Latin America lightning talks: meet projects selected to strengthen community networks

Join the session on 2 September, Thursday, between 14:00 and 15:30 UTC in the following room:

We are happy to invite you to the Latin America lightning talks sessions, in which we will learn more about the projects selected by the 2021 Community Network Grant Programme to make strategic contributions to the community networks movement in the region.

This is a chance to get insights from innovative ideas in the fields of community-based technologies, regulation initiatives and gender and diversity approaches within community networks. Our event will start with a series of short presentations (lightning talks) of the projects to be realised in the next months. After those vivid introductions, there will be time for questions, sharing and making plans with people from the larger community network ecosystem.

The Latin America lightning talks sessions will happen on 2 September, Thursday, between 14:00 and 15:30 UTC. The link to join it is shared above.

Please remember to RSVP above by clicking on “Going” and join us in this dialogue to strengthen community networks in different countries.

About the projects granted

The Local Networks (LocNet) initiative, led by APC in partnership with Rhizomatica, selected 15 initiatives to be supported by its 2021 Community Network Grant Programme.

The initiative is now planning a series of three regional events with community network builders from Africa, Asia and Latin America. During these lightning talks sessions, the 2021/2022 grantees will present their projects to other grantees, peers and partners.

The regional lightning talks aim to be a collective approach instead of making individual project monitoring and sharing. Hopefully, this will allow us to enrich each other and evolve together by exchanging knowledge and increasing the connections between each initiative and the experiences happening around the world.

Find out more about the five projects granted in Latin America:

You can also find more information about the grant and the 15 projects selected in Asia, Africa and Latin America here.

Please also let us know if you would like us to organize interpretation options for the lightning talks by answering which language you would follow below:

  • English
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • French

0 voters

Thanks for the responses here and by email. We will have Portuguese, Spanish and English interpretation during the session.

Principles of participation

Hello all,
Please review the principles of participation for our session.
If you’ve gone through them and agree with them, please give a like to this response :slight_smile:


Notes from the lightning talks

Here we will add the notes from the session


Karla Velasco

Welcome everyone, we are happy to have you to the lighting talks, with the selected grantees of the Locnet Initative. Some words about BBB: it’s all free software, thanks Kosa for the implementation. [Karla walking everyone through BBB, also explaining the translation button). Please, select your channels…

Now let’s start. Just a last quesion: does anyone not agree with the the recording of the session? Please tell us so in the chat [session recording starts]

Welcome to our LAC session, we will hear more about the selected grantees for 2021/2022

Intro of LocNet (Nils)
A quick introduction of the Local Networks (LocNet) initiative. LocNet is led by APC in partnership with Rhizomatica, to contribute to an enabling ecosystem for the emergence and growth of community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives.

A big point for us is learning, We have peers that continously colaborate in the three regions (Asia, Africa, LAC), we also colaborate with researchers, other organisatiosn, APC members - and together we all do this ecosystem around CN. We all interact with networks with the idea of learning together.

We are always looking for new ideas, new colaborations. This year grant had 3 focus areas:
Technology, Innovation and Development
Gender and Women’s Participation
Enabling Policy and Regulatory Frameworks

A great deal of our work is to strengthening the existing networks and this is part of our encounter today, we want to share and exchange. Beyond this conversation, I would like to mention other spaces for interactions:

This platform:
And our local access and community networks newsletter:
Subscription: Local access subscription | Association for Progressive Communications
Previous editions: Community Networks and Local Access Monthly Newsletter | Association for Progressive Communications

Today we will have presentations from projects, followed by an Q&A moment. And them we will have an open space for free interaction named Topia, considering the pandemic is reducing our possibilities of being together.

Karla: We will start with Adrian López de REDES, wirking together with TIC. Both of them are based in Mexico and REDES was created in 2003. REDES focus of work is indigenous communications, it is an NGO and is supporting all communities in different federal states of Mexico. There is also Niki, part of the network. And now let’s start with the presentation.


  1. REDES AC / TIC AC (México) - Implementation of Community Networks through a Community Social Mobile Virtual Network

Hi everyone, how are you. I am with a mask since we are in a radio. Hello [message in Nahuatl]. I am Niki, we want to present our project Wiki Katat, it’s a combination of languages: It means common good and is a joint effort of Radio Tosepan, REDES AC and TIC.

A virtual social mobile operator (OMV-SC)
Let’s start with the image of a highway. In information those digital highways are used by big companies, virtual operators but the do not reach out to everyone. We want Wiki Katat to be a an operator non-profit.

An intro to Tosepan Cooperatives
They are baesd in the Northern mountain range of Puebla and the North of Veracruz. People from Nuatl and Totonaca live there, 34 communities, over 400 cooperatives and thousands of shareholders.

Wiki Katat will look to foster networks with local cooperations on a local and regional level. The service will not be restricted to mobile technology or Internet but also take into acount local content. Part of the alliance is also Colnodo from Brasil.
Our aims
Realize the OMV-SC
Establish a communcitions plan
Establish workshops and education offer in the communties
Documentation and implementation of pilot activities

Karla: Thank you very much for this great presentation. Please hold back your questions for the end…Thanks Adrian and Niki to stick to the timeframe. The next presentation will be from Portal sem Porteiras with Luisa and Marcela. It is a local network in Moneiro Lobato close to SP. Started in 2006 and was formalized in 2018. It is now an assotiation for education and community building.

  1. Portal Sem Porteiras (Brasil) - Spinning the Portal sem Porteiras (PSP) Mesh

Weaving network

We are Marcela and Luisa from Portal sem Porteiros (PSP). We live in a small community, started our work in 2002, first in colaboration with Colab but we are also working beyond the tech scope. We already received support from LocNet before. We think networking is not only about payed work but also about sharing. Pat of of the project ist to organize long distance links with a big city at 30km distance, that gives us connectivity because it was always problem so far. This project is supported by 4 people.
We will also establish a local server and learn together how to install the software and maintain the server. Ths will be a project for the long run, there are 5 persons involved (coordination, interships, content creation, local data collection, research).
After the deployments we will also boost the use of the infrastructure, do additonal resaerch, document the process. The documentaton will be done by interns, as an ongoing reflection how to do this in methodological terms, to design the action plan, keep a log of the project and compile a final collection of materials

The PSP headquarters is in the focus of the 3rd workpackage. We will upgrade our equipment with new purchases, formalize the administration of our project and establish a closer contact with our members. Part of this is also a newsletter and a new learning space, especially dedicated to work with youth/young women and girls and offer introdiction into coding…a professional springboard…we will give introductary sessions and permit continued collaboration.

Karla: Thanks a lot. Reminding you that you can ask questions at the end of the presentations. So let’s skip to the next presentation with Julian and Darwin. It is a network of more the 10 Afrocolumbian communities with a focus in the defence of territories and resources. We will now here more about this in the North of Cauca.

  1. Proceso de Comunidades Negras (Colombia) - Loudspeaker-Based Community-Run Communication Network in Norte del Cauca, Colombia

Thank you Karla and to all of you that are here today. I am Julian, more dedicated to tech support but Darwin will tell you more about the communities.

Welcome all of you, this is an important opportunity to present out work. As Karla already said PCN is an ethnic and territorial organization, fighting for the rights of Afro Communities in Colombia. The community process is constiruted por local councils, te be autonomous and to claim their rights. There are different Palenques, part of them also In Northern Cauca, but you can find them also in urban spaces. The black communities revindicate their reights for collective territories, defending the life there in the territory, which is a an important lifeline for the afrocommunities. As you know, there has been an armed conflcit for more the 60 years in Colombia with one of the oldest Guerillas in the world. The Afrocolombian communities are now facing a humanitarian crisis despite of the peace process. This is important to consider because our focus is on humantarian refugee acitivies. At the end of last year there have been massive displacements. So we are offering protection meachanisms, first of all new communication channels. The connectivity of commercial providers are just not enough. I am here together with José Santos, part of the national coordination of the Afrocolumbian communities.

Hi everyone, I just wanted to say hello and tell you how we work. As Karla already mentioned our identity and free choice of our future, solidarity and historical repartion are important for our work. The black population in Columbia is very effected by conflcits. Therefore we organize self-governed community councils. They define what should be done in their territories. But we cannot reach full governamentability because of the war and now also in the peace process. So we have to look for mechanism to stay on our territoriy. We need new humanitarian agreements and protection mechanisms. I will leave it there…

So the loudspeaker system in a few words. [interruption due to technical issues, a non localizale echo]. Hopefully the problem is resolved now. The introduction was great, I think the first slide is already explained. I just wanted to talk about equipment that will be used, a but in the direction of the Internet of things but also equipment that is at hand for communities (ex. without electric lights). Raspberry Pi is key. YOu can also check in Radio Renaciente for more information, for the Afro communities but also the general public. Our humanitarian refugee will also be linked to this. We are working with local radios and thereby extend our network. We want to interconnect not only with news already widely difused but also more local content. In the next slide you can already seen innovative elements, a connection of digital devices and analogical devices (loadspeaker networks). There are important in the communities, the have a central function for communication to protect the territories. We want to stimulate the process of appropriation and then create links between them via WiFi, here you can see examples of point-to-point connections. In the next slide you can see where we are going to work but the idea is espacially to interconnect with other territories. Because of the topography we have to build a tower for a decent line of sight. In the future we think a mesh network will be needed, for the moment we will work with classic network ontology. But in the future LibreMesh and descentralized models are key to defend our rights. Thank you.

To complement a bit further. We are combining analogical communication pratices with digital devices, not only to have the infrastructure but also to create a learning process and to close the digital gap a bit. So the idea is not to create a logic of consumtion but appropriation of content and the defense of our rights. maybe we missed some important points, sorry for this.

I will rob you 30sec more: we recevie lots of support form the public universities of Colombia.

Karla: thanks for all the insights and this project for sure will have a string impact. For the next and last presentation, since Intervozes could not be with us today, we will continue with Sulá Batsú…still looking up the presentation. Well, before starting, this is also about a women organisation in Alto Pacuare. We are welcoming Natalia and Kemply. As a short intro: they are group of indigenous women, preparing a community network in the territory to strengthen communication on the ground.

  1. Sulá Batsú / Asociación de Mujeres Cabécares de Alto Pacuare / Colnodo - The Women’s Antenna in the Cabécar Territory of Alto Pacuare

The women’s antena

Kemply: Thanks a lot, it is an honour to be part of this initative together with all the other relevant projects. Let’s hope we can create a meaningful exchange within Locnet. Initially I just want to say that Elisabeth and Iliana from the women’s organisation will lead the presentation and also some words from Colnodo. The project is the result of a three year collaboration and this initial pahse we want to create a basic CN that incorporates all proper means of communication of the territory steared by women of the territory, to strenthen their cosmology and vision builidng for the proper territory. THe women’s antena is important to create and difuse local content. I will pass the word to Elisabet and Iliana, let’s hope the connection will be stable. One more word about the pciture: that is the group we are working with and our meeting place…

Elisabet: Hi everyone, I am from Kalabata. After the presentation of my collegue we will give some more insights.

Iliana: happy to be with you.

Elisabet: in the photo you can see our territory, we are qite concerned because of a lack of concience realted to tech introduced to the territory. Especial kids are exposed and they are our future [breaking up] ancestral knowledge. Women [……]

Elisabet: the women organisation is very concerned about ancestral knowledge and new technologies. Sometimes tech is introrduced in a imposing manner, we want to change the perspective and use tech in our favor, how to use it so our kids will learn about our knowledge…[breaking up] …

Kemly: Ju Tsini. […] will continue due to bad connectivity. Or let’s give it a last try. THis unniversity was created by the women, we wanted to have our space and bundle all the knowledge existing and impart this knowledge: agriculcutre, arts and crafts, construction. This is a space where our youth can feel free, in balance with nature, speak their language. After Ju Tsini we are also working with Sulá Batsá …Okama Suei…this initiative of indigenous women we succeeded to create a platform to share and create…this is part of the work with the community. In the community not Internet, no roads, only rivers and each house seperated (3-4 hours walks) and the women are happy to realize this tigether with Sulá Batsú

Kemly: our NGO with the help of Colnodo we will start to learn about the tech dimension of CN. Before more focused on local content production. But now we want to share our contents with a network and the construction is a dream of the women’s university. At first it will be a basic network, an initial learning, we will wokr with images that we have produced during years…we will bring this closer to women, a community intranet that wants to incorporate an outonmous and souverany use of tech by women. This process was supported by different partners. After content production our next step has to do with the basic antena and network together with Colnodo who have similar experiences with communities in Brazil. That is it

Colnodo: we want to support Sulá Batsú and the women assotiation. We have created a CN on distance, an interesting experience, this will be replicated…

Q&A session

Karla: thank you very much for the presentations. A last word about the Intervozes project. They are an orgnaization from Brasil and their project is about political and social inclusion in Guarani communities in the state of Sao Paulo. Intervozes together with the communities will create new hotspots with the communities and organize workshops around a concient use. We have aprox. 5min more for questions. Anyone would like to intervene? Josephine is this a question? It seems there are no questions or doubts, yes, one from Debora: the experiences shared how could they interconnect?

Kemly: we would like to have common spaces of exchange and learning, this would be great for us.

Adrian: same here, first, we also would like to share …

I want to thank you all, we have also some comments in the chat in terms of sharing in every sense: social, technical, economic sustainability, etc.

It was really grear to listen and have this opportunity to exchange. This was an amazing session. I will pass to Nils so we will can close.

Nils: thank you very much, we will keep looking for spaces to share and keep in touch. Please, keep an eye in our email list on further info and events. Thank you everyone that also supported this session and participated.

Karla: also thanks to our peers in LAC, LocNet team and the interpreters. Thank you everyone, I hope to see you soon. Glad that we could run this session in BBB, tks a Kosa/APC tech. We could keep using this platform for next sessions. If you are interested to learn more about BBB contact Kosa. Thank you all.

Here are the recordings of the Latin America lightning talks session:

In this same thread, you can find the notes from it. Thanks again to everyone who joined this conversation!

If you are interested in the other regional sessions, here you can find more info on the Africa one and here about the Asia session.