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The Fellowship Spirit

Part Three of a Four-Part Blog Series (Read Part One and Part Two)

ICANN59 is upon us and with it, the completion of the ICANN Fellowship Program 10 Year Survey that we conducted in March 2017. Survey results will be posted shortly.

We canvased over 600 individuals who successfully completed the program since its inception in 2007. Our goal was to understand and document their current status:

  • Were they still involved in ICANN and if so, in what capacity?
  • If they were no longer participating, why not, and how can we re-engage them?

The good news is that 70 percent of the over 300 respondents reported their engagement level as "member/observer" or higher, meaning that they have at least joined a community group. Engagement rates were high in both regional and ICANN communities – 69 percent and 62 percent, respectively. These statistics give us a keener sense of where they are in the learning process and how to help them move to the next level.

The survey answers offer the ICANN organization several positive, direct challenges for the coming year. How do we create solutions for restarting participation? How can we minimize the chances that our Fellows will leave the community in the first place? We also need to understand and then find ways to address barriers to participation, which can include: uncertainty of how to become involved, need for funding, unawareness of events, and lack of employer support.

Key Conclusions:

  • Targeted outreach is needed in sectors outside civil society with a focus on remote and underrepresented countries.
  • Community collaboration could help move already informed volunteers into sectors and communities where gaps exist.
  • Continued efforts related to community onboarding, regional and process training, awareness of events, and "open positions" could bring inactive, but willing volunteers back to ICANN.

FY18 Action Items:

  • Expand onboarding information and best practices to retain and place volunteers; widen policy and security training opportunities and bring timely awareness of events to regions. Collaborate with ICANN Policy liaisons, Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) Regional Team members and Community Outreach/Inreach Committees.
  • Identify the challenges preventing further engagement; develop solutions to bring individuals back to their region, sector, or community of interest. Partner with GSE and Policy teams, as applicable, but also experienced ICANN volunteers who can serve as mentors.

Wrapping things up, we'd like to highlight several members of the African community who have actively participated in ICANN since their Fellowship experience:

Mistura Aruna, Nigeria – Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)

Roger Baah, Ghana – African Regional At-Large Organization (AFRALO) and Fellowship Coach

Pascal Bekano, Cameroon – AFRALO and Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) – Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Review Working Group

Tijani Ben Jamma, Tunisia – Vice-Chair, At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) Leadership

Andreas Dlamini, Swaziland – GAC

Beran Dondeh Gillen, Gambia – ALAC Africa

Grace Githaiga, Kenya – NCUC Executive Committee, Africa (past)

Ines Hfaiedh, Tunisia – NCUC Executive Committee, Africa (current)

Sarah Kiden, Uganda – Secretariat, AFRALO

Mamadou LO, Senegal – Fellowship Coach and Internet governance activist

Vincent Ngundi, Kenya – GAC

Abibu Ntahigiye, Tanzania - Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) Councilor

Seun Ojedeji, Nigeria – CCWG-Accountability

Souleymane Oumtanaga, Côte d'Ivoire – ccNSO Councilor

Lawrence Owalale Roberts, Nigeria – Business Constituency Mentor

If you'd like information about how to apply to the Fellowship Program or have any feedback or comments, please email us at fellowships@icann.org.

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