IGF 2018 WS #192
Grassroots Advocacy: Digital Rights for the Unrepresented

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 3: Technical Community, African Group

Speaker 1: Noha Ashraf Abdel Baky, Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 2: Obed Sindy, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Samuel Reid, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Uffa Modey, Technical Community, African Group


Birds of a Feather - 60 Min


Speakers represent a range of expertise and perspectives. They each come from a different country and have work/school experience in a variety of fields. Some have worked with women, others with youth, indigenous people, and under-represented communities. They have faced unique demographic, language, cultural, and political challenges which has shaped the way they work in their communities. This session will highlight the need for community engagement and participation in grassroots campaigns in order to increase digital citizenship. Each speaker will be given an equal amount of time to describe their experiences, including challenges, best practices, and tips for continued engagement.


Several regions and countries will be represented on this panel, including Guyana (South America), Haiti (Caribbean), Egypt (Africa), Nigeria (Africa), and DRC (Africa). They are all considered "youths" -- a perspective that is frequently missing from IGF sessions. There are an equal number of men and women, and a variety of stakeholder groups represented, including civil society, technical, and government. Several speakers come from developing nations, and co-organizers represent global and national organizations.

We will open with a 10 minute exercise, during which time participants will be asked to identify grassroots advocacy strategies and share examples of how they have seen grassroots advocacy at work in their own communities. We will then play a brief (five minute) video with answers to the same questions created by young people around the world. Speakers will then discuss their own work to increase digital citizenship through grassroots advocacy, challenges they have faced, and best practices they have learned. We will leave ample time for discussion with attendees, and will conclude with a brief (5 minute) presentation on how to encourage continued engagement.

We will include ample time for discussion and a collaborative exercise at the beginning of the session to engage all participants. We will actively include online participants by monitoring the live stream and Twitter and answering questions posted there just as we answer the in-person questions. This session will encourage active participation from all participants throughout. The moderator will prep all speakers before hand and ask them several questions during the session to provide background information and highlight their work.

The session aims to discuss bottom up approach to increase the representation of women and youth online. This is based on background work by Digital Grassroots, which has worked with young people in 36 countries to engage them and increase digital citizenship, and the work of each of our panelists in their home countries. The panel will highlight the need to consider culture, demographics, and societal norms in communities before implementing digital literacy programs and the need for local champions for digital programs.

Online Participation

We will live stream the event and share the short film online. Our trained online moderator will ensure visibility of all remote participants by channeling their questions and comments to the onsite participants. We will have a live zoom call and give online participants a chance to express themselves.