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“Communication is a basic, fundamental right. It’s a human right, it’s a right of all communities. Also because spectrum, the space where waves are transmitted, is part of the territory where communities live.”

These are the words of one of the participants in the Training Programme for Technical Promoters of Communication and Broadcasting Network Technologies in Indigenous Communities of Latin America, carried out by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with local organisations.

The programme culminated with a face-to-face training camp held in Cuetzalán del Progreso, Puebla, Mexico, on 7-17 February 2020, with highlights captured in this video. Participants in the workshop included a number of APC member organisations active in the development of community networks, including Colnodo, Nodo TAU and Rhizomatica.

“This training process brings to my community, through me, the basic knowledge we need so that we don’t have to depend on someone else, particularly someone from the outside,” said participant Lisette González from Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias A.C., a non-profit association of community-owned mobile networks in rural and indigenous communities in Mexico that is a partner in the APC project Connecting the Unconnected: Supporting community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives. “It’s the technical part that we find most challenging,” she added.

The training programme was designed to address the specific needs of the indigenous communities in the region. According to Rhizomatica’s Carlos Baca, the coordinator of the face-to-face training camp, “What we want to achieve is a critical vision of the technologies, and knowledge of how to handle them, so that they can then be appropriated and transformed into the means through which the communities can solve the issues or fulfil the dreams they have identified for themselves.”