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The fifth session of the Virtual Summit on Community Networks in Africa takes a deep dive inside the operations of an African community network.

The session focuses on two community networks: BOSCO Uganda located in Northern Uganda and PAMOJA Net in Eastern DRC. They will showcase their respective and practical approaches to connecting the unconnected. 

During the webinar, which will take place on 24 February, 12:00 – 14:00 UTC, the two community networks will present a series of short videos to expose participants to their respective:

  • Governance structures

  • Business models

  • Technical operations of these community networks.

This interactive session will provide deep insights into the day to day operations of Bosco Uganda and PAMOJA Net. You can register here.

About BOSCO Uganda

Battery Operated System for Community Outreach (BOSCO) Uganda is a not-for-profit organisation under the trusteeship of the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu, founded in 2007. Its mission is to provide innovative information and communication technology (ICT) solutions using a collaborative and web-based approach to foster socioeconomic development and peace building in rural communities in northern Uganda. BOSCO supports 48 ICT and Development Centres with over 60,000 beneficiaries in the Northern and West Nile regions in Uganda. It was awarded the 2010 Breaking Borders Award in Technology from Google and Global Voices, and the Rural E-Services Award from the Uganda Communications Commission in 2012. BOSCO operates over 30 solar-powered ICT labs, and five larger microgrids, two of which at 30 kWp are sustainable economically with a slow payback of capital expense.

About PamojaNET

Pamoja, meaningn “together” in Swahili, is an initiative of Ensemble, which began in 2016 to install the island’s first WiFi network, Pamoja Net. Over 3,900 people have now benefitted from free access to Pamoja Net. Research carried out by Ensemble revealed that 98% of users felt that Pamoja Net had contributed to a positive change in their lives, from a newfound ability to connect with family and friends to conducting educational research, making job applications, checking weather reports before fishing on Lake Kivu and saving money.

More about the Summit

Community networks help connect underserved communities online with locally built and managed infrastructure. However, they are not always available, and they face a diversity of challenges. A 2017 Internet Society report identified 37 community networks initiatives in 12 African countries, at different levels of development.

To foster learning, networking, knowledge and experience sharing on this issue, community network operators in Africa started gathering in 2016 at an annual summit. This year’s summit will be held virtually and will consist of five webinars revolving around growing community networks in the continent.

These sessions, organised by the African Union, Internet Society and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in partnership with other organisations, and sponsored by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, aim to promote the creation and growth of community networks in Africa, along with increasing collaboration between community network operators and providing an opportunity for learning and engaging.

Previous sessions included:

Session 1: The path towards growing community networks in Africa

Session 2: For, with and by the community: Community engagement strategies and ownership for growing community networks in Africa

Session 3: Public funding for community networks

Session 4: Discussion on sustainable models

More about community networks

Community networks newsletter

APC’s community networks project: Connecting the Unconnected: Supporting community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives

Summit on Community Networks in Africa

Bottom-up Connectivity Strategies: Community-led small-scale telecommunication infrastructure networks in the global South

Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?