Contributed by Sylvia Cadena, APNIC
The Asia Pacific region is already seeing the benefits of the small grants program, ISIF (the Information Society Innovation Fund). The 2009 round of funding has been a proven success with awarded projects already making their mark in the region.
Pakistan’s Jaroka Tele-healthcare teams’ project on “Mobiles for Development: Enabling Low-Cost e-Applications for Rural and Remote Areas (e-health)” has achieved significant success by initiating a regular tele-health referral service with US-based specialists. A member of this team also recently won the 2009 ITU Cybersecurity and ICT Applications Essay Competition – Consultancy Program. This offered the opportunity of a three-month consultancy contract within the ITU Developments Sector’s ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division.
Another awarded project, Thailand’s intERLab, AIT project on the “Development of emergency networks training and toolkits” recently held a workshop with the support of ISIF.asia, Internet Society (ISOC), NSRC, THNIC Foundation, and NetworkTheWorld.org. The workshop provided 22 participants from five countries hands-on experience using WiMAX technology to deploy mobile wireless networks on an ad hoc basis in emergency conditions. They all received copies of “Wireless Networking in the Developing World” and the “DUMBO Emergency Network Handbook”.This workshop is a head start for AIT’s intERLab. Going forward, it will act as a regional coordinating centre for disaster management and emergency response.
“These projects clearly illustrate the rewards that small grants programs like ISIF offer for developing economies. They not only showcase innovative solutions to ICT issues, but also enable developing economies to grow in all respects”, said Paul Wilson, Director General of APNIC.
ISIF is a joint initiative between the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Internet Society (ISOC), and the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC). It aims to stimulate creative solutions to ICT development needs in the Asia Pacific region.
ISIF will provide grants of up to AUD 40,000 per project in 2010, to help advance local and regional projects aimed at introducing, improving, and applying Internet and other digital communication technologies for the benefit of Asia-Pacific users and communities.
Two hundred and seven submissions were received from 25 economies, including Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Rep. of Korea, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Pakistan, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia, Mongolia, Laos, Indonesia, India, Fiji, China, Cambodia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Australia.
The Grants Evaluation Committee (GEC) has reviewed and evaluated the applications according to specific criteria and has shortlisted nine applications from the group for the full review process.
The ISIF Secretariat is in the process of providing the shortlisted applicants with the feedback produced by the GEC. The shortlisted applicants will submit their final proposals by 5 January 2010. The GEC will communicate the final list of projects approved for funding by 20 January 2010. After a brief set of administrative procedures, the 2010 grantees will be able to start their project activities no later than March 2010.
ISIF is actively seeking sponsorship to support innovation in the Asia Pacific region. For information about how to participate, please contact ISIF Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org