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This series of five manuals is the result of projects undertaken by communities of practice with the support of the Local Networks (LocNet) initiative.
Communities of practice are groups of people who share a common concern, a set of problems or interests in an issue and who join forces to pursue both individual and collective goals. They are often centred on exchanging best practices and creating new knowledge to drive advances in a given area, and one of their crucial components is constant interaction.
LocNet's approach to communities of practice brought together people and activities aimed at enhancing support for key issues of interest to community networks, which includes addressing not only the lack of connectivity and digital exclusion, but also other basic human rights of marginalised communities. Bearing in mind that human, social, environmental and technological practices are interconnected, five manuals were co-created in different languages focusing on the following topics of interest identified among these communities of practice:
Pedagogical manual for social exchanges: This manual is an invitation to motivate and strengthen local and circular economies based on the recognition of community processes, resources and needs. Available in English and Spanish.
How to use Pirania: Lessons from real use in community networks: This manual was produced based on the real-life experience of installing the Pirania Captive Portal in a community network in Vale do Ribeira, in the southern region of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Here comes the sun: An introductory framework to understand the basics of electricity and photovoltaic systems for community networks: Too often, supposed connectivity “solutions” take for granted a general supply of power anywhere on our planet. But 13% of the world’s population lacks access to electricity and a much higher percentage experiences unstable or deficient service, especially in rural areas. This manual focuses on sharing knowledge on using sunlight to generate electricity as a key step to produce a more democratic supply and more inclusive infrastructure. Available in English, French and Spanish.
Bamboo for community networks: A plantation manual for green infrastructure: The purpose of this manual is to support communities and entrepreneurs to overcome biological and technical constraints through easy-to-adopt management practices in planning and planting bamboo. This material can be an affordable alternative for community networks infrastructure. Available in English.
Community networks meet community currencies: This manual is about building bottom-up infrastructure, specifically an intervention to bootstrap a community inclusion currency (voucher) and a local community network and a local content and services platform. Available in English.
LocNet is a collective effort led by Rhizomatica and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) that works with partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Its goal is to contribute to an ecosystem to the emergence and growth of community networks and other community-led connectivity initiatives.
The manuals are part of the project “Connecting the unconnected: Supporting community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives”, implemented by APC in partnership with Rhizomatica with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).