Before the end of July this year, we have had more than 11 internet shutdowns across the continent and over 100 shutdowns across the world. We expect a few more before the end of the year. Democratic and authoritarian governments cut access to the internet and mobile networks in times of protests, elections, and school exams. During internet shutdowns and network disruptions, folks living in countries that experience shutdowns do not just wait until the internet comes back, they find alternative means of communications.
The internet shutdown stories documented by Access Now's Shutdown Stories Project examines how human rights activists, students, teachers, feminist groups, and ordinary citizens take matters into their own hands: they prepare in advance of shutdowns and censorship measures to protect their access to information and freedom of expression. Through the Shutdown Stories Project, I will present some of the resilient stories of people across the continent that defied internet shutdowns and continued to protest, elect, and speak. They download apps to measure shutdowns, install VPNs, and other measures to keep doing their essential work.