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FIRE Award Winners receive prize at IGF 2017

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AFRINIC participated at the 2017 Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2017) from 18 to 21 December 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The theme ‘Shape your Digital Future’, welcomed around 2,000 Delegates from 142 economies to participate at a total of 260 sessions, in addition there were 32 remote hubs with some 1,600 online participants.

FIRE winners

FIRE Africa 2017 Awardees at the SEED Alliance Ceremony 

The FIRE Africa Award winners received their trophies during the Seed Alliance Award ceremony which took place on18 December 2017, alongside the winners from the other Seed Alliance sister programmes, LACNIC's FRIDA and APNIC's ISIF Asia.

The FIRE Africa Awards seek to acknowledge innovative initiatives in Africa that have made concrete contributions through the use of information and communications technologies and have had a proven impact on the region’s social and economic development. Chosen from nearly 200 applications, the 2017 FIRE Africa Award winners received a US$3,000 cash prize and a travel grant to attend the IGF 2017 to showcase their projects on the global stage, meet winners from other regions and network with other like-minded individuals and tech entrepreneurs.

Alan Barrett, AFRINIC CEO, gave the opening speech and thanked the 2017 Seed Alliance sponsors, namely the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Internet Society (ISOC) who played a key part in setting up the strong foundations on which the Seed Alliance programme is based. Dr. Raúl Echeberría, Vice President Global Engagement from Internet Society, Laurent Elder (IDRC), Duncan Macintosh from the APNIC Foundation, Laura Kaplan and Carolina Caeiro from LACNIC and Vymala Thuron from AFRINIC, also delivered speeches.

Words from the 2017 FIRE Award winners:

Henri Nyakarungi from African Renewable Energy Distributor

"Fire Award validated our solution on an international level, We hoping to find more partners and expand our reach in other countries because of the media attention we have been receiving from the Award event. I am excited to be part of the Seed alliance community and I meet like minded people that are bring social impact solutions to people at the base on the pyramidRaoul Blaise from Eduair Box:

"IGF has been an opportunity to exchange with people from all over the world on the solutions to promote exchanges in the world through the internet. Fire award has allowed us to share our innovation with experts and people passionate about NICTs. opinions allowed us to have a more global vision of the project. We will continue to thank the AFRINIC and FIRE team for rewarding our years of work. Many innovators need to be encouraged by this type of initiative"

Asia Kamukama from Maendeleo Foundation 

"It was very exciting for me to attend IGF for the first time. During the meeting, I was able to listen to engaging global conversations, and interacted with lots of people whom I can learn from and collaborate with. The FIRE Award has so far given Maendeleo Foundation a lot of global recognition and it will be used as a spring board to reach more communities with internet access. I was very thrilled to receive the award and very honored to receive the prize in front of so many people. As an organisation, receiving the award and being recognized by SEED Alliance is motivation for us to continue spreading our work it makes us feel like we are not walking this journey alone but with people that care and strive to make the internet inclusive"

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The 2017 winners were congratulated by Oscar Robles, CEO of LACNIC and ISOC as the SEED Alliance sponsor 

  • ISIF Asia 2017 Award: Democratizing Decision Support: PetaBencana.id Platform for Equitable Disaster Resilience", Indonesia 
  • FRIDA 2017 Award: Coding Rights, Brazil
  • FRIDA 2017 Award: Universidad del Oriente for Armonía, Cuba
  • FIRE Africa 2017 Award: EduAir for EduAirBox, Cameroon
  • FIRE Africa 2017 Award: Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) for The Last Mile Connectivity, Rwanda
  • FIRE Africa 2017 Award: Maendeleo Foundation for The Mobile Solar Computer Classroom, Uganda

AFRINIC gave an African perspective through the participation of Alan Barrett and Vymala Poligadu-Thuron at the IGF Workshop:

Seed Alliance & gender inclusion: Towards greater female leadership in Internet (OF19): The Seed Alliance is exploring for its 2018-2019 grant cycle, a greater emphasis on gender inclusion and leadership, and part of that should translate into how funding is allocated and how many women-led initiatives are supported. This session gave opportunities to the audience to express their views on how to integrate gender inclusion and seek insights on what Internet-related technical issues require investment across the Global South. Some of the many challenges faced by women-led social enterprises and startups in the developing countries in networking, capacity building, and growing their projects, and ways to solve those challenges were also shared.

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How devices, content & innovative business models shape our digital future: creativity with purpose (WS71): Most of the conversations are around the use of devices that are developed in the north, with traditional business models for commercial viability in mind. The panelists gave an overview of the many challenges with the technologies that can be of use to connect communities in underserved areas and the challenges to provide reliable connectivity that supports economic and social development. 

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How devices, content & innovative business models shape our digital future: creativity with purpose (WS71)

NRIs Collaborative Session: Working together on national regional level to encourage IPv6 deployment: Experiences and addressing challenges: The Panelists gave their perspective on the national and regional level to encourage IPv6 deployment: Experiences and addressing challenges. Due to the exhaustion of IPv4 address space, the version of technical identifier which has been used from early days of the Internet, the new version of IP addressed called IPv6 has been developed with abundant stocks. The deployment of IPv6 is needed to provide addresses for millions of new internet users in the future; therefore it is a prerequisite for access and growth, relevant to all regions and economies.

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Alan Barrett and myself had a working session with Vinton Cerf to seek further partnership with Google and FIRE Africa.

Seed Alliance 

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SEED Alliance Booth

The SEED Alliance and the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) each had a booth providing IGF attendees with valuable information on the RIR system and the work of the Seed Alliance and the three regional programmes - FIRE Africa, FRIDA and ISIF Asia.

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The Libre Router Project

The Libre Router Project, the 2017 Grantees supported by the three Programmes did a demonstration on Wednesday 20 at the Seed Alliance Booth.

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