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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

Patrick Blank, Global Member

In the Federated States of Micronesia, only 5% of the population has access to the Internet. This project will see wireless Internet access points installed in an elementary school in Pohnpei. Moreover, the teachers will also be trained in using the Internet, and in turn they will use these resources in their curriculum. The ultimate goal is to create experienced Internet users and expand the use of the Internet, both inside and outside the classroom.

Not only will this project be a pilot project for other schools, but it will also be used as a test case of the sustainability of using the Internet in schools and it will highlight how underutilized the Internet is on the island.

Tilahun Wondimu, Global Member

This project aims to empower individuals with visual impairment to use a computer, the Internet and other technologies effectively. Skill training will be provided at selected schools for students and at the resource and training centre, equipped with adaptive technologies, as well as a variety of services like internet connection, e-library, audio-books, Braille and other general services.

Asia Kamukama - Uganda, Global Member

Start date: 2015

The Mobile Solar Computer Classroom Project
is designed to address the problem of limited hands on computer trainings and lack of access to information in low income schools and communities in Uganda through the use of solar power and providing reliable, efficient computers and Internet access to schools and community libraries. 

The classroom consists of a modified Toyota RAV4 (with a custom rack on top to support solar panels), three 85-watt solar panels, 200mA battery, 15 Laptop computers, 1 Internet router, a 5m by 3m foldable tent, 8 folding chairs and two teachers.

The project provides customized computer training to pupils, students, teachers and community groups and, in partnership with five primary schools, will train students in grades 4 to 7 on a 2-year basic computer skills curriculum and will conduct teacher ICT capacity building workshops.

Uganda Chapter Mobile Solar Computer Classroom


  • The project equipped 2,500 students with computer skills and enabled them get a chance to use computers. As a result student’s computer skills were developed.
  • 60 teachers improved their computer skills.
  • The projects built internet skills for 60 teachers and they were able to learn how to use the internet for research and communication.
  • Over 100 community members gained interest and knowledge about computers and the internet. They were able to explore how to access information using digital tools like computers and mobile phones.
Alexa Pitoulis, Global Member

Privacy issues are of increasing concern to Canadians, particularly given confirmation that the government has spied on the private information of thousands of law-abiding citizens. OpenMedia will undertake a project to engage and inform Canadians about online privacy issues: to gain a better understanding of Canadians’ priorities and expectations when it comes to online privacy and to learn more about how Canadians want to see their privacy protected in an interconnected, digital age. The first phase of the project - currently underway and not financially supported by ISOC - will focus on building and using an online crowdsourcing tool to ensure as many perspectives and ideas as possible are incorporated into a pro-active, positive report that reflects the views and aspirations of Canadians. The second phase, supported by ISOC funds, will focus on analyzing the results and writing, publishing and engaging citizens in the outcomes of the crowdsourced Privacy Plan. In addition to the Canadian-focused privacy plan, OpenMedia will develop a sharable methodology section or toolkit as a model for how the Internet can be used for participatory policy making, to be adapted to unique social, cultural, and political conditions.

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.