As a newcomer to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2022) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I attended the newcomers' session, specifically for first timers.

My Experience as a First-timer at the Internet Governance Forum 2022

By Nicodemus Nyakundi

As a newcomer to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2022) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I attended the newcomers’ session, specifically for first-timers. 

In the session, we were introduced to the IGF’s structure for connecting with stakeholders, learning from the different sessions and contributing ideas, and IGF’s program components. We were also presented with the IGF’s processes and their historical development. 

In addition, we learned about its inter-sessional work that focuses on Best practice Forums (BPFs), Policy Networks (PNs), and Dynamic Coalitions (DCS), and how they relate to this year’s theme: Resilient Internet for a shared sustainable and Common future.

I proceeded to the opening ceremony with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, His Excellency Aby Ahmed, as the guest of honour. The PM officially launched the forum and called for trust, equity, and security in cyberspace, sentiments shared by KICTANet in promoting accessibility and equality

Further, he called for data strategies to strengthen internet standards and promote national values while focusing on innovation and emerging technologies. The PM emphasised that we need tangible, pragmatic, and implementable strategies to achieve this.

At a town hall discussion on “Access to Remedies in Safeguarding Rights to Privacy and Data,” Ms Cynthia Chepkemoi, a data protection advocate from Kenya, shared the mechanisms of seeking redress and handling complaints under data privacy laws. The session culminated in an interactive exchange on the roles of regulatory bodies in data protection, access to remedies, and government and institutional compliance.

Finally, I joined fellow digital and internet enthusiasts in discussing the intersection of disinformation and other online harms skewed towards combating digital offenses. 

It was paramount at this point to highlight the issue of online gender-based violence and how Kenya, through its multistakeholder approach, KICTANet, came up with strategies like digital literacy and data protection training that targeted the most vulnerable—specifically women in politics and media

I would have ended my first day at the IGF2022, but I need to remember to mention the IGF 2022 dinner hosted by the Ethiopian government at Friends Park in the heart of Addis Ababa.

As a delegate and first-timer in Addis, I was thrilled by their traditional music and cuisine. Finally, to close it off, we stepped to the dance floor to shake off the day with music from the IGF music band. 

I look forward to more significant discussions, insights, interactions, and networking, specifically on accessibility and equality.

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Nicodemus Nyakundi is an ICT Access and Equality Fellow for PwDs at KICTANet. He has a background in  Information Technology.

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