With the support of International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada, LIRNEasia in partnership with Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and Vihara Innovation Network studied Online Freelancing: Challenges, Opportunities and Impact in India. The dissemination workshop of the findings of this research was held on 27th of December 2017 at the India Habitat Centre, India. Government and private sector officials of skill development and employment generation organizations participated at this workshop. Dr. K.
LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya was invited to a panel discussion titled “Is Innovation Sexist” in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event was held in Ottawa, Canada on the 8th of March, It was inaugurated by Celina R. Caesar-Chavannes, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.
One of the outcomes of last October’s meeting of ITU’s Expert Group on Telecommunication/ICT Indicators (EGTI) was the formation of an EGTI sub-group to propose revisions to ITU’s methodology for collecting ICT prices. LIRNEasia research manager Shazna Zuhyle will Chair this sub-group comprising thirteen experts from academia and various national regulatory authorities. It will review and redefine the current methodology. Shazna has years of experience in ICT price benchmarking and is familiar with ITU’s current methodology. The need for the revision stems from the changing ICT landscape specifically in the use of broadband services and consumption patterns of users.
On the final day of UNIGF, IGF academy fellows participated in a debriefing activity to identify and look back on their journey to UNIGF 2016 and the way forward of the National Internet Governance Forums (NIGFs). At this debriefing the Asian fellows highlighted the importance of help with fund raising and having closed door meetings with potential stakeholders. Also, they said that its not possible for them to participate in all the calls of the IGF academy due to their busy schedules. The fellows suggested that its better if one fellow out of the two fellows from a given country participate in a call its sufficient and that the fellows can alternate. The fellows pointed out the importance of low emphasis in the structures and high emphasis on subject matter.
IGF Academy organised a pre event at Day 0 of the UNIGF in Guadalajara Mexico. The objective of this pre event was to discuss and exchange ideas on the linkage between freedom of expression and other policy issues in Internet governance. The fellows participated in the newcomers track on “Freedom of Expression Online” by Professor Dr. Milton Mueller of Georgia Tech University. This session was on Internet regulation.
The IGF academy preparatory workshop took place in Hotel Morales, Guadalajara on the 4th of December 2016. The objective of this workshop was to discuss and exchange Internet governance models and mechanisms and how they influence politics. 6 fellows from Asia and 6 fellows from Africa participated in this workshop. Corinne Cath of Article 19 and Daniel O’Maley of Center for International Media Assistance made a presentation on “Governance of Freedom of Expression” at the preparatory workshop. Following the break Adam Peake, Senior Manager for Civil Society Global Engagement of ICANN, made a presentation on other Internet governance mechanisms: multi stakeholder institutions and processes.
“This system is biased towards the buyer. If I didn’t deliver a good product, the buyer can cancel. If the buyer cancels, I should approve the cancellation. If we provide a good product and if he cancels it, we can contact Fiverr directly. If you are a level I seller (entry level), they don’t get back to you quickly.
“Online freelancers are not given loans from local banks. The first question the officers ask us is whether EPF/ ETF is deducted from our salary. This is how they understand whether we have a stable job or not. They refuse to issue us loans because we don’t have a stable job. This is not the case in other countries” Says Sampath, a 25 year old freelancer in Sri Lanka.
“The power cuts in Sri Lanka are unannounced. It’s really difficult when we have power cuts. The customers don’t believe us when we say that we can’t deliver work on time because we have power cuts. These are people who have never experienced power cuts in their entire life” this is what Sandun, a 25 year old online worker said at a focus group conducted by LIRNEasia among online freelancers. Load shedding was identified as a barrier to work online.
LIRNEasia’s Research Fellow, Dr. P. Vigneswara Ilavarasan (Associate Professor, IIT Delhi) shared the findings of the demand side study of BhrataNet (here) with Mr Osama Manzar and team at Digital Empowerment Foundation, New Delhi whose supply side study (here) is a perfect complementary work. Looking forward to work together to diffuse the BharatNet in rural India in coming days.
CEO Helani Galpaya gave the opening presentation at the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s workshop on ICT and Gender in Myanmar. Her slides can be found here. The following day, Helani participated in a public consultation on the design of the Universal Fund in Myanmar where she called for a design of a fund with a either a sunset clause or declining revenue contribution from the telecom operators. She also participated in A4AI’s Myanmar Coalition Meeting held on the 18th of November, where she worked with Htaike Htaike Aung (Executive Director, MIDO) to develop a set of indicators that would help monitor progress in Myanmar’s ICT sector.
LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya was an invited speaker at the opening panel at the Digital Citizen Summit (http://dsummit.defindia.org) organised by the Digital Empowerment Foundation (India) and the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit. The event was held in Bangalore, India 11th of November 2016. The opening panel focused on data, citizenship and freedoms online.
Sixth course of the series of courses funded by Ford Foundation on “How to Engage in Broadband Policy and Regulatory Processors” is currently being held in IIT Delhi. This course is co directed by Dr. Rohan Samarajiva and Dr. P. Vigneswara Ilavarasan.
LIRNEasia CEO moderated a panel on “Private Public Partnerships – Getting Them Done, Getting Them Right” at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2016. The key speakers of the panel were Mr. Gajendra Haldea (Advisor, Government of Rajasthan, India), Hon. Eran Wickramarathne (Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development), Mr. Kamal Dorabawila (Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation).
A 2 1/2 day regional workshop on “Internet Governance Processes” for national champions selected from 4 countries (Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Bangladesh) is currently being held in Renuka City Hotel, Sri Lanka. This regional workshop is the commencing workshop of the IGF Academy, Asia counterpart. This academy aims to strengthen Internet governance in global south. At the end of the 6 month fellowship, the national champions are expected to develop road maps on lessons learnt by intervening in Internet governance processes in their respective countries. Transfer guides on how to replicate what was done in this program will be developed after the fellows participate in IGF in December.