BasicInternet:Wakoma follow-up Oct2020


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BasicInternet:Wakoma follow-up Oct2020

Title BasicInternet:Wakoma_follow-up_Oct2020
Date, Time 2020/10/14, 1100-1200
Contact Person Josef.Noll
Participants Josef.Noll, Eric Nitschke
related to Project BasicInternet
Keywords Community Networks, Learning Management System, Village Platform
this page was created by Special:FormEdit/Meeting, and can be edited by Special:FormEdit/Meeting/BasicInternet:Wakoma follow-up Oct2020

Discussion topics and conclusions

We had a technology exchange regarding the LMS/Community Platform by Wakoma, and agreed on the following steps ahead:

  1. Continue to explore ways to make "", the Wakoma Platform, and other similar platforms, and/or the content and services therein compatible. Suggestion is to create a UNICEF Innovation project (or similar), where the structure of the portal are open source modules, and where the content and services can be selected and configured by communities in their preferred platform.
  2. To this end, it would be useful to create a document that lists such platforms/services/content and relevant organizations who might be willing to engage in such an open source project

Next meeting 4Nov2020 at 11:00h Oslo time

Technology topics addressed

Common goals of open source platforms:

  • be able to work in resources-constraint environments, both with respect to bandwidth costs and capabilities of the server
  • based on open source modules to ensure applicability by every community
  • scalable, to be deployed in small communities on e.g. low cost single-board computers, in areas and on a country level
  • enables easy "drag and drop" content and course creation
  • enables off-line capability, e.g. allowing students to take the content home
  • user management
  • supporting a freemium model and other models for content, with e.g. free courses and premium certificates through exams, memberships, paid courses, etc.
  • monitoring and usage reporting (of statistical data), to allow feedback to donors of content, e.g. Global Health Media
  • applicability in other community networks

The Learning Management System (LMS)/Community Platform and Nimble built by Wakoma contain these features, and are built solely on open source hardware and software. Examples are:

  • Dockerized services, allowing the free mixing of functionality needed in a specific community or context
  • Wordpress for easy creation of content and front-end management
  • Nextcloud for file hosting and easy sharing, and Nextcloud Talk for video/voice chat.

Wakoma is also working with partners VPUU and iNethi to collaboratively develop new features and functionality useful for community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives around the world. Eric is also a proponent of OpenZIM and the work being done by the Kiwix and Internet in a Box IIAB teams.

Open issues

Q1: Still somewhat unclear what the portals contain, beyond "health, education, governmental information and other relevant information"

A: Please have the look at the portal used in India National_Knowledge_Portal, where the content is both related to information, and for business processes within the government.

Q2: web/mobile-based access to the portals is clear. Who will pay for/manage local access to the portal via wifi on mini-servers?

A: That's where the freemium model comes in. Free for information (Internet Lite), and premium for broadband content and other stuff. Thus, the business around the local info spots is the core of the concept. As you see in DigI:Villages, our communities BOACSE, USEVYA, tzCNA, AHERI stand for the business

Q3: What are some examples of existing or similar portals? or related eGovernance platforms etc.

A: Yes, you see the country portals on National_Knowledge_Portal, and we work with Digital Skills Foundation, as well as Kortext. Have also seen some other platforms, but as you mentioned, nothing that really allowed the value creation in the local community

Q4: With such a top-down approach how can one ensure the portals won't become channels for propaganda, advertising, etc.

A: You can't. If the government decides to spread information, then they will do. Our assumption is that the sector sites are handled by national committees, e.g. education by the MoE, health by the National Health Institute and the MoH,... These organisations, though having a political leader, know very well what the "trustworthy information" towards a topic is. In fact, COVID-19 has shown that the governments are regarded as being more trustworthy than Google, Facebook.... - And, at the end of the day, it's about giving the ownership back to the national governments. As India's president Mohdi pointed out: We have been colonised once. We are not going to be colonised a second time, this time by data. No "free basics" by Facebook in India!.
The top-down is on the information. In addition, I expect the local content to be generated by local communities - and what is happening there, no idea.

Q5: How can the portals be used by and improved upon by real people in low-resource contexts.

A: our example is from health in the Massai area in Tanzania. a) not mobile broadband, b) not smartphones, c) women not participating in the digital life. - the entry point was the health portal, with every health station having 3 tablets. As the government policies are "free access to health services - no discrimination", it was an easy way of allowing women to share the tablets and have both health literacy and through that get digital literacy. Furthermore, education at school on health topics was very successful, and our health videos, being available in both Swahili and English, were used to learn English.

Q6: What is the link between the Portals and business models for connectivity and/or content?

A: Its the compelling demand for regulations: "Free access to the National Knowledge Portal". And in fact, in Ethiopia the government introduced free access to the National Digital Library (NDL), COVID-19, MoH and national Institute for Health as a COVID-19 response, see National Knowledge Portal. Furthermore, we answer the demand from the government of Norway. Our government put out four topics for "Digital Transformation in Development Policy" being Access, Skills, Regulations and Inclusion.
- Access through InfoSpots
- Skills through the Portal
- Regulations through "free access to the portal", and
- Inclusion through the freemium model for access (Internet Lite).