Photo: National validation meeting of various actors and the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Board (MAB) for the Internet Universality Indicators’ assessment in Kenya, 28 February 2020.
“Major recommendations for various stakeholders such as the government, civil society, private sector and the media in Kenya, are formulated on the implementation of policies and laws, enhancing of institutional capacities, creating public awareness as well as bridging the digital, the data and knowledge divides”.
This is the key outcome achieved by the participants in the national validation event convened by Kenya’s ICT Action Network (KICTANet), the UNESCO commissioned leading institution of ROAM-X indicators assessment project in Kenya, on 28 February 2020.
Grace Githaiga from KICTANet presented an overview of the ROAM-X indicators Framework and shared the results of the National Assessment Report on the 109 core indicators. She highlighted that “UNESCO's Internet Universality Indicators are a compilation of 303 indicators aimed at evaluating the state of development of the Internet at national level using the ROAM principles of human rights, openness, accessibility and multi-stakeholder involvement.”
A number of concrete policy recommendations targeting various stakeholders were discussed in depth during the meeting. For instance, to advance human rights, the government was advised to review the licensing framework to include non-commercial business models for provision of ICT services. The academia was also recommended to disseminate research findings on various platforms to foster Multistakeholder participation. Regarding cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, developers of software, social media, and content were urged to actively engage in developing products promoting positive and safe online spaces for all users, particularly for women and girls.
Participants also exchanged the challenges faced during the assessment process including difficulty in accessing required data, short timelines to complete and limited government participation. Grace Githaiga concluded that the recommendations given by the different stakeholders would be put into consideration and incorporated in the final report, which is to be finalized by March 30th.
As mentioned above, the Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators framework is a set of 303 indicators that aims to assess how well national stakeholders including governments, companies and civil society perform in adhering to the ROAM standards of Rights, Openness, Accessiblity, Multistakeholder participation. Developed over a three-year process of global and inclusive consultations with stakeholders, it was endorsed in November 2018 by the 31st Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Since then, UNESCO has been working with stakeholders and encouraging more countries to implement national assessments of Internet development using the Indicators.
Countries such as Kenya and Brazil have already carried out the national assessments using the UNESCO ROAM-X indicators. In fact, Brazil completed the first assessment of Internet Universality indicators and has been published by UNESCO as the first edition of the newly created Series of National Assessment of Internet Universality Indicators:
The final assessment report in Kenya will be published by UNESCO as a new edition in the Series.
More information at project website: https://en.unesco.org/internetuniversality