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Rudi International New Membership and Interview with the Association for Progressive Communication.

We are pleased to announce our membership in the organization and network called Association for Progressive Communication, APC in short. After a rigorous membership application process that lasted about a year, Rudi International is officially a member of one of the largest networks in the Information and Communication Technologies and Human Rights sectors in the world.

The APC’s overall vision is that « All people have easy and affordable access to a free and open internet to improve their lives and create a more just world».  We, at Rudi International, share this vision and have expressed the wish to participate globally together with all members of this network in the pursuit of that vision.

Thanks to this membership, two of Rudi International members will serve on the APC council and thus add a new value to the work of this collective with our grassroots experience in the fields of training, research, policy, and advocacy on ICT issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo and globally.

The APC communications department conducted an interview with our President to share our impressions and feelings after this membership, but also to reiterate some of the values we uphold as an organization.

In this interview, Alain Rafiki, President and Co-Founder at Rudi International, gave the why of our adhesion to the APC network in these words: « The APC network has been a great resource to our team and for the work we do in the ICT sector. Through this network, we learn from the experiences of many and identify ways to improve our work as well as broaden our impact in more efficient ways. Because we also desire to positively influence more than just our community, we are thankful to be part of a network that gives us the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with the rest of the African continent and the world. We hope to gain friendships and partnerships that will allow Rudi International’s growing experience to be repeated in as many areas as needed ».

So, stay connected with us through our social networks and those of the APC for information about our next steps and activities in this great network.

This is an article by Blaise Ndola, Rudi International volunteer and Rudi’s representative at the APC.

Send One Child To School

Dear friends of Rudi International,

We are pleased to announce the launch of this year’s Back to School campaign. Join us and donate at https://www.gofundme.com/rudi-back-to-school-2018.

Any amount you can donate will enable us to send about 100 children to school this year. Our goal is to raise $20,000. Any amount you can donate will be helpful at getting us closer to that goal.

We are working together with Love More Foundation based in Indiana to make sure your donations are well accounted for. Would you like to share with your friends on any of the social media? Grab the link above and spread the word!

Pray with us that these children we served this past year will not have to stay at home this new school year.

Alright, let’s do this together!

Thank you,

Alain-Daniel for Rudi International and Love More Foundation.

The Congolese Senate received inputs to the Telecom and ICT draft bill

At the initiative of Rudi International, a group of civil society representatives came together for an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) policy workshop in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2018.

A two-days’ workshop (building from a previous workshop held in Goma in June 2017) where participants had the opportunity to learn and engage into a discussion around the ICT policy landscape, look at different aspects of Internet rights in the country. Participants had the opportunity to be introduced for the first time to the African Declaration on Internet Rights whose key principles informed the discussions on the draft bill. But most importantly, they had the opportunity to study and make an in-depth analysis of the proposed Telecommunications and ICT bill which came out of the National Assembly (after adoption) on May 7th and sent to the Senate for the second reading. The government through the ICT Ministry was invited to answer questions from Senators and was able to give more light.

At Rudi International we took this opportunity to offer inputs to the new proposed law that supports citizens’ digital rights, including to privacy and data protection, freedom of expression, and access to information online. The existing Framework law No 013/2002 of 16 October 2002 on Telecommunications does not adequately address modern societal and technological realities, hence the need to come up with another one which includes aspects such as on privacy, etc. We consider this to be a positive move from the government of the DRC and look forward to engage more in this area.

Participants at the workshop in Lubumbashi

This workshop was intended at reviving momentum on the draft including calls to discuss gaps within it, hence the need to have a varied group of participants that included 15 lawyers, human rights activists, bloggers and journalists who have history in digital rights activism and advocacy work in that part of the country. At the beginning of the workshop, we got in touch with the Chair of the “Commission Infrastructure et Amenagement du Territoire” that was reading the draft law within the Senate, Senator Nenyengwe who encouraged us:

Your workshop is very important and timely as we were in need of receiving comments and inputs from end users and civil society groups. We were approached by other groups such as the private sector and received their inputs but your voice was missing. Please do send us your recommendations right after your workshop and we will take time to read and consider them for discussion in our deliberations”, he said.

Our inputs that cover/address some specific aspects of the draft law seen from an end-user’s perspective and is divided in the following sections:

  • High level comments
  • The rights and obligations of end-users of the telecom services
  • The need for a multistakeholder approach in the management of the telecom and ICT sector
  • Protection of privacy and personal data
  • The need for more attention and proper legislation covering issues of cyber security and cyber crime

Download a PDF copy of our recommendations (in French and English) bellow:

Should you be interested in learning more or partnering with us for future activities in this area, do not hesitate to get in touch.

30 human rights activists trained in digital security in Lubumbashi and Kisangani

Between September 2017 and June 2018, we conducted a series of digital security training and awareness in two cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Thanks to the support of the Access Now grants program, a total of up to 30 human rights activists, bloggers, civil society leaders went through our digital security training curriculum.

The training aimed at equipping these civil society leaders on the latest safety tools to support their work and help them keep their privacy in a society where Internet freedom violations are increasingly present. Many of our participants have either seen their online communications intercepted or being questioned for what they have said on social media.

As a preparation for the general elections scheduled to start in December 2018, our training covered topics such as :

  • Email encryption
  • Using secure mobile apps
  • Protecting their online communication platforms through using strong passwords and using password managers
  • Protecting their devices against malwares, viruses, etc
  • Enabling two factor authentication on Gmail as well as on Facebook
  • How to circumvent Internet shutdown by using apps such as VPNs, etc.

Participants in Kisangani and Lubumbashi gathered for a five days training each (between September and December 2017), which was followed by online discussions, encouraging each participant to practice some of the tools and apps they learned. The online discussion also helped participants ask questions to the trainers and receive real time support on troubleshooting issues.

Follow up sessions were then conducted later on in both cities (between January and June 2018) where participants were also introduced to the ICT policy landscape and the Internet governance ecosystem. They were then introduced to the policy making process and had the opportunity to understand the DRC policy landscape.

Arsene talking about ICT Policy in Lubumbashi

As a result of these efforts, participants reported now being cautious about their online security and some shared the following :

« I now know how to create a strong password and how to no longer worry about memorizing it. I am able to use the password manager that best suits me and store all my different passwords for all my online websites and devices », said Costa, a male blogger in Lubumbashi.

« I used to have my laptop available for anyone to use it but after this training, i now know that i should not because anyone can then install surveillance apps in there and be able to track all my work. I also now protect my laptop with strong password », said Judith, a female film maker in Lubumbashi.

« As a medical doctor, i did not know how to best secure my patients data until i discovered that i can create a virtual disk and keep confidential data in there that i can access through cloud from whichever desk i am using », said Querida, a female medical doctor and civil society activist in Kisangani.

At the end of these series of training, we agreed with the participants that everyone who uses the Internet or a computer needs to be introduced to a basic digital security training because we all can be vulnerable somehow. We are therefore look forward to more opportunities to offer these training all over the country so that people can get ready for the upcoming elections.

« Once you are trained, you need your friends and workmates to also be trained so that you are all secured. You cannot start using encrypted emails if your friends with whom you communicate do not. We encourage Rudi International to conduct more of these training in schools, offices so that everyone is aware of potential risks they may face while online », said Junior, a male participant in Lubumbashi.

« But I have personally decided to do my part in training my colleagues and the clients that are coming to learn basics of computing at our training center in Lubumbashi », Junior concluded.

In May 2018, Arsène Tungali, our Executive Director was part of a panel discussing digital security training in Africa at RightsCon 2018 in Toronto, Canada. He had the opportunity to share our perspectives, the challenges we faced as well as best practices that can help other trainers to better conduct their digital security training.

If you want to learn more or partner with us in these efforts, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Rudi Christmas Project 2017

It is that time of the year again when all over the world, people are celebrating the birth of the Son of God among men. This year, we want to remember the birth of Christ as we celebrate Christmas with the children from Rudi Education, their family, and up to 500 more people from their community. Just for a reminder, the large majority of the people we serve are internally displaced persons living in challenging conditions right outside of Goma, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

We delight in bringing joy to this community that has been affected by war and conflict for the longest of the past 23 years. Many of you have contributed from $1 to hundreds of dollars to make this event possible for the past 6 years.

Please join us again today and let’s bring joy and cheer in Lac Vert together by giving right on this page or by going to our Campaign titled Rudi Christmas Outreach on YouCaring.com. Our goal this year is $2,774 for a two-days event reaching out to more than 500 members of the community. Thanks to the contributions of many, we are getting closer to the goal. Please join!

 

Contribution to Rudi Christmas 2017

(The quantity you pick will be multiplied by $10 to compute the total amount of your donation)

$10.00

Introducing Young Congolese Girls to the Internet!

Rudi International, through its ICT Programs, recently launched a series of training targeting young women aged 18-25 years to introduce them to everything Internet. We have been working in this field since 2012, trying to engage more and more women into this space, helping them understand why and how they need to embrace an ICT career and more broadly, to engage in STEM.

In partnership with Sacred Portion Children’s Outreach, a sister organization, we started a series of training that started in June and scheduled to resume in September 2017 in Goma, eastern Congo where we are based. A group of 20 young women will be trained, one weekend every month (Saturday and Sunday) in different topics, divided into different phases.

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For June, they have been taken through the basics of the Internet such as understanding the origin of the Internet, introduction to Internet governance, how to create and use an email address as well as basics of social media usage. They were taught about the main organizations working in the ICT space, globally as well regionally and how they can be part of the policy process. As a result, they now have started communicating using Gmail and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The session in June was the starting point as we look forward to the remaining 3 phases, with the same group of young women.

The next phases

The second phase, in July, they will go through a module on “Using the Internet for peace, development and advocacy” where they will learn how to use social media sites to promote causes they believe in, to share positive messages and be part of the Congolese online community.

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Ladies enjoying the training during phase 1 in June 2017

The third phase will focus on “Citizen Journalism” where the ladies will learn basics of blogging as well as writing for the web. Our team of trainers will use their time to take these young women through blog creation, production of content and how they can promote their blog posts on social media. We want to see these women be able to take over the web through production of quality content and be citizen journalists that will be followed for their posts.

 

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Ladies enjoying the training during phase 1 in June 2017

The last phase in September will deal with “Online security and data protection”. This is essential in this world and in the DRC with the current state of Internet freedom; we want Congolese young women to be able to surf the web while taking care of their personal security and the one of the people they communicate with. This subject is scheduled for the end of the training because by this time, participants will have acquired the knowledge they need to use the Internet in an effective way.

In between each phase, our trainers will be checking on them and use WhatsApp groups to further communicate, share tips and receive homework as a way to help them discover new things, features that they cannot learn during the training due to insufficient funding. With this project, we want to emancipate these women and help bridge the digital divide that exists between men and women in the use of technology.

Want to participate?

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If you want to partner with us to advance the use of technology in Congo and participate in the reduction of modern slavery, do not hesitate to use the Contact section on this website to share with us your thoughts.