iGmena community survey results  

“iGmena is perhaps one of the most dynamic and exciting groups I've worked with. Your work is inspiring and genuine … Thank you for what you’ve done and the community you’ve built. Keep it up, and all the best to you.”
—ASL19 co-director

Remember the survey we conducted in October and November seeking your input about various aspects of the iGmena program? We asked you for your opinion and you spoke up! We’re pleased to announce the results of the iGmena community survey, and this blog post aims to dive into some of results and provide an overview to our community. We also want to extend a massive thank you/merci/shukran to everyone that participated (we really appreciate your time)!
The survey received 73 responses from individuals, both iGmena alumni and non-alumni, throughout the MENA region and beyond. Of the 73 respondents that took the survey, 47 (63.4%) were iGmena alumni. Furthermore, 27 (37%) indicated they are authors for the Internet Policy Analyst (IPA) project, while 41 (56.2%) said even though they are not currently IPA authors, they would like to become one – a promising sign for the program (please contact us if you would like to write for IPA).

Regarding stakeholder group composition, the majority (52 – 71.2%) identify with civil society.

In terms of satisfaction with the program, the majority indicated that they are satisfied with the program overall, as well as with iGmena's activities and initiatives. When asked how satisfied the respondents are with the iGmena program, 33 (45.2%) said they were satisfied, while 23 (31.5%) said they were very satisfied – 56 (76.7%) in total. Similarly, 61 (83.5%) indicated they were satisfied or vary satisfied with iGmena's activities and initiatives, however, the responses were less positive about the program’s communication and outreach: 65.8% indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied, which could be explained by the lack of a dedicated communications and outreach officer for the majority of the program’s existence. Yet, based on prior feedback received as well as personal feedback given by the community to the iGmena team regarding the program’s communications and outreach, it improved significantly after a communications manager was hired in mid-June 2016. Moreover, the appointment of a dedicated communications and outreach manager helped to promote more community engagement, and demonstrated that communication and outreach should take a more prominent position in the next phase of the program.
We found that more of the respondents were familiar with IPA than with the Internet Legislation Atlas (ILA) – 76.7% verses 63%, respectively. Yet, when asked about their satisfaction with each project individually, most were either satisfied or very satisfied – 37 (40.7%) indicated so for ILA and 41 (57.6%) indicated so for IPA. Although these numbers reflect the majority, they also suggest more can be done in order to improve the community’s satisfaction with these programs and the resources they have to offer.
Moreover, many of the participates are satisfied with iGmena’s communication and outreach, especially since Michael was hired for the first time in mid-June 2016 – a dedicated communications and outreach manager for the program. Yet, only slightly more than half of the respondents indicated that iGmena has either been effective at strengthening Internet governance in the MENA region over the past four years. 

The survey also reveled that respondents want iGmena to focus the most on cybersecurity, privacy, and encryption over the course of the next four years.

A salient theme that emerged throughout the survey was the need for more content available in local MENA languages, especially Arabic, such as on the iGmena website and our publications. For instance, one female Palestinian community member stressed, “All the article[s] provide[d] … on [the] iGmena website, [in the iGmena] newsletter, or [in the] online course material must be in Arabic language in order to reach a wider base.”

We also received multiple suggestions requesting more content in Farsi. For instance, an Iranian alumnus suggested iGmena “establish new websites that cover Internet governance issues [using regional] language[s]. We do not have a serious website about Internet governance in [Farsi].” An Iranian alumnus based in Canada offered another suggestion reinforcing this point: 

I know and understand that working with Iran is difficult and very complex. However, please do not be discouraged by challenges Iranian authorities may cause for you. Please do not forget Iranians’ cause and keep engaging them in your excellent programs.

The survey found that more than half of the respondents visit our website at least once a week, and primarily access it on their laptop PCs. According to the respondents, the most common content accessed is related to IPA, news, and general updates about iGmena. 

Of those respondents that attended iGmena Summit 2016, the vast majority was satisfied with the event. Additionally, more than 90% said they would attend a similar event in the future. When asked about the quality of the administrative support as well as the communication and outreach leading up to the Summit, the numbers were almost tied – 35 (85.4%) said they were satisfied or very satisfied, while 33 (80.5%) said they were satisfied or very satisfied, respectively. They were also asked what worked well during the Summit (26 responses) as well as what could be improved (27 responses).

Check out the full results for more information and analysis

As the iGmena program enters its fifth year, we hope we can continue to build a larger community and further develop capacity in the MENA region to address Internet governance-related and Internet policy issues. We will continue to gather feedback from our alumni and members of the iGmena community as to how we can improve, and incorporate this into our work when possible. Furthermore, one of the most critical findings demonstrated by this survey is the need to formulate a robust communications plan and outreach strategy and better integrate it into the overall program.

Also, since we did not collect any emails, names, or other identifying information, our colleague Hamza Ben Mehrez, the program manager for IPA, has requested that all those who said they are interested in becoming an IPA author should contact him via Facebook or email.

Once again, I want to wish a very sincere thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the questionnaire and participate in the survey. Let us know if you have any questions or comments about the survey – you can leave a message below, leave a comment on Facebook, tweet us, or email us.
Michael Oghia is the communications manager for iGmena and the coordinator of the community survey. He also loathes referring to himself in third-person.

Methdology note: The survey was conducted using a questionnaire hosted on Google Forms (see Appendix A of the results),  and was open from 26 October – 9 November 2016.  The questionnaire required approximately 10 minutes to complete, and the respondents were informed about the anonymity and confidentiality of their responses on the welcome screen and that some of the data would be shared publicly; however, they were also informed that all data, including the responses collected, will be kept confidential, and any identifying information will not be shared with the public unless prior permission is received. Note that the survey was not meant to be representative, especially since it relied on respondents to volunteer their time to fill out the questionnaire. As stated previously, it was open to any member of the community, and the iGmena team did not specifically target a particular demographic or community specific to any country.