|APrIGF 2023 Session Proposal Submission Form|
|Part 1 - Lead Organizer|
|Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay|
|Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate) *|
|Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA)|
|Economy of Residence|
|Primary Stakeholder Group|
|List Your Organizing Partners (if any)|
|Full Name: Ms. Sylvia Cadena,
Affiliation: Head of Programs and Partnerships
Organisation: Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) Foundation
|Part 2 - Session Proposal|
|Sustainability of Complementary Connectivity Initiatives|
|Where do you plan to organize your session?|
|Onsite at the venue (with online moderator for questions and comments from remote participants)|
|Specific Issues for Discussion|
|This session will focus on sustainability issues faced by organizations mainly in developing countries in Asia-Pacific where bringing meaningful connectivity to the unconnected and addressing the digital divide are still the main challenges. This session will bring together leaders and enablers of various models of community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives from different countries in the region to discuss the sustainability issues they face and how they are addressing these issues. In introducing a holistic framework for sustainability, the panelists shall also share how they are dealing with measuring and communicating their social impact as an important element in building a case for governments and resource institutions to provide enabling policies and programs to support sustainable models of community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives.
The following are the key questions that will be explored among the panelists:
- What issues and concerns are you experiencing in relation to the sustainability of your respective community networks or complementary connectivity initiatives?
- How are your community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives addressing these issues and concerns?
- How do you understand social impact and how is it being manifested among stakeholders and communities benefiting from the provision of services provided by your community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives?
- What do you think of establishing a community of practice on sustainability and social impact to support efforts towards building sustainable models of
community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives?
|Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF|
|Community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives have demonstrated their power and potential for connecting the unconnected and bridging the digital divide specially in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region by the use of local resources, frugal infrastructure and technology development that is managed and used by local communities for their needs. Sustainability beyond project time frames have emerged as a major challenge. A dominant view of sustainability has been framed in a business enterprise context where the users of the community networks should be able to pay for the internet services provided. This session shall introduce a broader framework for understanding sustainability of community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives. Part of this broader view of sustainability is appreciating community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives, not just as business enterprises, but as social enterprises or social mission-driven entrepreneurial organizations that are addressing social issues and creating social value for communities and societies.
The session will therefore have 3 objectives:
- Introduce and explore a more holistic understanding of sustainability of community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives;
- Initiate a discussion on measuring social impact as a critical element in convincing the need for responsive policies and programs that enable sustainable
community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives;
- Explore the setting-up of a community of practice around sustainability and social impact of community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives
among Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) Asia grantees and other interested stakeholders.
This discussion can go a long way in facilitating meaningful regional dialogue and cooperation among practitioners and enablers towards seeding and mainstreaming sustainable models of connectivity.
|Methodology / Agenda (Please add rows by clicking "+" on the right)|
|Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)|
|Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.|
|The session is designed to take off from the sharing of experiences and perspectives from practitioners and enablers of various models of community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives in the Asia Pacific region.
The session will be moderated by Sylvia Cadena from the APNIC Foundation that has funded the seeding of many community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives in Asia-Pacific.
Panelists were chosen on the basis of representing different contexts, perspectives and evolving models for addressing sustainability issues in community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives:
- AirJaldi started as a community network but over time has become a Class A ISP registered in India, and a leading innovator and implementer of technically and economically viable internet connectivity solutions for rural areas.
- ISEA is implementing a project on model building of community networks linked to social enterprise and sustainable local economic development in the Philippines, China and Bangladesh.
- Common Room has seeded many community networks in Indonesia over the past few years and has been exploring sustainable models for such networks to thrive in the long run in partnership with local communities, local/national government agencies and/or ISPs.
- iBoom! Inc in Micronesia is expanding their Fixed Wireless Access broadband network to other parts of Yap Island. From their successful establishment of a broadband connection to an entire campus of a school, they are scaling-up network connections for communities to benefit from improved education, health and economic services that are integrated in their traditions and indigenous knowledge systems.
- Distant Curve focuses on telecommunications services to remote and regional areas in which mainstream providers either don’t have the capability or the desire to service, servicing the mining, agriculture, and oil and gas industries as well as government and non-profits.
The panelists selected for the discussion have played critical roles as enablers, founders leaders of these various models of community networks and complementary connectivity initiatives in their respective country contexts. This will enable a nuanced and rich discussion on sustainability and social impact measurement among the panelists and participants towards pursuing a community of practice as an action agenda beyond the session and APrIGF 2023.
|Please declare if you have any potential conflict of interest with the Program Committee 2023.|
|Are you or other session contributors planning to apply for the APrIGF Fellowship Program 2023?|
|Brief Summary of Your Session|
|This session focused on sustainability issues faced by organizations mainly in developing countries in Asia-Pacific where bringing meaningful connectivity to the unconnected and addressing the digital divide are still the main challenges. It brought together leaders and enablers of various models of complementary connectivity initiatives from different countries in the region to discuss the sustainability issues they face and how they are addressing these issues. In introducing a holistic framework for sustainability, the panelists share implementation challenges as well.
The session was moderated by Dr. Sylvia Cadena of APNIC Foundation, and the online moderator was Dr. Sarbani Belur of APC and ISEA.
Each one of the speakers in the panel, representing organizations who has received ISIF grants over the years, were asked to put forth perspectives on these 2 questions:
• What issues and concerns are you experiencing in relation to the sustainability of your work and how are you addressing these issues and concerns?
• How do you understand social impact and how is it being manifested among stakeholders and communities benefiting from the provision of services provided by your work?
|Substantive Summary of the Key Issues Raised and the Discussion|
|Reina Wulansari (Common Room Networks Foundation, Indonesia): • There is no ‘one policy fits for all’. CN development needs to be iterated in the long run & always been context specific by nature within a diverse geographical and socio-cultural background. It requires a gradual process with hands-on learning and is human-centered by design;
• The CN initiative encompasses diverse interrelated components, including policy & regulation, passive infrastructure, brainware (human resources), social & economic resources, and many more. An agile and adaptive program management is required, with co-financing and flexible funding support.
Michael Ginguld (Rural Broadband Pvt Ltd/ Air Jaldi, India): • Sustainability – ability to sustain the business financially, ability to sustain/respond to changing demands of customers (full services, higher speeds, changing technologies).
• Community networks – Community-owned (financial benefits and decision-making power), Community-operated (by members of the community for members of the community), community-managed (control over decision-making and priorities). The first and the third are of relevance while the second is problematic. Even for the first and third, we’ll need to decide how we do it (cooperative? Partial ownership? Pay to play? Etc.) and if the community-owned and managed network is the best model for users (as measured by cost, quality and depth of service).
• Impact – very important and very hard to measure. Suggest and willing to present the basic building blocks of an M&E system based on IP traffic and related data allowing us to measure impact in terms of online behavior, which in turn may inform overall impact.
Lubuw Falanraw (iBoom, Micronesia): • Open (low barriers to market) ecosystem and effective cooperation (shared purpose) is required for a hybrid ecosystem (both on technological solutions and business models) that builds local capacity where there is space for different models to co-exist
• “It Takes a Village” - “To Raise This Child” – Access to finance mechanisms
Matthew James (Distant Curve, Australia): • Approvals process – sacred site clearance, pastoralists, govt. Win / win often to team with land councils / provide pastoralists services.
• Extreme costs of interconnect – solution is local or national socialisation, reliant upon industry or govt teamwork.
• Reluctance or refusal of govt to allow interconnect with smaller carriers – even after 7 year track record 100% uptime – solution will be legislative big stick.
Lisa Dacanay (ISEA, Philippines): •Model Building of Community Networks Linked to Social Enterprise and Local Economic Development embarked on this project to address sustainability issues faced by CNs and to optimize the potentials for ICT to enhance the efficiency, productivity and incomes of social enterprises and their marginalized stakeholders •Promising project results and the emerging sustainability strategies of the 4 pilot CNs
|Conclusions and Suggestions of Way Forward|
|There is a need to recognize that connecting the unconnected and resolving the digital divide are still the main problems faced by many developing countries in Asia Pacific. In this context, complementary connectivity initiatives have been offered as solutions and creating an ecosystem, an enabling environment for supporting the development and scaling up of sustainable complementary connectivity models need to be a central part of sustainability discussions.
There is also an interest in establishing a community of practice on sustainability and social impact of connectivity initiatives. There is an initiative of ISEA, APC and Angels of Impact through the Technological Innovations for Sustainable Development Platform which may be able to accommodate this.
|Number of Attendees (Please fill in numbers)|
|Gender Balance in Moderators/Speakers (Please fill in numbers)|
|How were gender perspectives, equality, inclusion or empowerment discussed? Please provide details and context.|
|The organizers were conscious from the very start to balance gender in the session. 4 women were moderators and speakers and 3 men were speakers. Zoom facilities were also provided for participants outside Brisbane. Real time annotation was provided on Zoom, as well.|
|I agree that my data can be submitted to forms.for.asia and processed by APrIGF organizers for the program selection of APrIGF 2023.|