Session 1: Community Network Models & Best Practices: There are several community network models in practice across the world, and the Asia-Pacific is no different. This session will explore the different models and conditions under which community networks operate, along with the technology used. It will also highlight some best practices and learnings.
Session 2: Access during the pandemic: Saving Democracy, Citizenship & Education: Internet access has become vital – and an uncompromisable necessity – during the pandemic due to restrictions on movement and social distancing requirements. However, at the same time, some governments appear to be using this greater dependence on Internet-based applications and services as an opportunity to promote authoritarianism and control. This session will discuss the complexities – as well as the necessity – of open access for citizen rights and sustaining democracy.
Session 3: Policy & Regulation for Mass Adoption of Community Networks: Even though community networks have successfully been in practice as an alternative method to connect communities to the Internet, they have not become a viable alternative in many countries.
This session will look into what kinds of policy, regulatory, advocacy and design effort is required to facilitate greater adoption of community networks and help fast-track access for the unconnected in countries and regions all over the world.
Session 4: Community Networks as a Model to fight Misinformation & #Fakenews: Community networks can be thought of as ‘trusted networks’ in that the participants are all from the same community and would have an intrinsic element of community trust between them – just about every one knows every one else. This can potentially enable trust-based information sharing, and at the same time help avoid misinformation and fake news. This session will discuss how community networks can potentially be leveraged to counter the pandemic of misinformation and fake news.
Session 5: #Gender Sensitive Community Networking: Various studies and reports have shown that there is a significant gender divide in digital spaces, and many elements around the use of the Internet are male-dominated. This is sometimes exacerbated in rural areas. Community networks can provide an opportunity to bring about gender equity. This session will discuss the efforts that have been successful in providing gender equity through community networks and how that can be used to redress gender issues in the wider community.
Session 6: #Content, Context and Community for Community Networks: Community networks are designed to serve the community’s needs and are often built by the community themselves. The relevance of community networks is in the fact that they have the ability to far better contextualise local content, local content consumption and production through the involvement of the local community. This session is designed to highlight some of the best practices in how communities are using community networks to create localised content for their local communities and suited to their local context.
Session 7: Community #Radio & Broadcasting with Community Networks: Community radio networks excel in producing local content with local context. They are also usually developed, managed, and produced by the community, for the community. Community radio operators also know the best ways in which to broadcast content and reach out to the larger community. As such, they are well-placed to evolve into community network operators as they also have technical knowledge about radio transmission and radio mast design. This session is designed to explore how community radio operators can transform into community (Internet) network operators and provide greater value to their local communities.
Session 8: #Training & Cadre Development for Community Networks: As Internet access and provision becomes further localised with communities in remote areas getting connected, there is a need to develop local capacity for developing, managing, maintaining and sustaining the network. It is important to create local cadres that know local content, have the local context, and are able to play a part in locally developed community networks. This session will explore the ways in which this type of capacity building can be facilitated.
Session 9: #Partnerships & Collaborations for Community Networks: Community networks while considered to be affordable and participative in terms of local participation, also require the involvement of multiple stakeholders for success. These range from community organising to financial assistance and donor backing to technological assistance and so on. This session is designed to understand how different stakeholders can come together to make community networks successful and will look into ways to enhance collaborative efforts and partnership across different stakeholders.
Session 10: Connecting #Indigenous Communities: Generally speaking, tribal, aboriginal, and indigenous communities tend to live in rural and remote areas, away from industries and cities. More often than not, they are the last populations to be digitally connected. These communities are also culturally rich with their own linguistic and social practices, and norms. While they require digital connectivity and access to the Internet just like anyone in an urban area, it is important that community networks practice sensitivity and inclusion without violating and polluting the community’s social norms and practices. This session is designed to understand and discuss the ways in which community networks can better serve indigenous communities.