Internet of Things - DIGRA Ambassadors Program

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Photo Credit: Wevyn Muganda - Digital Grassroots Ambassador Cohort 1

Digital Grassroots works to proactively engage youth in addressing internet related issues in their communities through digital literacy, networking, and online activism. This month, we launched our maiden Digital Grassroots Ambassadors program. Our selected Ambassadors come from 36 countries across the globe and our gender distribution in the cohorts was 50/50.

The above cover photo from Wevyn Muganda proves youth are doing great things in their community through internet literacy and our program is fostered to create more community engagement through youth to eradicate issues online, which inevitably will increase wellbeing offline.

In reference to the photo, Wevyn writes:

'The biggest problem in the communities nearby now is the rise of online recruitment to violent extremism and radicalisation (Mombasa, Kenya). While recruitment is still taking place offline through recruiters, now it is moving to social media spaces. My colleagues and I conducted this training to empower the youths on how to stay safe online using strong passwords, how to avoid phishing and scams and how to use the internet and social media to impact change.'

About Cohort One of the Digital Grassroots Ambassadors Program

The Digital Grassroots Ambassadors Cohort 1 kickstarted on 15 February 2017. After a competitive selection of 875 applications - 30% of whom were female applicants - we shortlisted 100 candidates for cohort 1 beginning in February and Cohort 2 starting in May 2018. 

Our Ambassadors will undergo 4 weeks of training which includes readings and discussions online as well as community engagement in their respective regions on internet related issues. Thereafter, our Ambassadors will be matched with keynote mentors in the space of internet governance with an aim to propel the engagement of youth in IG matters.

Each participant in the program is assigned a trainer from the Digital Grassroots team as a guide through this journey of youth participation in Internet Governance. Ambassadors in Cohort 1 were divided into 3 groups dubbed 'Team Bionic Woman', 'Team Shuri' and 'Team Robocop' in order to engage in discussions via Facebook groups and our Digital Natives Forum.

Internet Of Things (IoT) Community Engagement

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Source: Online

During group discussions, DIGRA Ambassador Bedzina shared the above chart. Tatenda, another Ambassador, gave it her interpretation.

"I think this chart shows the relationship between the internet and the community. It is like an ecosystem. What you feed in is definitely translated out in a bid to make the user happy as well as give them information with respect to data usage. So the data user and the internet itself are in sync."

For week 1, Ambassadors were recommended the movie 'The Circle' to analyze the depth of Internet of Things in our daily lives and interactions.

Moses, a Digital Grassroots Ambassador said;

"I've watched the movie (The Circle). It's touched exactly my fears of the dangers of IoT. There will always be controllers and powers behind every system and they either have uncensored access or exempt. After all, some selected few are always most likely above the law."

Reginald thought we should put more focus on IoP or Internet of People and wrote;

"...It is true that computing between human devices and human social life brings about the concept of Internet of People (IoP) whereby the fast expansion of the Internet at its edge, and tighter interactions between human users and their personal computing devices push toward an internet where the human user becomes more central than ever..."

There were many great discussion points raised by Digital Grassroots Ambassadors and not all could be highlighted in this blog post, however, we are committed to putting these reflections in a communique about Youth in Internet Governance this year.

Week 1 - Community Engagement in Various Regions

The first assignment our Ambassadors were given was to see how IoT relates to our daily lives through a photo story series exercise. This was related to the course study they were doing on Internet for Security which included Digital Rights, Cyber Security Management, and Cyber Bullying Management.

Digital Grassroots Ambassadors had to initiate community engagement with at least three people in their community to identify how frequently community members used IoT and any possible challenges faced.

The purpose of the exercise was to make IoT issues more realistic for youth as well as communities they live in. Security risks through devices are ignored when netizens do not have knowledge on Internet Literacy, and through this assignment our Ambassadors opened conversations on these key issues.  

What's Next?

In week 2, Ambassadors will be reaching out to their community to find out just how relevant Local Content can be. 

Stay tuned for insightful photo stories on IoT and Local Content as well, on a rolling basis.

Check out the Internet of Things photostory 
by Digital Grassroots Ambassador Manuela by clicking here.

To learn more about what we do and get involved, please contact us through our contact form or tweet us @digigrassroots

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