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[Interview] Charity Gamboa-Embley - IGF Remote Participation Working Group

Charity Gamboa-Embley (IGCBP 2007) is from the Philippines and as a member of the IGF Remote Participation Working group she agreed to give us an interview.

DIPLO Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme - IGCBP: Charity, you have been involved in a project that is getting a lot of attention over the recent years - remote participation for the IGF. Can you explain to us more about what is this initiative? What is the benefit that the group is offering to the international community?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: The Remote Participation Working Group (RPWG) works with the IGF Secretariat in providing options to participate at the IGF, especially for those who cannot attend the meeting personally. The RPWG also co-organizes workshops with DiploFoundation on remote participation. Within the months leading to the IGF Meeting, the RPWG works with registered hubs in training them on the RP platform, particularly moderators who are essential in relaying remote participants' messages to the session panelists.

DIPLO IGCBP: Interesting! How does that dynamic work?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: The RPWG offers suggestions to the IGF Secretariat in order to gain a meaningful RP experience. These suggestions are compiled in a report sent to the IGF Secretariat prior to the open consultations that will start the preparations for the upcoming IGF meeting for that year.

Because we, the RPWG, want the international community to experience Remote Participation at its best, we aim to work all the time for the improvement of RP. These improvements will greatly benefit the international community in terms of improving the quality of the webcast.

DIPLO IGCBP: Can you give us some specific example about the quality you are talking about?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: For example, in order to avoid the switching of the webcast window and the Webex window (Webex was used as a platform for the IGF Meeting in Sharm), the RPWG suggested that the webcast transmission should be embedded in platform to be chosen by the IGF Secretariat and host country. Furthermore, remote participants can have smooth relay of their comments by the training of moderators present in the sessions so it can be relayed to the workshop moderator.

The RPWG is here to work with the IGF Secretariat and will continue to do so in the coming IGF Meetings so we can greatly assist remote participants to be actively involved in the IGF process.

DIPLO IGCBP: Charity, can you tell us more about you and how you got involved in Internet governance? What do you think are some of the most important themes being discussed?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: I have been a Computer instructor in the Philippines for ten years and have been heavily involved in the supervision and establishment of Internet safety mechanisms in the educational institutions I have worked with.

Last 2007, I participated in a capacity building programme on Internet Governance by DiploFoundation. I was new to the IG vision but the capacity building programme was a great eye opener for me. I never realized that I have been working with issues surrounding IG all along.

DIPLO IGCBP: What happened after your participation in the IGCBP?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: Then I became a tutor for the Asia group on the IGCBP and then I became involved with ISOC Philippines Chapter as the chairperson for the IGF Working Group and have continued even if I am currently residing in the US. I also worked with some people in updating the IGF Wikipedia article and have translated the English article to our Filipino (Tagalog) language.

In 2008, I joined the Remote Participation Working Group and the Internet Governance Caucus. I also started the Global Voices Filipino translation site last June 2009 and we currently have two Filipino translators (and still looking).

Prior to my migration to the US, I have worked in an online educational institution based in the Philippines and Seoul, South Korea, as a supervisor/trainor for online teachers. I am also part of a group of educators in the US and from other countries last March to May of 2009 who were trained in Open Education by Mozilla Foundation, CC learn and Peer to Peer University. I have presented on this at the IGF09 Sharm Meeting on the forum "Online Education: Maximizing the Efficiency." From 2007 to the present, I have received fellowships that has gotten me involved in numerous initiatives, like being a 2009 ISOC Ambassador.

But currently, I am employed as a Science Faculty for Student Alternatives Program Incorporated based in San Antonio, Texas. I worked for their charter school, South Plains Academy, based in Lubbock, Texas. We are an open enrollment charter school funded by the state of Texas and regulated by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). We employ PLATO Learning Environment to American students who wish to finish their high school credits through online materials facilitated by PLATO.

DIPLO IGCBP: Charity, please tell us more about ISOC Philippines and the involvement in Internet governance.

Charity Gamboa-Embley: Last May 2008, ISOC PH has sent its support for Internet Rights and Principles as a major theme for the IGF09 Meeting in Sharm. Unfortunately, that did not gather enough support among the different stakeholders.

This year, we sent the same support to the IGF and hopefully it will garner enough attention for it to be pursued. In my opinion, this is an important theme to be discussed. Furthermore, I also believed that ACCESS is an important issue among developing states who are still struggling with bringing broadband access to remote areas. This issue of broadband access, for instance, has been marred with corruption in the Philippines when politicians negotiating deals with a Chinese firm have been accused of bribery for closing in on a deal without transparency. By that issue alone, Internet development has already been hindered.

DIPLO IGCBP: Can you share some ideas for funding programmes for participation on the IGF process?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: I am one of the alumni of the ISOC Ambassador Programme. The ISOC Ambassador Programme is part of the ISOC internet Leaders Programme. This program gives oppoprtunities for fellows to be engaged in ISOC's global activities/initiatives. It also gives them the "know-how" on the IGF Meetings. I would recommend interested people to apply. More information can be found at this site:


I would also recommend individuals from developing states to join the IGCBP. Successful participants are given fellowships by DiploFoundation and its partners. In my case at the IGF 2008 Meeting in Hyderabad, I was a fellow of DiploFoundation and the ITU (International Telecommunciations Union). We were given an opportunity to meet with our Canadian benefactors and meet ITU Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Torre.


DIPLO IGCBP: Can you tell us some stories about success cases regarding IGF Sharm?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: Remote Participation was a success in Sharm. There was more interest as there was a total of 13 remote hubs that have registered for 2009. For instance, it was a first for the Philippines to establish a remote hub. One of our ISOC PH member works for the ASTI (Advanced Science and Technology Institute) of the Department of Science and Technology.

Mr. Bani Lara was able to arrange a registration site at the ASTI website and ran an informationa ad at the same time. We didn't get much attendees due to the time difference but a few came to participate and expressed their views. Even in one session, I was communicating with them in terms of how to access the sessions.

I also believe there was a small delegation from the Philippines who came and I was alerted by their presence by one of our ISOC PH member. For me, this is really great development to have someone from the Commission of ICT attending the IGF.

I would also consider the efficient use of Web 2.0 tools like twitter using the #igf. I did most of that in the sessions I attended. Since I was an ISOC Ambassador, I met a lot of ISOC officers and talked about our local chapter concerns and how best to improve and keep the chapter going. I also reported on those developments and concerns raised by ISOC to our local chapter via our ISOC PH mailing list.

DIPLO IGCBP: Many thanks for this, Charity! Can you once again share the website of the IGF Remote Participation Working Group?

Charity Gamboa-Embley: http://www.igfremote.info

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Comment by Marília Maciel on February 10, 2010 at 3:19pm
It is a pleasure to work with such a wonderful team of people in the Remote Participation Working Group! Cha adds her vast experience with education, specially in the online environment, to the project of e-participation we are developing. Thanks for the interview!

We welcome anyone interested in joining the project!
Comment by Vladimir Radunovic on February 9, 2010 at 11:51am
Thanx Cha for more insights into the remote participation and challenges. Great to hear you keep involved with IG - the more the better! And especially since you find it personally challenging and interesting. Good luck!
Comment by Raquel Gatto on February 8, 2010 at 6:30pm
Congratulations, Cha! It's a great interview! People who are interested to join or support the Remote Participation Working Group activities, please do not hesitate to contact any of us or to visit our new website http://www.igfremote.info
Comment by Diplo IGCBP on February 7, 2010 at 8:43pm
Charity's story is also illustrated here:



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