Almost 5 years ago, I launched an Internet based innovation company and watched it grow to 32 African countries in just a few years. One tool changed my life. It changed how I work, how I build friendships, how I learn, and so much more.
I see the same opportunities for anyone in Zimbabwe and it’s because of this that I’m so excited to announce that the official launch of the Zimbabwe Chapter of the Internet Society is officially scheduled for 20 March 2015.
A Connected Zimbabwe
Approximately 40 percent (5.2 million) of Zimbabwe’s population are Internet users as of January 2014. This contrasts with 15.7 percent in 2011 and 0.4 percent in the year 2000. Most of the users (5.16 million) access Internet via mobile devices.
Generally speaking most people use the Internet for communications, with Facebook and Whatsapp being the most popular sites. Video and voice calling with facilities such as Skype are also becoming popular as almost every family in Zimbabwe has a relatives living around the world.
Across the country we’re seeing the rise of e-learning is increasingly becoming popular amongst students of all ages as well as universities and colleges. We also can’t forget how Zimbabweans using the internet to advocate for social, political and economic rights using things like blogs, news applications, and more.
What Needs to Change
As reflected in the growth and penetration rate (40%) Internet in Zimbabwe is a major economic driver and changing how we do business with the world.
However, the industry is dominated by only a few major players so we’re facing unaffordable pricing models. We decided to start the Internet Society Chapter to empower every day Zimbabweans as they learn about the Internet and become their own advocates for change.
We’re also working to improve the development of telecommunications infrastructure in the country, as well as to facilitate open development of standards, protocols, administration, and the technical infrastructure of the Internet.
The Internet needs to be accessible and open to everyone.
How You Can Help
The members of the Internet Society Zimbabwe Chapter are amazing and today we can say the Chapter is much stronger than we ever imagined! It’s very impressive to see the difference the evidence-based advocacy is making.
Beyond the Net Journal: Zimbabwe Chapter #1 Episode
In a country where schools are operating on shoe-string budgets and families barely afford to pay fees, being a student is not always a positive experience. Some endure difficult conditions, like inadequate teaching materials or lack of competent teachers. Access to modern ways of learning such Internet and IoT is a pipe dream.
Zimbabwe currently has an unemployment rate of 85%, but estimates reveal that by 2025 Africa will have tripled internet penetration to around 600 million people opening new opportunities. In this scenario, the software engineer Solomon Kembo and his team believe that The Internet of Things is the real chance for Africa to be part of the global economy.
In collaboration with Zimbabwe Chapter, he applied to “Beyond the Net Funding Programme” with the aim of establishing IoT Makerspaces in selected Zimbabwean schools to inspire and equip local students with IoT skills and resources.
Solomon explains about the origin of the project: “We thought that a IoT Makerspaces could provide a flexible model for exploring how schools could better cultivate the interplay between students’s interest, peer culture, digital tools and academic success.”
The pilot project started at St Peter’s Mbare High School in a suburb of Harare, attended by 20 enthusiastic pupils aged between 12 and 18, who proudly refer to the Makerspace as “The Freedom Makers”. The training will last 9 months with frequency of 2 days a week
.First year program is based on Genuino/Arduino systems due to their low power requirements and flexibility. A starter kit includes components and 15 projects cards to walk students through the basic of coding and electronics. The Do-It-Yourself nature of the project enables them to develop real things and see the fun side of learning. Artifacts build in classroom instill a “maker mindset” stimulating creative thinking and problem solving.”
The students are working on several projects:
Making an interacting traffic light
Creating an Alarm System
Moving a servo to sound signals
Sensing temperature and triggering an alarm
Controlling LEDs with a remote control
Next steps for the following year will be:
Extending the Arduino boards with different types of shields to add more functionality
Getting Raspberry Pi units to explore more powerful applications
Developing IoT applications
Considering to expand the project to other schools
Organizing public events to promote the Chapter activities
Solomon and his team are really passionate about the futuristic nature of this project: “We see daily how the Internet is empowering our students in ways we never imagined before. Developing real IoT applications will provide solutions to problems relevant to their communities and create new career paths. I feel we are giving a chance to their future. “
Hear from their voices
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If you like this story, please share it with your friends. That would tremendously help in spreading the word and raising the visibility of this project. Help more people understand how the Internet can change lives.
Do you have a great idea? We are interested in your project.
We are looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how to make your community better using the Internet. Internet Society “Beyond the Net Funding Programme” funds projects up to $ 30.000 USD.
Including Indigenous voices in the decisions and solutions that shape the Internet is a vital part of closing the global digital divide.
Each year, the community-led Indigenous Connectivity Summit brings together Indigenous leaders, community members, community network operators, Internet service providers, researchers and policy makers with a common goal: connecting Indigenous communities to fast, affordable and sustainable Internet.
The 2019 Indigenous Connectivity Summit will host a two-day conference that focuses on building partnerships, advocating regulatory changes, and sharing success stories of community networks throughout Canada and the United States.
The Internet Society is at the heart of the Internet community and active in conferences and events around the world, many of which it organizes or supports directly.
Together we promote the creation and growth of Community Networks, increase collaboration between community network operators in the region, and provide an opportunity for them to engage with others.
Community Networks provide an alternative and sustainable solution to address the connectivity gaps that exist in urban, remote, and rural areas around the world. In Africa, where these gaps are more evident, a recent survey was able to identify 37 Community Networks initiatives in 12 African countries, 25 of which are considered active. Many more Community Networks have come up after the report, in part, thanks to the training and the experience that have been shared in the previous Summits held in Kenya and South Africa. Among them is the Kondoa Community Network, in Tanzania, which will be featured in this year’s Summit.
The 4th Summit on Community Networks (CNs) in Africa will take place in Dodoma, Tanzania from 28 October – 2 November 2019. The Summit hopes to promote the creation and growth of community networks, increase collaboration between community network operators in the region, and provide an opportunity for them to engage with other stakeholders.
The main activities planned include:
Training Workshop: 28 – 29 October 2019
Community Network Summit Plenary: 30 – 31 October 2019
Site Visit to Kondoa Community Network: 1 – 2 November 2019
In April 2019 the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance published its 10th annual Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll assessing the security and privacy of 1,200 top organizations. The Banking sector includes the top 100 banks in the U.S., based on assets according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Banks had a standout year, with a dramatic increase in scores across the board. Let’s take a closer look.
Overall, 73% of banks made the Honor Roll, putting the banking sector 4th behind the News and Media (78%), Consumer Services (85%), and the U.S. Federal Government (91%) sectors. In the previous Audit, only 27% made the grade. This large jump is due to improvements in all three scoring categories: email authentication, site security, and privacy.
Banks, like most sectors, came close to 100% adoption in the two main email security technologies studied in the Audit: SPF (93%) and DKIM (87%). In addition, banks saw a marked improvement in how many sites implemented both both technologies at 87% in 2018, up from 60% in 2017. This puts banks among the most improved sectors in this area.
DMARC builds on SPF and DKIM results, provides a means for feedback reports and adds visibility for receivers on how to process messages that fail authentication. Banks also did well in DMARC adoption, with the second highest adoption rate (70%) of any sector, second only to the U.S. Federal Government (93%).
Though banks did well in overall site security (and led in areas such as lowest occurrence of cross-site scripting), there were a few areas for improvement. They had by far the highest rate of malware on the sites (10%, vs an overall average of 2%). They also had one of the lowest adoption rates for presence of a vulnerability reporting mechanism (6% vs an overall average of 11%). In light of recent large data breaches, it is especially important to provide a way for security researchers to report vulnerabilities in an efficient way.