AIRA MONTHLY BULLETIN (NOVEMBER)
1) Paradigm Initiative hosted the Net Rights Coalition webinar on the Universal Periodic Review(UPR). The purpose of the webinar was to strategise on how to leverage the UPR for greater impact. . The meeting noted that UPR recommendations are an important tool that can be used to hold governments accountable, create public awareness about the value of free internet and ultimately, drive change at the domestic level. The webinar also highlighted the effectiveness of Uproar tools, a system that can be used to make recommendations and track progress of their implementation.
2) Paradigm Initiative, in collaboration with Koneta Initiative, hosted a Digital Literacy workshop in Juba, South Sudan on 19th November. The workshop aimed to create awareness about opportunities presented by the digital space, and to train young people to explore their capabilities. The workshop was part of Paradigm Initiative’s plans for expansion of the LIFE program to South Sudan.
3) Paradigm Initiative also commenced with publicity plans for the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) project. They started socialization of the policy briefs that constitute as major parts of the project. The policy briefs are focused on three central African countries (The Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and the Central African Republic), they highlight the state of digital rights and internet freedom in those countries, the measures employed to improve the digital rights space and strides taken.
4) Paradigm Initiative and Global Partners Digital on November 30th hosted the second AI virtual stakeholders convening focused on building a rights-respecting AI policy for Nigeria. They discussed the policy brief Towards A Rights-Respecting Artificial Intelligence Policy for Nigeria which can be accessed here. The convening recommended that Nigeria's AI policy should consider; the need for AI upskilling and reskilling, a human-centric approach to data governance, and alignment with supranational rights-respecting AI standards.
On 1st December, Paradigm Initiative shall be part of the discussion titled Digital Rights: Expanding Frontiers of Constitutional Rights. Join the conversation here.
1) CIPESA on November 12 sponsored the Uganda Internet Governance Forum (UIGF). The forum has since 2006 been a platform for deliberation on internet governance concerns in the country such as the need for increased providing meaningful connectivity for everyone, security, digital trust and stability of the internet. The 2021 UIGF was hosted under the theme “Envisioning an Internet of Tru st and Resilience in Uganda.” The sessions had speakers from various sectors including Airtel Uganda, Uganda Communications Commission, Crypto Savannah.
In the lead up to the International Disability Day, on December 3, 2021, CIPESA is inviting journalists from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to apply for a two-day media training on Disability and Digital Rights in Africa. The virtual training will take place over two full days on December, 1-2, 2021. Apply here.
CIPESA is reviewing their activities and work from 2021 and exploring key insights for the year 2022.
ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa
1) Article 19 Eastern Africa on 24th November co-hosted a discussion on the state of civic freedoms in Tanzania. The discussion was led by various stakeholders from civil society and government. They emphasized the need to change the law and ensure it promotes the rights guaranteed in the constitution of Tanzania.
2) On 5th November 2021, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa sent a memorandum to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in Kenya expressing concern that the Draft Strategic Plan Financial Year 2021-2023 failed to address the complementary nature of data protection with other information rights. It further failed to provide a framework to ensure the Act is implemented in harmony with existing legislation. Article 19 recommends that the Office of the Data Protection Commission issues a guidance note harmonizing the Data Protection Act 2019 with the Access to information Act 2016 and expand the scope of self-regulation. Read the full memorandum here.
3) ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa on 24.11.2021 issued a press statement condemning the continued crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Sudan by security forces, the arrest and intimidation of journalists and the shutdown of the internet. They called for the government to cease further arbitrary arrests and use of lethal force in response to peaceful protests and an independent investigation into the killings and the release of those arbitrarily detained. Read the statement here.
4) ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa made an oral submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on 17 November. The statement was on the situation of Freedom of Expression, Association, Assembly and Access to Information in Eastern Africa. Article 19 Eastern Africa raised its concerns about; shrinking civic space in Eastern Africa, Legal and policy threats to freedom of expression and access to information, and restriction to media freedom. Read the full statement here.
5) ARTICLE19 Eastern Africa issued a press statement expressing concern over threats to freedom of expression and access to information arising from the ongoing armed conflict in Ethiopia between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government. The state of emergency declared on November 4 2021, which grants the authorities unchecked powers to detain anyone suspected of having links with “terrorist” groups without a court warrant and judicial oversight is of particularly concern. Read it here.
Article 19 Eastern Africa is reviewing their activities in December 2021 and shall continue to defend freedom of expression & information in 14 Eastern African states in 2022.
1) Isaac Rutenberg, Director of The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) authored an article on the Good ID website. The article assesses the impact the adoption of the National Integrated Identity Management System NIIMS - popularly referred to as Huduma Namba on Kenya's digital ID, data protection, and privacy landscapes. The article noted that the adoption of NIIMS has had a significant impact on Kenya's digital ID, data protection, and privacy landscapes, including increased awareness amongst all stakeholders on key issues related to security, privacy, and the rights of data subjects. Read the article here.
CIPIT welcomes submissions for its 2021/2022 volume of the Journal for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (JIPIT). The deadline is 31st December 2021. All submissions and enquiries should be emailed to [email protected]
1) Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) in partnership with the UK Government Digital Access Program hosted a webinar on November 25th titled Cybersecurity in Kenya: Priorities for a Post COVID-19 World under the theme Building Back Better. The meeting recommended an assessment of the status of cybersecurity in Kenya to inform strategies to deal with the emergence of new tech like Internet of things, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence.
2) The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) formulated a Licensing and Shared Spectrum Framework for Community Networks, with contributions from KICTANet, the entire community, and other partners (the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, and supported by the United Kingdom’s Digital Access Programme). The license application fee is Ksh1000 which is considered affordable compared to the lowest fee in the Network Facilities Provider license where an initial license fee is ksh200,000. Read more about the licensing here.
KICTANET is Investing time in reviewing, reflecting and strategizing on the growth of their institutions and having more impact on digital rights in 2022.
Amnesty International- Kenya
1) Amnesty International Kenya released a statement titled ‘Educate, don’t coerce Kenyans to take the Covid-19 vaccine’. This is in response to the Kenya authority’s announcement that from the 21st of December everyone who is not vaccinated will be barred from using public transport and accessing government buildings. The statement urges the Government of Kenya to abandon coercive and un-implementable mandatory measures. Instead, the National Emergency Response Committee is advised to accelerate effective education programs to address vaccine uptake and misinform transparently. Read the full statement here. Amnesty International's Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton, also analyzed the problematic issues concerning the announcement. Watch the analysis here
2) Amnesty International conducted training in Garissa County on Freedom of Expression and digital rights. Digital rights expert Victor Ndede tackled digital rights and public order management, it's limitations and what we need to look out for during protests. The lessons included explanation of the rights under digital rights and they include; right to privacy, freedom of association and assembly, right not to have personal information revealed, freedom of expression, freedom of media and the right to protest.
Amnesty International Kenya is reviewing their 2021 activities and projects and shall continue to defend human rights and digital rights in 2022.
1) On the 25th of November, BudgIt organized its Thursday Talks sessions that discussed “Broadening Youth Participation in the Electoral Process.” This month's edition of Thursday Talks explored pre-existing issues affecting youth participation in the electoral process, whilst proffering practical solutions that can drive mass youth involvement in the electoral value chain. It was advised that as 2023 steadily approaches, it is imperative that the youth arise & mobilize effectively.
2) With support from Oxfam in Nigeria, BudgIT engaged stakeholders, CSOs & the media in Rivers State on the “Cost of Corruption on Benefit Transfers for Artisanal Miners". The workshop was targeted at building citizen-led movements for change in the Niger Delta region. CSOs across the country were urged to be actively involved in the fight against corruption while stressing the need for better anti- corruption advocacy at the grassroots level.
LEAP Africa in collaboration with BudgIT Foundation & MacArthur Foundation announced its call for applications for the Youth Leadership Program 2021 on the 5th of November, 2021. The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) is a 4-month Blended Leadership program for young Nigerian undergraduates aged 18 - 30years which aims to equip and empower them with the skills, knowledge and resources required to become transformative leaders and active citizens who will drive sustainable development in their communities. The program is in 6 stages and runs for 4 months (November 2021 - February 2022). Read more about the program here.
1) LRC published a paper titled “Keeping the Promise of Dignity and Freedom for All – A Position Paper on Legal Gender Recognition in South Africa.'' The paper recommends that trans and gender diverse individuals can have their gender legally recognized. It breaks down pronouns, gender identity, gender nonconforming, preferred pronouns, internal sense and other complex issues regarding the LGBTIQ community. Read it here.1) LRC published a paper titled “Keeping the Promise of Dignity and Freedom for All – A Position Paper on Legal Gender Recognition in South Africa.'' The paper recommends that trans and gender diverse individuals can have their gender legally recognized. It breaks down pronouns, gender identity, gender nonconforming, preferred pronouns, internal sense and other complex issues regarding the LGBTIQ community. Read it here.
Legal Resources Centre continues its efforts to use the law to strengthen human rights and equality in 2022.
1) On November 24th, POLLICY brought together four inspiring women to discuss their journeys into working within technology policy. This was at the African Women in Tech Policy Monthly Meetup. The speakers were diverse including Pearle Nwaezeigwe – Policy Manager Africa at TikTok, Hon Neema Lugangira – MP form Tanzania, Hekinna Ayalew – Liquid Technologies and Aida Bdiaye – Meta. Watch the full session here.
2) POLLICY co-hosted the SADC Roundtable on Online Gender Based Violence & launch of 8-country reports on GBV. At the roundtable, it was agreed that support that can/should be provided to online gender-based violence victim has to be ‘survivor driven’. Watch a highlight of the discussion here.
3) POLLICY with sponsorship by GIZ conducted a training with the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) on organizational digitalization in Agago, Pader, Mbale and Soroti districts with various CSOs. Selected UHRC Head Office staff underwent training in social media, data collection and analysis, digital tools for remote working environment and digital security and safety at @dolphinsuites Bugolobi.
UpcomingActivities:POLLICY continues working at the intersection of data, design and technology with focus on data feminism, civic tech, and digital rights.
CIPIT published an article titled Smart Farming: Opportunities and Challenges for Artificial Intelligence in Africa’s Agriculture. The article notes that there has been an overall decline in the share of gross domestic product (GDP) brought in by agriculture due to urbanization. Technological advancements are making it possible to inhibit the costs of agricultural production. AI can help agricultural production through: Monitoring crop and soil health, Crop yield prediction & market price forecasting, Remote agricultural operations, weather forecasting. Read the article here.
BudgIT compiled and published the frivolous, suspicious and inflated projects in the Federal Government’s 2022 budget proposal. A copy of this list was sent to all the members of the National Assembly of Nigeria, including the principal officers for potential adjustments before the final approval is done. Read the document here.
POLLICY published a report tilted ‘Exploring the Future of Data Governance in Africa’. The report investigates broadly data stewardship methods, particularly data collaboratives and data trusts efforts and aims to identify the existing challenges, gaps, opportunities and potential recommendations on how to drive this discourse forward. Access it here.