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The first round of Beyond the Net funding recipients are selected!

I'm excited about this selection as it's the first of the programme! A few months ago we evolved our Community Grants programme to Beyond the Net - a funding programme for our Chapters and members to build and carry out projects in their city, town, or communities.

Projects range from giving people in Sri Lanka a new sight to building a Internet community center for Indigenous Mayans. All are dedicated to bringing amazing opportunities to people around the world.

Do you have a great idea? 

You can apply for small, medium, or large-scale grants as a Chapter or, if there is no Chapter where you live, as an individual member.

Find out more about how to apply for a Beyond the Net grant. 

Congratulations to all recipients!

Safer and conscious use of the Internet among K-12 children in Turkey

Project Leader: Fatma Demirel, Turkey Chapter

According to the EU Kids Online: National Perspectives report, 25% of children in Turkey express statements that are perceived as constituting Internet addiction (defined as “excessive use” in the report).

This project seeks to educate children on safer Internet use and teach them how to avoid risks online while using social media, search engines, and video gaming sites. We believe that through education, children can become more aware of the risks of Internet use and they can use the Internet without the need for any kind of prohibitions of content – since blocking content is not the solution, which is in line with the values of ISOC. We will also conduct seminars and workshops about how to access reliable information from the Internet. As indicated in the ISOC mission, we are aiming for all people benefit to benefit from using the Internet.

Simplification of Terms and Conditions

Project Leader: Nicolas Chagny, France Chapter

The law on confidence in the digital economy (LCEN) forced each website to acquire imprint with clear and identical information, enabling any user to identify the publisher of a site, and its host contact. In 2013, the Internet Society conducted the global survey on Internet usage called "Global Internet User Survey". We noted that a majority of French Internet users feels helpless in terms of protection of privacy on the Internet. Only 7% of respondents say they always read the terms of use and privacy (TOS). Among those that sometimes read these conditions, only 12% says they completely understand it. Over 90% of respondents do not systematically pay attention to privacy rules.

This project aims to:

  • The creation of simple and synthetic General Terms and Conditions (GTC) models, meeting the legal requirements of publishers. The goal is to have TOS included in one single page, understandable by all;
  • The creation of a single simple sign-on, understandable to all, in orde to allow each user, upon validation of terms and conditions, to do so in full knowledge of the commitments he makes.

The project is not intended to analyze, classify or judge the Terms and Conditions of websites, but to improve accessibility and readability of these terms.

New vision for the visually impaired

Project Leader: Sagarika Wickramasekera, Sri-Lanka Chapter

Sri Lanka has a population of 20 million people of these about 200,000 people are believed to be blind and another 400,000 are visually impaired. Many of these lost their sight during the country's civil war (1983-2009).

This project was initiated following a demand from the visual impaired soldiers that saw the Internet as a tool to stop their isolation, develop their knowledge and skills and ultimately find a job and re-integrate society.

Internet Society Sri-Lankan Chapter together with a local organization for the blind decided to bring this idea to life and include all visually impaired person in the country. In the initial phase, the project will create a core group of future Trainers of thirty visually impaired individuals and train them in computer literacy. After receiving their certification this group will begin to train their fellow visually impaired citizens. In the second phase, a Mobile Lab will be developed to reach out to visually impaired people in remote locations that have poor access to Internet.

Hmara Internet

Project Leader: Nighat Dad, in collaboration with the Pakistan Islamabad Chapter 

Organisations and initiatives that deal with the rights of women in Pakistan will tackle harassment, but do not focus on the role played by ICTs. In the absence of any proactive laws to tackle cyber harassment, the aim of the Hamara Internet (“Our Internet”) campaign is to raise the awareness of digital violence against women, and to provide women with the necessary knowledge and tools to protect their online and offline freedom of expression via comprehensive workshops and trainings. By fostering digital literacy among women, they will be able to not only safety and effectively navigate digital spaces themselves, but will also be able to help their families and friends to protect themselves as well.

WiFi-UH

Project Leader: Alejandro Ramos Encinosa, Cuba

The University of Havana, the oldest and biggest university in Cuba, is located in the center of the city and it has facilities all around. With more than 25 000 students it only has around 3000 computers in its labs, which is not enough for our community to fully cover all the needs for contents for learning, research and innovation.

The project's main goal is to provide the University of Havana with a powerful WiFi network in all its main campuses. This network will allow the community to access the Internet using their personal devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. It will also permit the visitors and people living close to the university to surf the net. The access points will be placed in order to cover all the open spaces in the university. Besides the implementation of the WiFi network, the project encompasses the training of the technical personal and the introduction of this kind of technology to the users.

Internet Radio for People with Visual Impairments

Project Leader: Igor Mkrtumyan, Armenia Chapter

The creation of the Internet Availability Center in 2012 for blind and visually impaired people at the Culture House of Blinds in Yerevan, Armenia, triggered creative ideas among active members and instructors of the center. They came to the conclusion that Internet radio is one of the utmost importance for blinds. Through a comprehensive internet radio programmation, this project will help Armenian blinds to be well informed of their rights and privileges, problems and solutions, new opportunities and success stories. They will become trained to overcome psychological barriers for integration into the society. They will network and provided with a platform for joint advocacy. The project will orient them in choice of suitable profession, and make them more active participants of social life.

By the end of the project there will be a functional platform established for people with various disabilities, particularly for those with vision impairments and a notable cohort of Armenian speaking people of five continents.

IICB - Indian IETF Capacity Building Program - Phase II

Anupam Agrawal, India Kolkata Chapter

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Society (ISOC) and Internet Architecture Board (IAB) are important Internet governance organisations concerned with the technical aspects of the Internet. Countries, which have representation in the core technical activities of these organisations, can have significant contribution and strong presence in the world of Internet governance. However, till date India’s participation in these organisations is almost negligible.

As such Phase I – of the IICB program was initiated which was to create a broad level approach framework, Converting the objectives into actionable goals, conduct awareness sessions in 5 colleges, 5 SMEs and then conduct 2 IICB conferences along with creating a common IT platform to work on IETF nationally and send 2 people on partial fellowships to any IETF meeting. This received the support of Government of India as well and is nearing its completion. The IT platform – iicb.org showcases everything done till now.

The current project will seek to achieve Phase II of the IICB program. During this phase, MOU will be signed with participating institutions, awareness sessions will be conducted therein and IICB conferences will be hosted by forming consortium of participating institutions every quarter and then publication of a quarterly digest on IETF participation and contribution. The project also endeavors to start the process of remotely attending IETF meetings All these efforts are being channelized for hosting of IETF in India (Either IETF -100 / IETF 103) wherein ISOC Kolkata Chapter is working very closely with Government of India and initial interactions have been made with the IETF Administrative committee as well.

Community Internet Center for Indigenous Mayans

Andrew Ettinger, Guatemala

This project aims to provide Internet access and educational Internet training for indigenous Mayan children and families.

A Community Internet Center will be created, a space where the entire community is invited to use the Internet for free, with staff that has been trained to teach others how to use the systems. This will encourage people in the community who do not have access to a computer nor money to use the local Internet cafes to learn about Internet and how to use it.

Access to emerging tech and the new economy for indigenous Guatemalans is one way for them to escape the cycle of endemic poverty.

Non-visual access to the digital library (NoVA)

Project Leader: Woubakal Tesfaye, Ethiopia

The project entitled “Non-visual access to digital library (NoVA)” aims to fulfill the information needs of visually impaired students who are attending high school and higher educational institutions as well as visually impaired employees and job seekers.

The contents of this web-based library will be uploaded mainly by Together!. Users can also contribute. To facilitate accessibility for the users, the web-based digital library includes free accessible programs like both Amharic and English screen readers and screen magnifiers. And also supports different languages.

As Ethiopia is a melting pot of nations and nationalities the web-based library will allow the user to select their preferred language.

The proposed project will bridge the existing digital divide among sighted and visually impaired students and professionals by serving as a main information and reference domain for visually impaired to access information at their convenience, without restriction.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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