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"The term local content is derived from two root words: local and content. From these two independent words, it is safe to define local content on the internet as the amount of information, articles and other materials online which people in the particular region can relate to. Increasing local content on the internet is one of the ways by which Africa at large can get increase participation and use of the internet."
                                      -  Modupe Ojo, DIGRA Ambassador  -

In the second week of training, the Ambassadors took on the theme 'Internet for Social Life' and explored three topics including; Digital Citizen Identity, Digital Footprint, and Screen Time Management.

Photo Credit: Livia Turcanu, DIGRA Ambassador
"Edutech Hackathon in Chișinău, and cameraman broadcasting event on a streaming platform."

After an exciting week of community engagement on Internet of Things, they were now charged to investigate what it means to be a digital citizen in their local communities. In addition to being digital citizens, Ambassadors interviewed people in their communities what they thought about local content.

Zimbabwean Ambassador, Eric Moyo, got some feedback on digital citizenship knowledge in his community.

On the challenges of local content, Francophone Ambassador, Providence Baraka wrote;
'The challenge seems greatest! We were all raised and studied in foreign languages. In my assignment, I met with young people from secondary school. All the research they tried to make for their studies were made in foreign languages, because they could not find what they are looking for (in local languages)'.

Tayo Adeboye, another DIGRA Ambassador, gave the context of Nigeria which has over 250 ethnic groups and 774 local government areas. He said,

'There is already enough English content on the internet. I thought of having some content in other local languages like Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. But the truth is, these local content would only be accessed by the older generation because reading and writing culture of youths in their local dialects is gradually and consistently being lost in our society.'

Samuel Abiodun agreed saying,
'Having local content on the internet will promote (local) language and save it from dying.'

The contest of the value of local content continued with Ambassador Mahum Tariq saying "In Pakistan we have Urdu as our national language. English as our official language. Different views expressed during our discussions were;

'English is our official language, there is absolutely no need of content in local language. Our government should ensure that everybody across the country learns and understands English'."

Sowmya Srinivasan contested this idea by stating;

'Isn't the point of increasing local content a means to the end of a more inclusive internet space? Even if we, the literate youth, are unaware of how to read and write in our local language, we can still advocate a means to introduce the local content in order to increase digital citizenship for those who aren't.'

The purpose of the local content community engagement was to highlight the need of local content to bridge the digital divide in accessing the internet. This opened conversation on digital citizenship and raised awareness of the role local netizens have in creating an internet that represents them and their language or culture. It also reviewed the challenges local content can bring.

There were many great discussions by brilliant youth in IG spread across 36 countries in the Digital Grassroots Ambassadors program Cohort 1 and not all could be highlighted in this single post. Key discussions of youth in Internet Governance will be featured in a detailed Digital Grassroots communique at the end of year.

What's Next?

In the final week of training before mentorship, week 3, Ambassadors will explore local policies supporting or inhibiting the growth of a healthier internet in their local communities.

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

Photo Credit: Providence Baraka, DIGRA Ambassador

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