The new Internet Society Foundation has issued its first set of medium and large grants (ranging from $12,000 to USD $30,000 each) to 13 ground-breaking projects that seek to spread the benefits of the Internet around the world.
The Internet Society established the to fund projects that will improve the quality of people’s lives everywhere. The Foundation awards grants to Internet Society Chapters as well as non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to providing meaningful access to an open, globally connected and trusted Internet for everyone.
Of the more than 40 applications received this year, 13 projects were selected by a committee that evaluated projects based on criteria that included originality and innovation, community impact and sustainability and technical feasibility, among others.
The projects in Africa selected for grants are:
- $30,000 to create Wi-Fi access points and an off-the-grid Media Center within the Mamaila Tribal Authority, South Africa. The project will also build community capacity through training on cybersecurity, content development, entrepreneurship, and the construction, operation and maintenance of community networks. This aims to empower unemployed youth to organize themselves into cooperatives to advance their socio-economic aspirations and expand the planned network infrastructure.
- $12,322 will go towards creating community networks for 5,000 people in three remote farming communities and awareness-raising in Madagascar. The project will also provide technical training and basic Internet skills to a group of people who will train others to use the Internet to capture practical information for their economic development (such as on weather forecasts that can impact harvests and the prices of the agricultural products they sell).
- $30,000 to generate reliable statistical data on Internet use in Mali, in particular on the use/misuse of social media, which has become popular in both rural and urban areas. Most existing data has been produced by telecoms operators, for commercial ends, and results have not been made widely accessible. The results of this project, however, will be widely available through its publication and dissemination.
The Internet Society Foundation provides grants to the Internet community, Internet Society Chapters, non-profits and individuals working on one or more of the following program areas:
- Initiatives that build community capacity to access and benefit from the Internet (including digital literacy skills, reaching unconnected populations, awareness-raising and local content-production);
- Initiatives that respond to natural disasters;
- Opportunities for research across technical, economic and public policy topics;
- Initiatives that demonstrate innovative techniques to advance an Internet for all; and
- Local and regional projects supported by ISOC’s nearly 140 Chapters