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Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been universally acknowledged as enablers for socio economic development. However, women in Africa still face large barriers in terms of access and capacity to benefit from the use of these technologies, especially women living in rural areas. In the words of Nicola Bidwell, Professor of Computer Science at Namibia's International University of Management and Gender and Social Impact adviser for APC's community-based connectivity project:
"Many women live in rural Africa and it's difficult for mobile operators to afford to extend to all of these areas. But if you can support community networks this means helping women too. So I would say that the first step for women's access is to support community networks."
To support this goal, Bidwell facilitated a workshop on Community Networks organised by the Internet Society, in partnership with our member Zenzeleni and Mesh Bukavu & TunapandaNET. The workshop, hosted in October 2018, provided a space for women government leaders and policy makers to think of ways they can support women who are championing community networks in Africa.