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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

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.

Sigrid Ortega, Global Member

The project targets young women in the junior and senior levels of six high schools in Oruro, Bolivia. Through several workshops and courses, the aim is to enable girls and young women to learn computing, web-related technologies and issues related to Internet security. The successful students will be granted a certificate as Trained Technician on Maintenance of Laptops, Internet Security and Computer Networks.

The learned skills and knowledge will enable these young women to earn an income, create their own jobs, and find other employment opportunities, by unleashing their technological potential. At the same time, they will become agents and promoters of technological innovation and social change based on the principles of a responsible use of Internet.

Jabulani Vilakazi, South Africa Chapter

Access to the Internet is a significant enabler of economic growth and human development, this project created a wireless network that will give free and low-cost access to rural township and remote areas. SOWUG (Soweto Wireless User Group) has connected people to the Internet who have never been on the Internet before.

Internet infrastructure has been brought to under serviced locations in Soweto; connecting over 1000 people, 10 local businesses, 10 households and 50 youth community members have been trained on digital literacy.

Soweto Wireless

Project benefits:

  • People use the network to look for employment and business opportunities
  • A lot of businesses appreciate what we are doing because it will give them a platform to reach local residents and sell their products
  • Early in 2015 we secured offices that enabled us to start implement grassroot programs and training.
  • As from 2014 we worked with Foundation for Internet Development for backhaul support (Data center and bandwidth provision) and now one of the small businesses we are working with has given us a 1Gbps bandwidth link for the next 18 months.
  • We are now starting to become an internationally organisation. We have forged a very good relationship with the Local US embassy to afford us opportunities to learn abroad and implement these learning locally.

We are currently in the process of finalising an agreement for rolling-out of 70 hotspots for the City of Johannesburg in Soweto, which will help us build capacity technically and assist with curbing costs of keeping the network live.

Watch Jabulani Vilakazi interviewed at iWeek 2015 for the History of the Internet in South Africa

Vadim Georgienko, Global Member

The project team, in partnership with the Young Community foundation, aims to develop Ukrainian communities’ capacity – to become Smart Communities - by removing barriers to the natural behavior of citizens in decision-making and implementation with a help of a mobile application.  Outdated tools for local self-governance and the low level of social innovations are the main barriers that have had a negative impact on Ukrainian communities’ development. They have contributed to the stagnation of democratic processes, the highest levels of corruption, and the recent revolution in Ukraine.

Ukraine - Civil Society App

The team has created innovative functionality within the Civil Society application and plan to enhance the features and implement it among three pilot groups of beneficiaries (students, members of NGOs, and community members), then to scale the implementation among the country in the upcoming local elections (October 2015).

Here you find a playlist with 13 action plans for solving concrete problems with the Civil Society app

Niranjan Meegammana, Global Member

Harassment of teenage girls on social networks – including extreme cases of self-harm - is a growing problem in Sri Lanka due to an increase in their use among teenagers. In most cases young people are withdrawing from social life and digital society; the physical and/or psychological victimization affects their education and employment. Although national laws and procedures are in place for protection, there is a general lack of awareness, advice and resources available – in the local language - for victims to seek justice. The project will create digital content in the local language to raise awareness about the problem, advocate for safe and respectful online discourse, and train youth. One output will be a Cyber Privacy eHandbook for those new to the Internet, as well as for teachers and parents. A group of young people will learn how to create short films, digital posters, stories, and comics available online to encourage peer-to-peer awareness. This online network will expand to the real world with short film exhibitions and awareness raising exercises in schools.  All content created from the project will be distributed freely under Creative Commons 3.0 online allowing for wider sharing, replication and adaptation across the world.

Monir Bhuiyan, Bangladesh Dhaka Chapter

The aim of this project is to support and foster collaborations between the academic and business communities in Bangladesh. This project will help to connect academics and business people with research and contacts in fields including e-commerce, e-governance, and e-health.

Delu Lusambya, Global Member

This project involves the creation of a centre connected to the Internet for grouping, sharing and publication of information related to violence against women in the province of South Kivu, in the Democractic Republic of the Congo. 

A resource centre will be set up, including 10 computers with Internet access, for sharing and publishing information around getting help for young women coping with violent situations in the Uvira community.

 

Miroslaw Maj, Global Member

The project will design and test a Cooperation Model in which Internet communities can help each other internationally in case of cyber attacks (e.g. DDoS). It will analyze known massive cyber attacks and study what could be done when international solidarity and a willingness to help your colleagues in other country is effective and well coordinated. A team of ISOC members with substantial knowledge of the CEE region, cybersecurity and Internet communities from six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine) will form a Cooperation Network, exchange their experiences and analyze their joint capacity to deal with cyber attacks. The project will last two years, including period when collaborating teams will be trained on attacks that occur under normal conditions and are detected in each of their CERTs. Results will be presented and disseminated in form of a dedicated website, public presentations and a leaflet. Conclusions will be collected and the main outcome (a model of cooperation) will be sent to all CERT-like organizations, cybersecurity stakeholders and to all interested ISOC members in partner countries. The major beneficiaries are Internet communities in countries prone to cyber attacks, security stakeholders (e.g. national CERTs), and ISOC Chapters and members in the cooperation countries.

Pilar Saenz, Colombia, Global Member

Fundacion Karisma in Colombia will coordinate a study of net neutrality in at least 5 Latin American countries to understand exactly how or whether neutrality is maintained in the market regarding the local commercial offers by ISPs. While there have been studies on net neutrality in Latin America, these studies have focused only on the legal aspects of neutrality. The team will expand these studies by developing indicators that examine exactly how net neutrality is protected or endangered. Given how major ISPs within Colombia such as Claro and Movistar operate in most countries throughout Latin America, the team will examine the realities beyond what is written in law to determine to what extent and how net neutrality is maintained throughout the region.

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