RIPE NCC Community Projects Fund suggestions

After attending 2023 RIPE NCC Community Projects Fund open house event at 26 April 2024, i would like to propose several suggestions to improve such events and RIPE NCC Community Projects Funding in general.

  1. Openhouse could pre-publish presentation slides and videos. This approach is more convenient than the current process. At present, we have to allocate 1:30 hours for our meeting, but with pre-published videos, we could view them, take notes, prepare data, and formulate questions ahead of time. The complexity of the topics often prevents attendees from asking questions during the live sessions. Having access to materials in advance would facilitate more engaging and productive discussions during the open house. Another advantage includes fewer technical issues with Zoom, such as audio muting problems, and reduced stress for presenters, who could prerecord and edit their presentations. It would also be beneficial if these presentations were transcribed, enabling us to search for specific topics and aiding those with disabilities.

  2. I am surprised that the live openhouse is the only platform for discussion. I have suggested that we need a mailing list or forum. The contact information for presenters is often insufficient; I would prefer public discussions where I can see other people’s questions and responses. This open format might also provide corrections if I misunderstand something.

  3. Projects posted on the Call for Participation (CFP) should at least include a project website and contact information.

  4. It would be preferable to publish projects on the CFP in advance of approval to facilitate discussion. This allows attendees to prepare questions and conduct research before projects are approved. For example, concerning the topic of submarine cables, I have significant doubts about the adequacy of using just traceroute for measurements. Such projects need more comprehensive data inputs. For instance, many ISPs might use a combination of old and new links for traffic engineering, which traceroute may not adequately detect. Discussions with project authors could reveal more intriguing aspects than what is presented in their slides. Additionally, discussions might provide insights on how projects could be adjusted to be more beneficial for the community, as suggested by RIPE members, and members opinions can be taken in consideration by Working Group during the project evaluation.

  5. Why are project reports (six-month, one-year) mentioned in presentations but not published on the RIPE website? We need more transparency to understand what has been accomplished and the outcomes of these projects. (APNIC does that)

  6. RIPE publishes very limited information about its projects. For example, try finding the repository for “fpdns2: DNS Fingerprinting Tool” based on the description provided. This lack of information hinders our ability to follow up on project developments.

There is more to suggest, but i prefer to get familiar with the processes and community first. I hope these suggestions will be taken into consideration and improve the RIPE NCC Community Projects Fund open house events.

The RIPE NCC Community Project Fund has played a pivotal role in fostering technological advancements and empowering communities in Nigeria. One notable example is its impact in my community, where the fund’s investments have created a tangible positive change. Through the establishment of critical infrastructure, the project has laid the foundation for digital connectivity and economic growth.

The infrastructure established by the RIPE NCC Community Project Fund has bridged the digital divide in my community, providing access to information, communication, and essential services. This has not only improved the quality of life for residents but has also created new opportunities for education, healthcare, and business. The project has also facilitated the development of local skills and expertise in the field of information and communications technology (ICT), contributing to the growth of the digital economy.

The impact of the RIPE NCC Community Project Fund has extended beyond my community, making a significant contribution to the overall development of Nigeria. The infrastructure established through the project has enhanced connectivity and communication nationwide, supporting the government’s efforts to bridge the digital gap and promote economic growth. The project has also fostered partnerships with key stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, recognizing the importance of collaboration in driving technological advancements.

However, despite the remarkable achievements of the RIPE NCC Community Project Fund, there remains a need for a dedicated platform to showcase the project’s impact and share its success stories. Currently, there is limited space on the RIPE NCC Community website to adequately highlight the project’s outcomes and the transformative effects it has had on communities across Nigeria. A dedicated platform would provide a valuable opportunity to document and celebrate the project’s achievements, inspiring others to invest in similar initiatives that empower communities and drive digital transformation.
JADSL ICT UNIT COMMUNITY CENTER is funded by RIPE NCC Community Project Funds 2021. Guds to RIPE NCC Community Project Funds

Hi Denys,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your suggestions!

Let me start with some general information. In 2016, the RIPE NCC Executive Board approved funding for a “Good of the Internet” activity, part of which became the Community Projects Fund. Today, this fund awards 250 kEUR annually to projects of value to the operation, resilience and sustainability of the Internet, with a focus on tools and services benefiting the technical community in our service region. It’s important to note that the 250 kEUR is the total amount of the fund rather than what is allocated per project.

These grants are awarded by a committee of volunteers (Selection Committee — RIPE Network Coordination Centre) and not the RIPE NCC. There is one committee member from the RIPE NCC Executive Board and five volunteers from the RIPE community, elected for a 3-year term.

Open Houses are one of several types of engagement we do virtually to reduce our travel budget and carbon footprint. They began during COVID-19 as a means for people to stay connected and talk about a topic and have remained an effective way for people to talk on a subject in a relatively informal way. As a means of engagement, they are highly successful and the participation levels are a real indication of this. They also cost relatively little to host and organise them and we end up (depending on the topic) with a lot of people happy to join and talk at the sessions.

Regarding the visibility of projects and the publication of detailed reports and repositories, we acknowledge a need from the community for greater transparency and access to information of the Community Projects Fund. This enables the community to learn from and build on the projects funded by the RIPE NCC. We are taking steps to improve how project outcomes are communicated. This includes publishing the amounts awarded for projects from 2017-2022:

We will publish more information soon after the RIPE Meeting.

Your proposal to open up the discussion on the Forum for more dynamic discussions is one we will also focus on. We shall look at opening Forum threads and this will also help in providing a platform for clarification and deeper understanding of the Fund, which could indeed enhance the quality of both proposals and final projects.

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Thank you for the significant improvements in transparency!
In the upcoming budget task force, it would be beneficial to create a roadmap for all projects, including the Community Projects Fund, to facilitate further improvements. Additionally, I hope that enhanced openness, including improved planning, will help attract funding from external sources such as corporations and other institutions.