have access to Internet infrastructure, thereby excluding them digitally and to achieve inclusiveness, there was need for partnership.
”A big proportion of the African population either does not have access to the Internet or cannot afford to use it,’’ the panelists said.
Peace Amuge, from Women of Uganda Network, said that the more the partnership, the more viable the community network.
Amuge said that community network would strive in diversity when different groups come together to provide the needed infrastructure for accessible Internet facilities.
She said that individuals could also partner by providing smart phones which some people in the rural areas do not have.
Amuge, representing Bosco Uganda on the panel, said that phones would help the rural people use the Internet with training and provision of the necessary tools.
According to her, rural people are willing to learn to use the tools such as phones and they gradually become digitally included through training.
John Dada, Chairman, Fantsuam Foundation, said groups that want to be involved in providing communities with Internet network should identify those in diaspora with rural areas.
Dada said that when they were identified, they should be encouraged to invest to get people digitally included as most of them were willing to invest in rural places.
He said that as such, it would help to provide the necessary tools to get individuals digitally included.
According to him, students who were digitally excluded and need to write examination through computer based test should be given pre examination training to fight the phobia.
”There is need for partnership to get people who are digitally excluded to be included. It is partnership that will get community network to be of value and viable.
”Access to community network has been a challenge and with the right partnership, it will be addressed,’’ Dada said.
Rebecca Ryakitimbo, Google Policy Fellow, East Africa, Paradigm Initiative, said that there were better ways of providing opportunities.
Ryakitimbo said schools that had acted as community places where network could be provided because they had been provided with computers and network would serve the community.
She said that women were also trained to serve as champions leveraging on the computer and network in schools to assist the people.
According to her, the training of women is some of the ways to make the Internet a reality to the people.
The News agency of Nigeria reports that the seventh edition of the DRIF which holds between April 23 and April 25, hosted over 300 delegates from 32 African countries and six outside the continent.