The Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) is an important platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, policy directions debated and partnerships forged for action. It hosts diverse skills and capacities for enhancing digital rights and inclusion on the African continent and beyond. It is a Paradigm Initiative (PIN) flagship platform for communities of practice around privacy, affordable Internet, increasing women’s access to digital tools, Internet shutdowns, digital empowerment for underserved communities and similar themes. DRIF has in the past attracted diverse members of civil society, the technical community, academia, government and private sector for shared engagements. DRIF has set its tone as the arena for tough topical global issues around Internet rights, especially in Africa and consolidating views from civil society, technology companies, government, academia and other stakeholders.
The 8th edition of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) will be held between April 12 to 30th, 2021, under a model that will celebrate the multi-country community that contributes to promoting digital rights and inclusion in Africa. The upcoming DRIF21 will be a distributed multi-country festival of in person convenings that communities can join virtually. The DRIF multi-country festival will be opened by a virtual open day on the 12th of April 2021 which will be followed by in-country day convenings across Africa.
As such, we are pleased to invite session proposals for the 8th edition of the flagship program on digital rights and inclusion in Africa. We also welcome session proposals for the virtual DRIF21 opening day. Sessions can be hosted by diverse groups of people including civil society organizations, policy makers, legal/policy experts, technology companies, academia, advocates, researchers and national human rights institutions. Sessions will cover DRIF21 and will be bilingual catering for a diverse range of participants. The objectives for DRIF21 are to create platforms for discussing key issues, to develop action plans for enhancing digital rights and inclusion in Africa and to build networks for future collaborations.
In view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be hosting our DRIF21 activities in countries that are open to gatherings of at least 20 participants. To engage our community beyond country borders, we will ensure that all country convenings are live streamed on key social media platforms for greater engagements and reach in the virtual space.
Guidelines for session proposals
- In-country convening session proposals can include a virtual component through collaborations with other stakeholders outside of the host country.
- In person session hosts must be able to comply with COVID-19 in-country regulations.
- In-country sessions can be in the form of panel discussions, ignite talks, exhibitions, pre-recorded content and research launches.
- Session proposals for the open day must be fully supported by the session host as limited funding will be available to support in person convenings.
- Limited funding to support coordination, technical and logistical aspects of successful session proposals and participant logistical support will be available.
The due date for session proposals is 7 October 2020 and successful session proposals will be notified on 28 October 2020. We will announce our call for participants on 15 December, 2020.