This year’s annual community network exchange was organised on 15th,17th and 21st November online with a specific focus on Community Networks for Social Good. Community Networks is the use of networking technologies by, and for, local communities providing a sustainable solution to address the connectivity gaps that exist in underserved urban, remote, and rural areas around the world.
The event was attended by several experts, practitioners and policy makers across Asia Pacific region, to share their experiences, knowledge and build a path towards a better community network. First day started with setting the context discussing about the challenges faced and the opportunities that lie ahead, especially after the pandemic.
The second day of the event specifically focused on the synergies between community radio and community networks to explore the scopes of collaboration to provide content and enhanced information to the communities. These interactive sessions discussed successful cases from the barefoot college of Tilonia where the community network and community radio work in tandem; the DREAM project of APC and DEF how the spread of misinformation was tackled through chatbot and the community radio; and the wireless mew community of Nuh district Haryana who run their own community radio.
The community radio practitioners and the experts on community media stressed the importance of building up more community radios and demanded the use of funds such as the Universal Service Obligation Funds for this purpose.
Short videos of successful models were screened on all three days to demonstrate the potential of community networks in serving rural and remote areas. The conference was jointly hosted by Digital Empowerment Foundation and Internet Society in partnership with APNIC Foundation, Association for Progressive Communications, Alliance for Affordable Internet, Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development, Action for Hope and Landscapes of Hope.