THE Internet Society Tanzania (ISOC-Tanzania) has pushed an agenda of fundraising to support national and regional schools of internet governance in UN member states during the recent 16th UN Internet Governance Forum held in Poland.
The association, represented by its President Nazar Nicholas, who is also coordinator of the Internet Governance Forum in Tanzania (IGF-Tanzania), told the conference that the telecommunications companies could fund — both schools and national IGF initiatives through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
The 16th annual IGF meeting was hosted by the government of Poland in Katowice under the overarching theme: ‘Internet United’. In his message for the conference, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the life-changing power of the internet.
Mr Guterres said digital technology has saved lives by enabling millions of people to work, study and socialize safely online. But the pandemic has also magnified the digital divide and the dark side of technology: the lightning-fast spread of misinformation; the manipulation of people’s behaviour; and more.
“We can only address these challenges while united through strengthened cooperation: by establishing clear rules to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms; by regaining control over our data,” he said. The Internet Governance Forum has a crucial role in shaping the conversation, he noted.
The conference was organized by the secretariat of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum and brought together over 3000 participants onsite with over 300 sessions. The participants are drawn from UN member states to discuss public policy issues related to internet. Some of the topics discussed included affordable and meaningful internet access, smart local solutions to connect everyone and harmful online content.
“What I suggested in terms of fundraising focused on having global telcos play their fundamental role of promoting digital literacy through their CSR funding programmes. With their huge financial muscle, they can help millions of youth and women around the world become digital literate. This is also key for the business as well,” Mr Kirama stated.
He advised Internet Governance Forum Support Association and the fundraising committee to approach the board of directors of those telecom companies with the idea of forming strategic partnerships for raising funds to support the national IGFs and schools which are useful in boosting internet governance in their countries.