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In a life-changing global pandemic, community-rooted initiatives became their own powerhouse of resistance against the risks and inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19. And the experiences from Africa, Asia and Latin America that you can find below prove that. On the month of International Women's Day, this newsletter also highlights the stories of women leading change for all. Welcome to the 45th monthly round-up of developments impacting your local access networks and community-based initiatives.

Resources from past events
  • On 30 and 31 March, the launch of this guide fostered meaningful conversations on participatory training initiatives based on diverse experiences from communities around the world. The recording in Portuguese is available here. The guide is also available in French, English and Spanish here.

  • The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) organised two learning sessions on 17 and 24 March: "Community Networks: Bridging the Digital Divide and Connecting the Last Mile Connectivity" and "Community Networks: Issues, Challenges and Prospects".

  • On 16 March, the second Web Dialogue of the Partner2Connect Digital Development Series launched the coalition Focus Areas Action Framework and online Pledging Platform. Read more.

  • All eyes on content: This online gathering held on 3 March was an opportunity to hear from community networks advocates and content creators about their stories and practices. Notes and recordings are available. Read more.

Community networks in news and blogs
  •  Through the piece "Community networks and women circles: The gift of being in togetherness", women in community networks show us that crafting relationships is as vital as crafting technology. Read more.

  •  Community members and local organisations were together to exchange knowledge at the Kenya School of Community Networks promoted by TunapandaNet Community Network. Find out more about the lessons learned and resolutions in a reflection from KICTANet. Read more.

  •  In Brazil, the Amazon Community Networks School is in the preparation stage, carrying out visits to the communities in Aldeia Marajaí and PAE Lago Grande. These and another five communities in three different states in the country will be part of the School taking place between June and December this year. Learn more about the visits here and here [available in Portuguese].

  •  Are community networks an important strategy for digital inclusion? Yes, according to the article "Community networks: Connecting the underserved to empower all", by Inyene Ibanga, for Nigeria’s Premium Times. Read more.

  •  In this interview, Carlos Afonso, the executive director of APC member organisation Instituto Nupef, advocates for universal connectivity and highlights the importance of community-led initiatives. Read more. Also available in Portuguese on Instituto Nupef's website.

Gendering community networks
  • Can community networks bring hope during a life-changing global pandemic? Follow this GenderIT thread and discover how community networks are transforming realities. Through intersectional approaches, they embody infrastructures of resistance and bring hope to their communities.

  • Have you ever felt that policy and regulatory spaces on access and digital inclusion were not welcoming or were even not safe for diverse people, like women or gender-diverse, queer or trans individuals? In an online poll, 80.4% said yes. Find some reflections about this challenging reality from participants in the Socio-Political Advocacy for Community Networks Engagement (SPACE) mentorship programme. Read more.

News on policy and regulation
  • A call for pledges to empower communities and enable local solutions: APC's executive director, Chat Garcia Ramilo, highlighted the importance of community networks in building innovative and community-centred models to overcome access inequalities during the Partner2Connect Web Dialogue. Read more.

  • In the article "Enabling Telecom Regulatory Frameworks for Community Networks in Africa", Josephine Miliza shares insights from Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Read more.

  • CITAD calls for a national policy for community networks in Nigeria, featured on media outlet This Day Live Nigeria. Read more.

  • "Saving TVWS”, by Steve Song, provides an overview of the Television White Space technology regulation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Read more.

  • A group of women set up a community network in an area without internet connectivity in Brazil – the Ribeirão Grande/Terra Seca quilombo community. These are their reflections while conducting a participatory research process on community networks. Read more.

  • This white paper assesses feminist internet research on internet governance and policy, with a particular focus on scholarship in the global South. Read more.

  • This article focuses on zero rating and the infrastructure of political communication in Brazil. Read more.

Funding opportunities
  • Applications are now open for the 2022 Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia) Grants cycle. ISIF Asia focuses on organisations across the Asia Pacific region, supporting them in researching, designing and implementing internet-based solutions to solve internet development challenges that support community development and growth. The deadline is due 15 May. Read more.

Previous editions
  • Previous editions of this newsletter are available here.

This newsletter is part of the Local Networks (LocNet) initiative, an initiative led by APC in partnership with Rhizomatica that aims to directly support the work of community networks and to contribute to an enabling ecosystem for the emergence and growth of community networks and other community-based connectivity activities in developing countries. You can read more about the initiative herehere, and here

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