The National School of Community Networks in Indonesia is runned by Common Room Networks Foundation, a non-profit platform for art, culture, and media organisation, that has become an open hub mainly focused in developing public knowledge, creativity and innovation in Bandung, Indonesia.
This school officially started during the development of the Rural ICT Camp 2021, where the School of Community Networks programme was launched and representatives from different provinces of Indonesia were invited to join.
The School in Indonesia is very much linked to the rural ICT Camp event that occurs every year in Indonesia, which has an important advocacy component, but also focuses on gender and technical issues, and the involvement of different multistakeholders has led to the development of an important movement of Community Networks in the country.
A training of trainers, from 11 to 16 January 2022, was organised for the participants to take a deep dive into the development and use of community-based internet infrastructure. The six-day training held in Cisarua, discussed rural internet governance, technical aspects and concrete innovation cases.
After that encounter, the school continued with mentoring activities and meetings. Participants were invited to identify the existing needs and challenges in their home regions, and some are already initiating their own community-based internet infrastructure. The communities involved in the school were also exploring the local appropriation of internet connectivity and platforms for community empowerment in their villages, such as adapting digital technologies for agriculture and fishing. In addition to the problem of internet access, some areas that have limited access to electricity usually use diesel-fueled electricity generators, so during this School they have tried to work with alternative sources of electricity, such as solar panels. This is related to the “5L principle” that the school programme is based: low learning curve, low energy, low tech, low maintenance, and local support.
Common Room opted for a specific model with each local rganization they work with, so they travel to each territory, delivering workshops and building linkages with each community. They have focused heavily on involving local and national government, as well as universities, throughout the implementation of the advisory committee and the school.
A new encounter for all the participants took place during rural ICT camp from 21 to 25 October 2022 in Bali. This event included many side activities, such as the inauguration of a bamboo tower and digital literacy workshops for healthcare staff and children, in addition to the workshops specifically targeted at local organisations. The event was also held within the framework of the G20 Meeting, seeking to generate advocacy on issues of connectivity and access. Local organisations worked on a wide range of issues, including AI and infrastructure deployment.
In addition to the support to local organisations, developing their microgrant projects during the first months of 2023, Common Room is already planning the Rural ICT Camp 2023.