To continue with our interviews with alumni who took the Internet Governance Capacity Building programme, today we have the honour of talking to Nnenna Nwakanma, Founder and CEO at Nnenna.org
, Côte d'Ivoire
Diplo Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme:
Please introduce yourself explaining why you decided to take the time to pursue Internet governance training.
My name is Nnenna. That is about all of it. I describe myself as African. The other description which I think may not be needed, is this: crazy, overworked, hyperactive, multilingual, thoroughly-traveled, Christian, Internet-addicted, development activist.
So why did I decide to pursue the IG training? Mhmm. I have been doing trainings for others, either as an organiser or as a trainer. And I was really craving the pleasure of having myself trained! Given the role that I have also played within the WSIS and my initial choice of Digital Solidarity Fund basket instead of the Internet Governance basket, I figured it was time to pay more attention to the IG now that the DSF is a bit stalled.
Though African, I am a net citizen and unfortunately, an Internet addict. So I am just watching out for the issues that affect my life as citizen of the net. The issues do not just affect my personal life, but also the host of other things I am involved in.DIPLO IGCBP:
How was the programme with Diplo?Nnenna:
Me, I was privileged within the course. I have enough electricity supply and a broadband Internet connection that gave me the ease! But boy, I finished regular University studies in 1996 and post-graduate stuff in 2002 so I was just not mentally prepared for all the deadline in the course work!
Then travels set in and jet lags and all! My tutor, Emmanuel Edet
from Nigeria will send those emails reminding of work that needed to be finished and I am like? If I get my hands on that guy, I am going to wring his neck!?
I must say that over all, there was a great collaboration among the course members. People were respectful, considerate and actually reported back to the class when they had traveled and been to places of interest to us.
Towards the end of the class, Emmanuel asked that we designate a course member to lead the weekly chat. I was surprised at the speed with which we reached consensus. On another note, the IG training was not just on the issues, but also on reinforcing the learners' capacity in e-learning. At first some of my course mates had problems 'getting around campus' but over time, everyone could find his/her way around, get to class meetings on time and flow with the others.DIPLO IGCBP:
Can you comment on the Accra training?Nnenna:
Then, I requested and had Diplo accept to come and hold a parallel face-to-face training in Accra, Ghana, during the African Conference on FOSS and the Digital Commons - http://www.idlelo.org/
It was nice having some of the online people come over and seeing their faces! Ginger
was there, Vladmir
and guess who else? Emmanuel Edet
! I did not know he was coming.. When I saw his face, I mean his face, attached to his head, which was sitting on his neck, joined to his shoulders, fused into his whole body.. then I freaked out! Boy, the man was big! Bigger than the original 'volume' I had design my 'wringing his neck' plan on. So, I just let the man walk!DIPLO IGCBP:
Hahaha! That's true! Nnenna, what are your next goals and dreams in professional terms? Do you see a practical use of Internet governance to your career, or to the benefit of
your local community? Nnenna:
Sure, certainly sure. Apart from my contributions to digital solidarity, I am part of a platform for ICT consultants who support government ICT policy in different ways.
The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa - FOSSFA
, where I am Council Chair has taken up more IG challenges. The first is as lead organisation for the West Africa Internet Governance Forum and the second is its internal discussions to apply for and manage a generic Top Level Domain name at ICANN.
I am also working with a very interesting global work cooperative, whose activities are 99% online. My role as Community Team Lead of Dreamfish
implies that I look into and understand as many aspects of the Internet and their governance. With multiple roles and more engagement over and on the Internet, many aspects are looming larger and issues that did not give me much concern earlier are now taking center stage in my professional life.DIPLO IGCBP:
From all the issues discussed, which ones meant more to you? What is at stake? If you can give specific examples it would be even better!Nnenna
: Cost of Internet access. My current budget for Internet connection is 100 USD. I have had to take 2 parallel connections. If I were earning 500 dollars a month, which is the average salary in Abidjan for University graduates, I cannot afford broadband.
Quality of service: Of the 2, none gives the advertised bandwidth. I am paying for less than I am getting. One company does not take phones when you call to complain!
User rights. Last week I had issues with some social network sites. I have also been refused a permanent IP address by my ISP.
Diversity. I am preparing to speak in the Diversity Summit of the Open World Forum, on the gender dimension but the language and cultural dimensions call to me.
Content/openness. Within the FOSSFA framework, we are working to advance openness and open standards in hardware, software and the Internet Governance Forum itslef.
Policy, of course. Getting governments to understand the need for appropriate policies, multi-stakeholder engagement in IG governance at national and global levels and the critical role regulation.DIPLO IGCBP:
Wow! That was amazing! Any final message? Nnenna:
I would like to invite you to visit www.dreamfish.com
and let me know what you think of a global work cooperative that functions mainly on the Internet. We are also kicking off the West Africa Internet Governance Forum and you may want to tell share experience with the team on http://lists.apc.org/mailman/listinfo/waigf-team
The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa - FOSSFA would also love to get your input on discussions about being the manager of a generic Top Level Domain name.
Personally, I am always happy to contribute where I can, when I can.