Coding the Future, Amplifying Voices: A Year of Impact for Bingwa Civic Tech Lab

Bingwa Civic Tech Lab has deployed a multi-faceted strategy focused on action research, capacity building in Python programming for girls, and other initiatives for the promotion of digital rights.

The Lab, had a remarkable year 2023, marked by concrete achievements in promoting technological innovation for the common good in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some of the activities carried out so far include:

  • A Research Report
  • - A training program
  • - Participation in digital and human rights events
  • - Strategic Partnership

Contribution to the Report of the Global Observatory on the Information Society (Giswatch -2021 Report)

Focusing on online civic space during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, the report sheds light on the different and complex ways in which democracy and human rights are under threat around the world, and illustrates how meaningful access to the internet is fundamental to sustainable development.

Meanwhile, internet access statistics for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) show a clear increase in access during the first year of the pandemic. However, this potential of Congolese citizens to realize their rights online has been largely limited by the opportunistic actions of the government, which has introduced a new tax on mobile phones, as well as an increase in online gender-based violence. Both of these factors have reduced civic space online.

Civil society organisations nevertheless saw an opportunity to use online platforms to campaign against the government's new tax laws and to raise awareness about online gender-based violence.

Read it via this link


Training Program "Pyladies - Cohort 1" in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo

With the objective of achieving gender equality through technology and innovation, this training program on Programming with the Python language as well as the Web Development Framework known as Django, has seen the participation of 12 (Twelve) young girls aged between 18 and 23 years old from different backgrounds among others: Computer Science, Economics,  Mathematics, Agronomy; but with a common passion: Emerging Technologies.

This programme is part of the Decade of Action, which is a renewed commitment to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals #SDG4 #SDG5 #SDG9 #SDG10 #SDG11 by 2030.

Read more on our website and in our 2023 Annual Activity Report.


Participation in the Tenth Edition of the Internet Freedom Forum with CIPESA and ICNL in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Through the session entitled: "Expanding Civic Space through Online Platforms – Space for Expression, Collaboration and Action", our contribution highlighted the specific ways in which these platforms have contributed to increasing civic space in each region, demonstrating the challenges inherent in developing, maintaining and promoting engagement on these platforms,  and while brainstorming with participants on how everyone could leverage these existing platforms for their input on digital rights.

At the Digital Rights Hub in Africa with 17 other civil society organizations from the region

On 26 and 27 September 2023, ICNL and CIPESA (Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)) organised the inaugural training of the Africa Digital Rights Hub – a newly created network of Civil Society Organisations, lawyers, human rights defenders and technology experts across Africa with a shared vision of promoting digital civic space and addressing threats to digital rights Civil Society Organizations on the continent are confronted.

The event took place on the sidelines of the Africa Internet Freedom Forum (FifAfrica2023) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and culminated in the launch of the Digital Rights Center with a declaration adopted by members committing to coordinate strategic actions to promote the exercise of digital rights and freedoms for CSOs in Africa.

The purpose of the hub is to:

  • Promote enabling legal and policy frameworks governing digital rights at the national or local level, including by opposing current and emerging legislative threats/restrictions; and
  • - Strengthen civil society's capacity to exercise digital rights through targeted outreach and capacity building initiatives, research, strategic litigation, and engagement with multilateral mechanisms at the regional and international level.

Read more here:


Participation in the Mobile World Congress - MWC23 in Kigali, Rwanda

Our participation in the African continent's most influential event in #MWC23 connectivity – KIGALI, was an opportunity to exchange with different stakeholders on how spectrum policy can help bridge the digital divide and how to effectively prepare for the transition from 4G to 5G.

But it was also an opportunity to address other perspectives including Strategic Philanthropy or Sustained Intentionality in Governments, Private Sector and combining these two approaches to improve mobile phone penetration and bridge the digital divide for youth, women and people with disabilities.