Josephine Miliza

Author Archives: Josephine Miliza

Reimagining the Africa Community Networks Summit during the COVID-19 Pandemic

At the Virtual Summit on Community Networks in Africa over 200 local connectivity network operators learn better ways to bring affordable and reliable connectivity to underserved communities.

Every year since 2016, community network operators, allies, partners, policymakers, and regulators in the region gather for the Summit on Community Networks in Africa. The gathering enables them to learn, share experiences, collaborate, and find solutions to connect the unconnected.

Last year’s summit was held in Dodoma, Tanzania under the theme Towards Resilient Community Networks. Fantsuam Foundation, one of the oldest community networks in Africa, who after building a vast network lost everything due to sectarian violence, inspired this theme.

This year’s event built on 2019’s theme but focused on navigating new challenges community networks faced in 2020 as they grappled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the global pandemic prevented a physical gathering for the community networks, it presented an opportunity to reimagine the summit and find ways to promote collaboration, engagement, and learning among community network operators as well as the supporting ecosystem.

During the pandemic, access to the Internet has become a lifeline with day-to-day activities shifting online and responses to curb the spread of the virus with Continue reading

Remembering Francis Kariuki: Africa’s Tweeting Chief

The African community networks community is sad to learn about the passing of one of its prolific members, Chief Francis Kariuki of Lanet-Umoja, a rural community in Nakuru County, Kenya. He died on on 21 October 2020 after a short illness.

Chief Kariuki was a renowned Kenyan administrator who pioneered the use of technology to foster development, justice, trust, peace, and inclusion in his community. His struggle for digital inclusion earned him several nicknames, including “The Digital Champion” and “The Tweeting Chief,” for being the first African local administrator to use social media channels to promote community development. His passion and drive for adopting technologies in service delivery at the local level earned him national and global recognition.

Chief Kariuki was a strong advocate for community networks in Africa. He successfully championed for a community network in Lanet-Umoja and worked with his community members to coordinate its installation, operation, and management.

Beyond Kenya, Chief Kariuki engaged in the Africa Summits on Community Networks, a platform where community network operators in Africa gather to foster learning, networking, knowledge, and experience sharing. At the Summits, Chief Kariuki shared key insights on community networks and inspired many young people to adopt digital Continue reading