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Reflecting on the West Africa Internet Governance Forum - people, places and problems.

Been meaning to sit and write but have not found the time.

I hear that the West Africa Internet Governance Forum was a success. I am in the wrong position to judge. Being organiser is not an easy thing. The only indication that I have is that people did not look for me much. They left without saying goodbye. Like the old African adage 'When the party is sweet, you forget who brought you there'. We received congratulations and some have blogged about it. Seems they were happy.

On the people, mhmm. Not as much as we would have loved to have. You already know the reason. It is the same old one. Funding. But yeah, folks were there. Men and women (No children. By the way, does multistakeholder not include children?) Okay. That is a different story. We had people from:
  • Ministries
  • Telecom Regulatory agencies
  • ICT Excellency Centers
  • Media
  • NGOs
  • Academia
  • Telcos
  • IT Consultancies
  • Research institutes
  • IT observatories
  • National agencies
  • National IG initiatives
  • Foundations
  • Registeries
Honourable mention to the ISOC Senegal folks! They did a wonderful job. I loved the idea of ISOC Next generation. The 'senior' guys are handing over gently to the younger generation. I loved that. I also appreciated the presence of ICANN, and IG Secretariat. Markus gave his address from Skype. Cool. Judy Okite was excellent. I wish we had more like her.

I did a lot of places. The Sofitel Teranga, which is now Pullman (Is Pullman buying off the whole of Sofitel in West Africa?) was a nice place to be. The hotel overlooked the sea and I did catch a few photos. I put them all up on my Facebook page.

On points, I have sent some reports. One is on the human rights issues. Once it comes online I will let you know. The Communique is being finalised. I hope to remember. If I dont, check http://www.waigf.org next weekend.

Let me say that problems are not yet over. MSP has got a long way to go to be able to trickle down to all levels. Government reps dont find it easy to let go. Funding funding funding... aie aie aie.

Remote participation was great. At least 10 persons were live tweeting at least 2 were livestreaming. I enjoyed the active remote participants. Was not easy though having to raise their voices. I felt like I am being the 'only' one having to raise my hands too many times! I had to speak for me and speak for them.. anyway.

One incident though. GENDER. During a certain session, the chair wanted women to speak but no 'female' hands went up. At the same time, a man was requesting to speak and the chair did not grant his request. After the session he walked up front to officially complain about his being 'discriminated against because I am a man'

Oh yeah?

I'm off!


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Comment by Judi on September 9, 2010 at 9:17pm
my thoughts:The WA-IGF 2010 was a success, right from its conception. To be organised by a consortium consisting of experience and expertise from Multi-stakeholders of the following organisations, OSIWA, APC, PANOS, IISD, AFRINIC, ISOC-Senegal and FOSSFA, all NC's(National coordinators) Diplo alumnis.....it was a great team, that resulted to the forum being dubbed "successful" :-)
Comment by Judi on September 9, 2010 at 9:08pm
I am deeply humbled to have worked in this project.
Comment by Nnenna Nwakanma on September 5, 2010 at 8:43pm
Not too sure if the issue is that of exclusion; I figure it is rather 'non-inclusion'. Both boil down to the absence of children at the forum. I am not aware of any such projects in West Africa, and anywhere else in the continent for that matter.

Will watch and see
Comment by Tim Davies on September 4, 2010 at 5:01pm
Some fantastic reflections. Great to see your question about the exclusion of children from multi-stakeholder processes. Definitely something to be challenged:

I know there are initiatives in the UK like Young IGF project from ChildNet (http://www.swgfl.org.uk/Staying-Safe/Content/News-Articles/Childnet...) and the European HuWY project (http://www.huwy.eu/) but is there anything similar taking place in West Africa to engage children and young people in IG issues?

Certainly a good challenge perhaps for the new Youth Coalition on Internet Governance to pick up on....

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