[At-Large] Fwd: Coping with active participation in At-Large during COVID-19

Maureen Hilyard maureen.hilyard at gmail.com
Fri May 8 17:49:19 UTC 2020

Dear Leon

Here is the discussion that arose out of the request from the ALAC meeting.
I am so grateful that the community restricted their comments to those that
were most thoughtful and considerate of ICANN's situation while also taking
into account some of the hardship issues experienced by our volunteers at
this time.  I forward all the emails received on the topic (I had one
instance where the email was on another topic and once revealed, the sender
asked for it to be removed).

One case which only very recently came to my attention was Daniel Nanghaka
who was in the US attending an AMEX Leadership course in Washington DC when
the flights out of US were grounded and he could not return to Uganda. He
has been staying with friends in Massachusetts but living very frugally on
his limited resources. Even though he has tried, his contacts with the
Uganda Embassy in Washington DC have not been responded to (as of
yesterday) and neither has AMEX been of any real assistance to his plight.
I have suggested that he persist and if possible return to Washington DC to
get his government's support directly. Fortunately he is still within scope
of his current visa, but who knows how long will he have to remain in a
foreign country without any resources? Daniel hadn't raised his situation
with us because his reason for being there was not directly related to
ICANN, except that *he is worried *that he may not be able to participate
in his meetings because internet connection is expensive and it is draining
what little resources he has at the moment, even to take his own O&E
meetings. This is an extreme case but a real live situation for one of our
leadership team.

The cost of internet and the loss of jobs especially for those in
developing countries will make ICANN's work of less priority, especially
when they have to worry more about how to feed and care for their families
in situations where the pandemic is still rabid, and it is the impoverished
areas that are being hardest hit. While I know that ICANN cannot save the
world, it saddens me to know what some of our hardest-working volunteers
are experiencing in their real worlds... and yet at the same time there is
still a flow of even more meetings than before, even within At-Large, with
an expectation of more volunteer input into issues that ICANN has to
resolve. All I can say is that the longer this situation exists, the
greater the chance of those voices that we have been working really hard to
encourage to join our discussions, will disappear and our multistakeholder
model will be truly lost. But what can ICANN do and what more can we do as
volunteers who are already stretched within our own bubbles just to keep
ourselves safe? This is our dilemma.


Forwarded Conversation
Subject: Coping with active participation in At-Large during COVID-19

From: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 9:58 AM
To: At-Large Worldwide <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>

Dear At-Large Community

In all our recent ICANN meetings, the Board and the senior staff have been
very mindful of the difficulties that are being experienced by the
volunteer community of At-Large during this pandemic and its impact on
their ability to participate as regularly as they used to.

During his intervention in the ALAC meeting on  28 April, the At-Large
appointed Board member, Leon Sanchez, raised his ongoing concerns and asked
the 70+ participants at the meeting how ICANN might be able to help
volunteers to continue with their active involvement in the work of
At-Large and contributing to the bigger picture work of ICANN.

Because he has requested practical and constructive suggestions about how
ICANN may be able to assist, I am putting this message out to those who
also already attend online meetings and actively participate and engage,
even under really trying personal circumstances. I am willing to pass on
your suggestions to Leon, who will in turn take these to the Board for
their consideration.

*Please respond only to this thread* before 7 May, so that the full
account can be passed on to Leon.  I look forward to your thoughtful
contributions to this matter.

ALAC Chair

From: Glenn McKnight <mcknight.glenn at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 10:22 AM
To: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>
Cc: At-Large Worldwide <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>

Thanks  Maureen
As  you know this is an issue I brought up in the ALT PLUS call a week
before the ZOOM call this week  with Leon, at that time I interfaced with
Leon on the dire straits that some people are facing during this pandemic
situation and that many folks are unwilling to step forward and publicly
come to the table with a "cap in their hands"

We are facing a 4% drop in the world economy and this means a
depression much worse than the Great Depression.   Also this Covid-19 may
see a serious second and third wave resulting in many more deaths and
economic disruption.  ( shades of the 1918 pandemic that killed 100

I would surmise that  we have in the ATLARGE community that many folks are
unemployed or underemployed and facing tough times and seriously compounded
in countries that don't have any safety net to protect them and help them
over the difficult times.  Since charity starts at home I suggest ICANN
dig into its pockets as  ISOC and Mozilla and many others and come up with
a financial assistance to those that could really appreciate the support.
 I suggest that  the  stipend for the ICANN Meetings to be paid to the
ATLARGE members which will cover their internet costs and food costs as
they fully participate with the remote meetings.    In the cases where
people don't want or need this financial support they can simple not apply
for the stipend and the financial costs would be reduced.  It should be
confidential and an optional application process.

In a recent survey of Atlarge members we found a large number of African
and small island states with very poor internet access and very high costs
for their access to the Internet.  This produces a digital divide that
needs to be recognized and if not addressed  we may loose more members from
the community.  As recommendations to join more online meetings and join
ICANN LEARN webinars its an assumption that  we all have fair and equal
access  and this inequality is enhanced with more reliance on remote

Glenn McKnight
ICANN NOMCOM 2019-2021
mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
Curator for  Internet Governance Hub Blog
www.internetgovernancehub.blog  <http://www.internetgovernancehub.blog>
IEEE Toronto SIGHT Chair
glenn.mcknight at ieee.org
skype  gmcknight
twitter @Inkmedia
289-830 6259

From: Remmy Nweke <remmyn at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 11:20 AM
To: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>
Cc: At-Large Worldwide <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>

Thanks Maureen,
This is very thoughtful both of ICANN, ALAC and Leon.

For me, the best possible way to encourage participation should have been:

1. To have data palliative, but it looks cumbersome from ICANN end down to
the local service providers.

2. An alternative is to have an aggregated sum approved for e.g. 4 months =
USD600; to be given to participants to cushion their data effect paid
directly to them (both mobile device and laptop). Thereby easing off at
ICANN end and also encouraging participant to optimise the resource to
their most essential needs including more data, because some may have
purchased data ahead, say two months in a row.

I hope this helps.
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From: <carlosraul at gutierrez.se>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 11:44 AM
To: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>
Cc: At-Large Worldwide <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>

Thank you Maureen and Léon !

1. We in LACRALO have already adapted our meeting hours to avoid conflicts
with working hours as far as possible. Thanks to our Brazilian and
Uruguayan friends that's stay up late, the westerners in Mexico in Costa
Rica have meeting only after 4pm or so.
1. Can't we do choose two convenient blocks of time over the day so that's
global meetings only happen outside of sleeping hours?
2. Can we start using those blocks of time ASAP
3. Can we keep those Blocks for the Kuala Lumpur virtual meeting instead of
the local time there?
4. If all of the above is not possible: can we spread the Kuala Lumpur
meeting into 2-3 power weekend meetings online?

Seriously, if we are going to spend the next few months on virtual
meetings, it makes no sense to use the planning frameworks and time blocks
of Face to Face meetings.

Thanks! Carlos Raúl Gutiérrez

From: Vanda Scartezini <vanda at scartezini.org>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 12:06 PM
To: Glenn McKnight <mcknight.glenn at gmail.com>, Maureen Hilyard <
maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>

Dear  Glenn  and Maureen

These thoughts are really relevant when we can see in developing region
several medium class persons are struggled to feed their families without

Here, as developing country,  the government is performing a quite complex
operation,  providing a 120 – 240 ( widows with children)  correspondent
USD to 56 millions  ( ¼ of our population) of persons and had open up a 26
million of a special bank account to those not having one  in the public
bank, and will pay such amount during 3 months or even longer depend upon
the winter ( even mild one here) season. The amount  represents what  we
call basic basket with food and cleaner and hygienic items for one month of
a family of 4. The basic mobile are reduced  and energy are sponsored  for
 those families.

Helping people to attend our meetings on line in places where they need to
spend too much special nowadays  paying internet or even 3G for a volunteer
activity,  does not see  will break ICANN’s finances and certainly will
help a lot to keep these relevant community with us.

Thanks for these relevant proposal that I do believe really help the
engagement of our community.

We can also help to state who,  in our regions, is really in need of help.
Some even to feed their families.

Kisses and take care

*Vanda Scartezini*

*Polo Consultores Associados*

*Av. Paulista 1159, cj 1004*

*01311-200- Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil*

*Land Line: +55 11 3266.6253*

*Mobile: + 55 11 98181.1464 *

*Sorry for any typos. *

From: Glenn McKnight <mcknight.glenn at gmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 2, 2020 at 4:28 AM
To: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>
Cc: At-Large Worldwide <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>


Here is the draft response from* NARALO* . Note we are still  working out
the logistics of the ideas  and its not final .  I am sharing it for
inspiration purpose.
The  bold and italic comments are excerpts from ICANN's comments direct
from the ICANN page


Supporting the Work of Our Global Community over the Next Few Months:
Leveraging Remote Participation

Link to document




   All ICANN Face to Face meetings on hold to Sept 2020



   The Pandemic will likely be worse in the fall according to the CDC
   comments and likely it will be into 2021. (1)  and resulting in no  Face
   to Face meetings during that year

Item One:  Remote Participation

ICANN has always embraced remote participation. It is what makes our work
accessible to a global community and enables us to get the work done
between meetings. COVID-19 has made remote engagement even more crucial,
and a very real and practical alternative


This is a practical solution to keep the community engaged but the devil is
in the details.  We have a serious digital divide which impacts the ATLARGE
community.  Since ICANN has  Multistakeholderism baked into its DNA it is
critical to provide communities with the tools to properly engage.   In
Canada, especially in the far- north, in the US  tribal lands, as well as
in rural areas(2), among students(3)  and in poor urban communities(4)
there is a serious digital divide that makes it next to impossible to
participate fully in the meetings. In fact, if there are few participants
in such areas, it is not because they don’t want to participate. They
simply cannot participate unless their internet accessibility issues are
addressed. Although ICANN cannot be responsible for all digital divide
issues, it must recognize that these exist and perhaps look for alternative
ways to deal with these -- create support groups, reach out locally with
low tech methods, build partnerships with national, regional, and local
organizations, etc..

Item Two;  Leverage Participation Tools

It is more important than ever that we leverage our remote participation
tools to continue effectively engaging and supporting our community in the
work that needs to be done; at the very least, over the next four months.


It is not just a matter of online tools ie. Zoom,  Adobe, Bluejean etc or
accessibility issues, but about the bandwidth required by any or all of
them. Moreover, many within At Large have uneven connectivity speeds and
others are burdened with very high Internet costs and extremely slow
speeds. This combined with the loss of income by many of the participants
due to COVID-19  making it harder for them to pay for the extra data needed
to participate in the At Large or other ICANN related calls.

 Item  Three   Online Courses/ Webinars

We are working with the community to ensure that high-priority topics for
this period are being addressed and are creating new opportunities and
training for our stakeholders within At Large to participate. As such, we
are looking at facilitating these efforts and adding a variety of
additional activities to build capacity, to attract new participants, and
to educate, and engage these new participants. These activities will
include informative webinars, ICANN Learn modules, lectures, and ICANN
Public Meeting readouts.

However, this strategy of engagement is only possible where high-speed
Internet access is available and the end-user has the funds to pay for the
extra service.  We would be interested in learning about any surveys that
ICANN LEARN staff have done on connectivity challenges of end-users.  A
recent informal ATLARGE survey, although having only twenty responses,
shows that participants in developing countries have limited bandwidth
especially in many parts of Africa and small island states combined with
high Internet costs.

General View

In the short run, the participation in the first virtual meeting (Cancun)
while having very high participation, should be looked at as a novelty,
this will not be the new norm. We do expect that participation in future
meetings will drop until the economy gets back on track. Participants do
not have the available income to spend on the access needed to actively
participate in online meetings. We are at a serious risk of losing valuable
volunteers. At Large participants are volunteers and unlike other
constituencies, they do this outside their paid jobs and often take a
vacation to attend ICANN Meetings.

 Our community unlike the other the government or business community do not
have the luxury of sponsorship to carry on their volunteerism.  Our
community has had to dig into their own pockets to pay to participate. If
the economy does not pick up we can see a substantial loss of participants
from locations we cannot afford to lose.  We propose that ICANN recognize
the value of these participants and create a special connectivity fund. The
process and procedure could be worked out in a simple application and
approval process.



   Provide the stipend to all elected ATLARGE community members

   Provide an opportunity to ALS members to receive an Internet
   Connectivity voucher to offset their high Internet costs so they can

   ICANN LEARN should conduct a true connectivity survey of all users.

   Improve upon the end-user survey at the end of all ICANN Public webinars
   to get feedback on participation and connectivity experiences ie. latency,
   quality etc

Under development




   60% of farmers in the US report very poor Broadband speeds

   Students and digital divide

   Poor and Digital Divide


   Broadband  Infographic

Glenn McKnight
ICANN NOMCOM 2019-2021
mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
Curator for  Internet Governance Hub Blog
www.internetgovernancehub.blog  <http://www.internetgovernancehub.blog>
IEEE Toronto SIGHT Chair
glenn.mcknight at ieee.org
skype  gmcknight
twitter @Inkmedia
289-830 6259

On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 3:59 PM Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>


From: Judith Hellerstein <judith at jhellerstein.com>
Date: Sat, May 2, 2020 at 3:10 PM
To: Glenn McKnight <mcknight.glenn at gmail.com>
Cc: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>

Hi Glenn,
I have more to add but did not get a chance on Friday to put in but will do
so tomorrow


Sent from my iPad
judith at jhellerstein.com
Skype ID:JudithHellerstein

On May 2, 2020, at 10:29 AM, Glenn McKnight <mcknight.glenn at gmail.com>

From: Olivier Kouami <olivierkouami at gmail.com>
Date: Mon, May 4, 2020 at 12:49 PM
To: Glenn McKnight <mcknight.glenn at gmail.com>
Cc: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>, At Large <
at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>

Hi all.
Greetings everyone from Sénégal.
+1 @Glen who raised issues that i'm personaly facing in this sad pandemic
I Also approve the concrete proposals of Remmy.
Most ALSes are certainly on these needs too.
Much appreciate if ICANN could make as proposed.
Warm regards

From: Barrack Otieno <otieno.barrack at gmail.com>
Date: Mon, May 4, 2020 at 6:02 PM
To: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>
Cc: At-Large Worldwide <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>

Hi Maureen,

My humble and personal take to this is that similar to the fellowship
program, we could consider support to community members who dedicate
significant time and resources to ICANN's mission by contributing to the
work of various supporting organizations and Advisory Commitees and the
overall mission of ICANN. It is true engaging in SO/AC work costs valuable
time for those whose day job may not necessarily be around the DNS
ecosystem.  Significant resources are incurred to get online and to have
the right tools that can enable meaningful participation and contribution
to ICANN's work. I welcome the idea of reimbursing some of the costs
incurred on connectivity or any other aspect as may be determined through a
suitable process considering the continuous nature of the work we are doing.

Best Regards

Barrack O. Otieno
Skype: barrack.otieno
PGP ID: 0x2611D86A

From: LUKE KAPCHANGA <wanjalaluke1 at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, May 5, 2020 at 6:41 AM
To: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>

Thanks Maureen ,
Glenn has captured what some of go through, if not worse. I am based in
rural areas of Kenya. To attend online meetings   I depend at times on
cyber cafes, which are not very reliable, yet the best option. The COVID
19, has worsened the situation. The proposal to assist us from developing
countries is welcome.

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