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.

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.

ICT policy training for Congolese activists held in Goma

In partnership with the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), we brought together human rights activists, journalists, bloggers, lawyers, etc to discuss ICT policy issues in Africa and in the world. A special focus was on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because we examined the current policies and the way the policy development process is being handled in the DRC.

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For two days, it was a good opportunity for journalists and human rights advocates in Goma to be exposed to Internet freedom topics and know how they can be part of the policy discussion. One of the major activities was that participants were able to read the current ICT laws and to compare it with the new proposed ICT laws currently under discussion at the Parliament.

Recommendations were drafted on how the ICT proposal can be improved and have it include issues such as privacy, freedom of expression, etc. As a result, a statement was issued: DR Congo Parliament Urged to Pass Laws That Support Citizens’ Rights Online (available on CIPESA’s website), its French version can be downloaded here [Declaration de la Societe Civile – Francais].

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This training was the first of its kind to be held in this part of the country. Rudi International has been working in the area of Internet freedom for a few years now, being represented at major events discussing Internet shutdowns and other violations of citizen’s digital rights.

We are committed to work with a lot of partners in shaping the Internet freedom agenda in the DRC. If you want to partner or want to learn more, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

 

Working for a safer online environment for young people #SID2016

As part of our ICT Programs, Rudi International, non-profit celebrates the Safer Internet Day with the rest of the world as over 100 countries celebrate this day to encourage the safe and responsible use of online technology.

Rudi International agrees with the theme for this year calls you to “Play your part for a better Internet,” where children and the rest of humanity is safe, dignified, respected, and the Lord God honored.

Below is a link from the ITU Blog that shares a SMART way of stay safe on the Internet:

S – Set your limits: beware of sharing your personal information.

M – Meeting online friends offline: take someone else with you that you know and trust to stay safe.

A – Accepting invitations/friendships: there is nothing wrong in declining invitations that you are not sure about.

R – React: if you see something that bothers you, talk to your parents or someone you trust.

T – Tell someone about your concerns: report inappropriate content and behavior to the host of the website or police.

Finally, the ITU also provides a wonderful PDF document that parents can use with their children for educating them and improving their safety both online and offline. Please find the PDF document directly on the ITU website.

Source: Working for a safer online environment for young people #SID2016

For Girls In ICT day, Rudi sponsored the Goma Web Activism Summit

The workshops

For this year’s celebrations, Rudi International co-hosted the Goma Web Activism Summit (GWAS) in April 2015 as a way to celebrate and mark the Girls in ICT day. The event was mainly a series of trainings on basic ICT skills, social media presence and blogging skills.

The event targeted young people, online activists from the DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya as they took part into a 3 days event in Goma, eastern Congo. The event was held in Yole!Africa’s facilities, being part of the sponsors. We are happy to have partnered with Yole, a cultural center based in Goma to support the event.

About 20 participants in total, including about 8 young women took part and had a lot to learn, committing to share back with their communities. Each one of them had the opportunity to create their own blogs and start expressing themselves on subjects they want. They had the opportunity to learn how they can benefit from the numerous opportunities offered to them by the Internet, such as introduction to social media sites.

“The DRC is a big country where connectivity is still a problem, so many people started going online mainly through mobile phones as access to cyber cafes requires money. There are more young men than women that’s why for over 3 years now, Rudi International is targeting women, helping them understand they can build career in ICT”, said Arsene Tungali, Co-founder and Executive Director of Rudi International who was one of the trainers.

We have been organizing Girls In ICT day celebrations for the past 3 years now, Rudi being the only one organization bringing ICT debates to young people in eastern Congo.

The topics we covered in previous events were such as: online security tips, managing online presence on social media sites, blogging skills, and online activism as a way to create more internet and ICT literate new generations. We have participated in several Internet Governance meetings on a national, regional and international level and we are committed to supporting access to affordable Internet. You can partner with us!!

Site visit

11188190_797418300348078_3014914101695077504_nOn the last day of the workshop, part of the delegation paid a visit to our beneficiaries in Lac Vert as they wanted to see first-hand the work we are doing with the communities.

It was a Sunday, the kids wanted to meet those young people coming from other countries to hear their stories.

At the school, our friends from Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya had the opportunity to answer questions from the kids such as:

  • What languages do you speak?
  • What do you eat in your country?
  • How is the weather there?
  • Do you have motorbikes?
  • How are your schools look like?

These questions led to a good debate. These kinds of activities are part of what we call “afterschool activities” which is a way for us at Rudi to help our beneficiaries learn what’s going on outside of their sphere and country. We are happy that most of our supporters believe this is a good way to create a new generation of global citizens. Thank you for your continuous support. Know that your kind donations are not only covering school fees but serve beyond that.

You too can donate to support our afterschool activities as we tend to develop more and more exciting activities for our sponsored kids. You have the choice of donating on a monthly basis the amount of your choice; you also have the possibility to share with us for what purpose you want your donation to be used for.

Rudi International at the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) in Nairobi

Rudi International at the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) in Nairobi

AfIGF official logo
AfIGF official logo

We are happy to announce that Rudi International will be present at the AfIGF that is scheduled to take place from September 24 to 26 in Nairobi, Kenya at the Multimedia University. And we will be represented by our Co-founder and Executive Director Arsene Tungali who is part of the global Internet Governance process.

In this pdf document, Chengetai Masango from the IGF Secretariat in Geneva shared about what’s Internet Governance.

Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

Rudi International in the IG process

We have been involved in the Internet Governance process since 2011 when Arsene Tungali took place at the Global 6th Internet Governance Forum which took place in Nairobi (Kenya) in September 2011. He played a big role being part, as a Youth Participant, in a Child Online Protection (COP) panel with other youths from other Europe and African countries and experts including ConnectSafely.org Co Director Larry Magid, Richard from Facebook, Dr Adeleye from Youth Crime Watch of Nigeria, Priscillia Kounkou from UNICEF, Angian Bose from Ecpat International and others.

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Arsene Tungali (second from right) presenting. From left to right: Larry (USA), Dr Adeleye (NIgeria), Arsene and Valentyne (Ukraine)
The panel posting with Dr Hamadoun Toure, ITU SG
The panel posting with Dr Hamadoun Toure, ITU SG

He made a presentation on the main theme “Young people and their safeguards in an increasingly connected world” where he presented the state of youth online security in the DRC, a country where Internet is being used by young people mainly through mobile devices than on computers.

Arsene Tungali is also an alumni of Diplo Foundation’s 2012 Internet Governance Capacity Building Program (IGCBP12) which is a series of online courses on Internet Governance and other specialized courses including E-participation, Cybersecurity, etc.

What do we do in the Internet field?

Rudi International is among civil society organizations in the organizing committee of the young DRC IGF (DRC Internet Governance Forum). IGF DRC hosted the Central Africa IGF that took place in Kinshasa last August.

Since 2012, Rudi International have launched a program called “Rudi For Women and Girls Online” whose aim is to educate young girls on the best use of the new information and communication technologies (ICT) as part of their emancipation. We educate them on how they can be safe online while taking benefit from what Internet can offer them.

Our girls in ICT day event in 2012
Our girls in ICT day event in 2012

We do this through workshops and online discussions using Facebook. We have been honored to partner with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN leading organization on ICT and have been able to convene for now two Girls In ICT” events in Goma (DRC) where we gathered about 160 young women the two previous years, talking about the challenges and opportunities offered by the online world from a Congolese perspective. We have received a certificate of appreciation from the ITU.

Girls in ICT event in Goma, 2013. Watching the Stoty of Facebook
Girls in ICT event in Goma, 2013. Watching the Stoty of Facebook

This program is stuck because we need to have more funds and partners to carry such activities in educating the next generation about the last development in the tech field, as technology won’t wait for them. Rudi International has played a big role, being the only one youth-led organization gathering young people to discuss about the last developments in technologies, especially about Internet and how they can be safe from bullying and other online risks. We are open for partnerships in that area!

Meet Arsene in Nairobi

Are you going to be there too? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Arsene and discuss partnership possibilities with your organization if you care about the youth in Eastern DRC where we are based and where we are working. We always seek for fellowships to take part in other Internet-related events across Africa and the world.

Follow him on Twitter (@arsenebaguma) for updates about the Forum and stay in touch by liking our ICT specialized Facebook page. For emergency, email him: arsenebaguma@gmail.com