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The Centre for Information technology and development (CITAD) as part of its project on
Supporting Community-led Approaches to Addressing the Digital Divide in Nigeria which is
part of larger project on community networks coordinated globally by the Association for
Progressive Communications (APC) and supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and
Development Office of the UK Government, convened a one-day consultative meeting  on
Gender and  Community Networks. Community networks are telecommunications
infrastructure deployed and operated by a local group to meet their own communication
needs and also a communications infrastructure, designed and erected to be managed for
use by local communities. This communication needs can be voice, data, e-learning etc. and
can be a point of convergence for communities to come together to address their common
community problems. The meeting, attended by over 25 CSOs, Media Personnel, Women
Led-groups and CSOs from different parts of the country was held in Bafra International
Hotel, Kaduna, Kaduna State on January 15, 2022. It was also meant to generate more
voices about the need to develop policies that address the gender digital divide in Nigeria.
Additionally, it was aimed to continue the effort toward working with the Nigerian
Communication Commission to develop a national policy on community networks.
The meeting featured five presentations as follows:
1. Understanding Community Networks
2. Gender and Digital Marginalization in Nigeria
3. The Policy in Nigeria as relates to Community Networks
4. What CITAD is doing in the Relation to Community Networks?
5. Gender Issues and Community Networks
Observations
Participants observed that:
1. Women are digitally marginalized in the digital space which creates a huge gap in the
society
2. Most of the policies relating to digital technology in the country are not gender
responsive as a result of the marginalization of women in the policy and decision making
processes
3. Women voices are not heard in terms of making contributing on how to address the
gender digital divide in the country
4. Gender and women marginalization starts from girl-child
5. Online harassment discourages women effective participation in digital space
6. Security agencies pay less attention to online sexual and gender based violence against
women

7. Community networks constitute an important strategy to promote digital inclusion in the
country
8. The country currently does not have a policy to allow for the emergence and
sustainability of community networks.

Recommendations
Participants, believing that women participation in the community networks have immense
benefits in terms of bridging the digital divide in the country, made the following
recommendations:
1. Government should as a matter of urgency come up with a National Policy on Community
Networks to create the conducive environment for that will catalyze citizens’ action of
address their digital marginality
2. The ICT policies should be gender friendly, allowing for equal access to participation and to
use and benefits of digital technology
3. . Women need to be claim a space in the policy making processes so that their experiences
and challenges could be given the attention they deserved in the quest for gender digital
justice
4.  Women should be allowed to present their issues and chance to provide possible to their
problems
5.   Women should organize vigorously to ensure that their numerical strengthen counts in
policy outcomes in the country
6.  In pushing  for a policy on community networks, women should play a leading role to ensure
that the community network initiatives to do replication and reinforce the gender blindness
of existing policies in the digital space
7. Social Media influencers should do more on creating awareness to people in the rural
communities
8. Government and other stakeholders to address online gender violence as well as the
prevalence of harmful contents on the internet that inhibits women effective engagement in
the cyberspace

Resolution
The participants unanimously resolved to form a Platform of Women Activists for
Community Networks  with the following objectives:
1. Popularize the importance of women participation the emerging community networks
initiatives and see it as tool to bridging the gender digital marginalization in the country
2. Sensitizing their community members, social media followers as well as their
organizations about the importance and benefits of women engagement with community
networks initiatives
3. To advocate stakeholders involved to come up with a national gender based policy
framework for community networks in the country

4. to advocate for more women to engage digital technology general,, including the safe and
secure use of social media platforms
5. Support effort by all stakeholders to address the multifarious dimensions of the digital
divide in Nigeria.
6. campaign for special initiatives for the massive digital literacy among girls in secondary
schools so that the digital bridging process should begin at that level
Signed
Harira Wakili, Community Mobilization Officer
Yemi Balogun, Yemi Balogun Media

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