Chamsa Al Marif Nime, a Digital Grassroots Ambassador from Chad, sits with two other young people as they use a computer connected to a mobile internet modem
Photo courtesy of Esther Mwema

My first Mozfest experience was virtual!

In the year 2018, I could not attend the Mozilla Festival in person because of cost and visa barriers, so I co-facilitated my session from a distance. Two years later, I am Wrangling the AI Wellness Space and am a Mozfest Ambassador to the first-ever virtual MozFest. This unique gathering will now reach many more people like me, who otherwise would have never attended. And yet, there is still a digital divide that is keeping the ones whose voices are most needed on this platform from attending.

At the virtual MozFest, I am looking forward to sharing what it’s like to be on the other side of the web with a film screen co-directed by me and Uffa Modey titled ‘On this Side of the Web’.

'On this Side of The Web' is a short film by youth-led organization Digital Grassroots that portrays key barriers to digital inclusion for young people and marginalized groups. Not everyone can afford the internet, and even if they could, sometimes the infrastructure simply isn’t there. The digital literacy gap can also keep some internet users from being able to meaningfully participate at MozFest due to language, skills, or technical differences.

Digital Grassroots short film 'On this side of the web' aims to show how the global culture and our individual heritage may keep us on the other side of the internet divide. The film will be part of the Global Culture and Heritage Space, which challenges us to explore new ways for bringing the disconnected onboard so that the future of AI will be inclusive and representative of its users.

Our community of Wranglers are working to ensure MozFest is accessible across our diversities of age, region, profession, and lifestyle amidst a global pandemic. It is a great learning experience for our community. This short film tries to do the same by providing a depiction of what we have learned across the years as youth leaders from Digital Grassroots and young people in internet governance.

On This Side of The Web

Presently, as we work towards developing a healthier internet, we must recognize the voices of marginalized and underrepresented communities. It will be impossible to achieve a truly inclusive internet without an open internet centered on distributed ownership, whereby all internet users are involved in processes that shape the digital future.

‘On this Side of the Web’ short film sends a simple message: The Internet is for Everyone. The core Internet Invariants, such as those highlighted by the Internet Society, need to be put into practice. These include Global reach and integrity, accessibility, innovation without requiring permission, and no permanent favorites, among more. The current digital landscape needs to recommit to these open principles by ensuring that the marginalized, including young people, have the required skills to connect to the broader national and international policy environment. The short film will focus on best practices for internet stakeholders to ensure meaningful connectivity of young people and underrepresented groups.

Join Us at MozFest

Tickets to MozFest are now available here. This will be our very first screening of ‘On this Side of the Web’ which was co-created with young leaders in internet governance. The outcomes of the session are to:

  1. Show how the digital divide affects different regions in diverse ways
  2. Offer a roadmap for internet industry leaders to bridge the digital divide through multi-stakeholderism in Internet Governance
  3. To get feedback from participants on the short film

Be one of the first to watch the short film. See you at MozFest.

Esther Mwema is an artist who builds tools to address girls safety (via SAFIGI) and increase digital citizenship in underserved communities (via Digital Grassroots). She is a Mozilla Festival Wrangler in the AI Wellness Space and a MozFest Ambassador.

MozFest is part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. To learn more, visit

Sign up for the MozFest newsletter here to stay up to date on the latest festival and internet health movement news.

Related content