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Older Community Grants

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The Beyond the Net Programme help bring positive change to people's lives. 

To read updates on all the projects listed below, visit our blog.

If you would like to apply for funding for your own project, visit How to Apply.

Armen Nazaryan, Armenia Chapter

Start date: June 2012

There are 19,000 blind and visually impaired people in Armenia. On December 2006 the General Assembly of UN has adopted a convention about the rights of disabled people aiming to encourage regards to their dignity.  With that in mind the Internet Society, Armenia Chapter took the initiative to help the rehabilitation of the Cultural Center of the Armenian Society of Blind People and submitted an application to former “Internet Society Community Grants Programme” to create an Internet Availability Center at the Culture House Of the Blinds

Thanks to the Internet availability today young people can gather at the center after school and learn to use the computer through a voice recorder. Trainers offer support with specially designed computer literacy courses. Even Albert Musheghyan, the 85 years old doctor in Philology, uses the Internet with a Braille keyboard for his researches while correcting inaccuracies in Armenian history.

Albert Musheghyan uses the Intenet with a Braille keyboard - Culture House of the Blinds - Armenia

The implementation of this project brought several benefits:

  • The installation of a fully equipped Internet center for the blind
  • People started attending the Culture House again
  • Open access to information is provided
  • Opportunity is given to communicate with other Armenians around the world
  • Social isolation and loneliness are prevented
  • Specially designed teaching methods to easy learning are offered
  • The seed of a new dream has been planted … learn more

Tariq Zaman, Global Member

The community in Long Lamai are mainly involved in subsistence farming, and like many other remote rural areas, find most of their young people moving away to urban centres. There is also a lack of awareness of the hidden assets that exist in the remote areas, such as flora and fauna, and the unique culture of Long Lamai.  

This e-commerce project will leverage these assets by helping the community to develop and promote their handicrafts and homestays, and give the local people the skills to maintain the e-commerce website themselves. Ultimately, the project aims to generate new employment and reduce number of young people leaving these remote areas through the creation of social and economic opportunities.

Mamadou Diallo Iam, Mali Chapter

This initiative is the continuation of a successful project implemented in 2013 that connected a  group of schools to the Internet.

In this second phase the project will develop educational content in the Bambara language. The ISOC Mali Chapter will work together with teachers from the school and with advisors of the education authorities to produce different lectures in the local language including grammar, reading, comprehension, as well as units on citizenship, environment, history, geography, science, math and technology. This work will help students in their learning process while contributing to the development of local language content on the Internet.

Bruno Barrera Yever, Global Member

This project aims to bring Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE) to 6 communities in poverty around Mexico City. Working with TECHO and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the project team will provide Internet connectivity and computers to students in these communities, as well as a SOLE-centered MOOC designed to supplement the often-deficient formal education public schools provide. Providing an alternative space where technology and the Internet are at the heart of learning will not only help improve children's grades, but also develop technological literacy in a population that has been historically marginalized. As a broader goal, the team believes that education and technology will enable the residents of these communities to overcome their poverty situation. Not only does this project aim for improved education, but also for community self-determination through a more informed and active exercise of citizenship.

Luis Martinez, Mexico Chapter

In 2013 Mexico was hit by Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel killing 40 people, leaving thousands without shelter and damaging infrastructure in many parts of the country. One of the hardest hit areas was Guerrero, near Acapulco.

Mexico Chapter - Disaster prevention on Papagayo River's banks

With the support and expertise of the Mexico Chapter members and Mexican higher education institutions, the project will provide access to the Internet to a group of indigenous, rural and underdeveloped communities in the Mexican state of Guerrero. In such places there is a lack of communication technologies due to geographical, economic and political challenges.

Upon completion, the project will provide at least 1Mbs to 3 communities at the banks of Papagayo River, by means of establishing a wireless communications backbone connected to the facilities of Universidad Loyola del Pacífico in Acapulco and distributed vía 5.4GHz links to these communities, where a local access point will provide WiFi access to inhabitants.

The team will install and remotely operate a fully automatic weather station connected to this infrastructure as a tool for disaster avoidance. The project has the potential to benefit more than 25,000 people, providing them with communication capabilities and health, agriculture and disaster-avoidance information.

Melissa Theesen, Global Member

Children’s Future’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty in Cambodia by providing the country’s poorest and most vulnerable children the opportunity to become educated, self-reliant and compassionate individuals. The Technology Academy offers enrichment activities that include introduction to technology and the Internet to help students take advantage of growing Cambodian ICT progress. It is a hub for Internet growth and development in rural Cambodia. Recently connected to the Internet with the goal of promoting technical training, the Academy will build a model that integrates Internet content with traditional teacher-facilitated education, blending the classroom while supporting individual learning and student cultural context. From basic computer skills to advanced design software and coding, the goal is to help students develop marketable skills, to encourage critical thinking, and to allow students to access opportunities they otherwise would not be able to imagine in their rural villages. The Academy adds new technology, expert teachers, and partnerships each year to ensure that students receive an increasingly high level of education to advance their long-term career opportunities. During the next two years, the project will integrate application software development courses so that students can create Khmer learning applications for their peers, enabling widespread replication.

Ngo Thi Quynh Van, Global Member

The Nghe An Public Library, a unit under the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, is the largest centre for information, education and entertainment of Nghe An province in Vietnam.

The main objective of the project is to develop and enhance the Internet literacy skills of women in rural areas, teaching them to use computers and navigate Internet, delivered through several educational courses.

Ahmed Almarwani, Yemen Chapter

The project will be promoting e-commerce in Yemen, and boosting the confidence of the Yemeni community in the Internet as a means of purchasing and selling products and services using available online resources.

To achieve its goal, the project aims at providing training focusing on young Yemenis, preferably those who have a university degree, who are either unemployed or need an additional source of income and are eager to explore the various potentials of e-commerce to advance their careers. This project will help them develop skills through group training, seminars, and debates around what is needed to enhance the conditions for developing the e-commerce sector in Yemen.

Pablo Lecuona, Global Member

Tiflolibros is the first digital library for Spanish-speaking visually impaired people, accessible worldwide for free over the Internet using computers or mobile devices adapted with screen reader programs. Despite the significant progress Tiflolibros has made to date, now reaching over 7,000 people across 5 continents, there is still much more work to be done to reach more people - particularly those in  disadvantaged or remote areas - who do not have Internet access and therefore cannot use these resources. Similarly, more work must be done to expand the contents of the library, including materials of local interest in Latin America.

The project aims to address both of these challenges by expanding 1) the library resources to include new local content, particularly from Argentinian and Latin American authors and 2) access to those resources by creating four pilot facilities – or Access Points - in libraries, telecenters or other organizations in the northern Argentine provinces to benefit people with visual disabilities.  Lastly, the team will document these experiences in a toolkit that can facilitate and encourage other organizations throughout Latin America to form their own access points.

Sana Saleem, Global Member

The project aims to ensure that the Internet in Pakistan remains open and free of censorship by the state. This can only happen when there is legislation that protects rights, establishes that access to content on the Internet is voluntary and that the only rights -friendly regulation can be one that empowers the end user to decide what to access or what not to. In order to do this, the team will draft legislation based on consultations that will ultimately reverse control, taking it out of the hands of the government and putting it into the hands of citizens. This legislation will then be presented to policymakers to write into law.