Please provide a concise description of the proposed workshop.
In light of the impact of social media and other Internet tools in recent events in the Middle East and Africa, there is need to dialog on the lessons learned, and how the digital technologies, and the Internet in particular, are emerging as important tools for political change, and not just commerce, communications, and information exchange.
This proposed workshop, “Use of Digital Technologies for Civic Engagement and Political Change: Lessons Learned and Way Forward,” addresses the main theme of the Nairobi IGF, namely, “The Internet as a Catalyst for Change.” The proposed workshop is aimed at providing an opportunity for panelists and participants from around the world to share experiences about using digital technologies to shape civic engagement and political change.
Despite the increasing interest in the use of digital technologies for effecting change, we still lack insights into the relationships people in emerging information societies have with the technologies that are shaping their worlds. The discourse still posits the digital user as homogenized, young, middle class, Western, and (mostly) male. Furthermore, the stories about the transformative powers of the mostly young, Digital Natives often provide a monotonic, rather than varied, view of social change.
Against this background, the proposed workshop on seeks to tackle these knowledge gaps. It hopes to look beyond heroes and singular case-studies, and explore processes of change. It will also shed light on how technology serves as a catalyst for social change and political participation in the rapidly changing landscape of political action in the global South.
With panelists from Asia, Africa and Latin America, the workshop will discuss perspectives on how the Internet has been used by activists to increase citizen engagement and political change. Discussions will be focused on the following questions:
1. How can digital technologies help increase civic engagement, and influence political change, and do digital natives become agents of change?
2. What are the challenges to using digital technologies in effecting change?
3. How can the influence of digital technologies on political change, and the role of digital natives be enhanced?
4. What are the key lessons learned in using digital technologies for change, and what does the future hold?
Each of these questions will be discussed in turn by panelists, followed by brief question and answer sessions, contributions from remote participants, and finally, a wrap up by the moderator.