Beyond the Net

Want to Make a Difference in Your Community? Apply for a Beyond the Net Medium or Large Grant

Applications are now open for the 2019 Beyond the Net Medium and Large Grants. All Internet Society Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in good standing are eligible to apply.

For more than a decade, Beyond the Net Medium and Large Grants and the former Community Grants Programme have played a major role in empowering people to improve their communities via the Internet. These programmes have reached thousands of people by helping to bring to life community-driven projects that teach digital skills, enable continued trust in the Internet, build infrastructure in rural and underserved areas, and connect Indigenous communities.

The Beyond the Net Funding Programme is now part of the Internet Society Foundation, but will continue to support the excellent work of our Chapter and SIG communities. The Medium and Large Grants are available for funding at a maximum of USD $30,000.

Applications are open until 31 July 2019. For more details, visit Beyond the Net Medium and Large Grant Programme page. 

While you’re there, check out everything else the Foundation is doing!

Beyond the Net Privacy

A Free and Open Course on Data Protection in the Post-GDPR World

Last year, we published “The Dawn of New Digital Rights for Finnish Citizens,” about the launch of the New Digital Rights MOOC, a collaboration between Open Knowledge Finland and the Internet Society’s Finland Chapter. Raoul Plommer wrote, “The aim of the project is to make citizens more aware of their digital rights, initially focusing on explaining GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and MyData…through a MOOC platform and series of workshops that create content and train people and organizations to use it.” Plommer has written an update on the project:

We have come a long way from the beginning of last year, when we were given funding for the project from Internet Society’s Beyond the Net Funding Programme, and Eurooppatiedotus, which is a sub-organization of the Finnish Foreign Ministry.

It took us several months to agree on what is essential to know about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how we would present it to the general public. It was also challenging to get all the content done without actually paying everyone for all their hard work. Both of our funders had a strict limit on how much money could be spent on salaries (15% and 30%). On the other hand, they both allowed paying companies and outsourcing work to people outside the organization, which made the progress unnecessarily tricky, but at least possible.

Here’s what we’ve done:

  1. Seven workshops on creating content, including a larger workshop day after the GDPR day on the 25th of May, with 23 people making data requests to different organizations.
  2. So far, two training workshops, of which one was for students in Tampere, and another for pensioners’ IT-trainers in Helsinki. In the latter, they even wrote a blog about the session.
    We’re still trying to confirm the date for a third training session for Boy Scouts in February, and hopefully will be able to set the date for it next week.
  3. We’ve received a decent amount of coverage in the media:
    Helsingin Sanomat (the biggest newspaper in Finland)
    MTV Uutiset
    GDPR Today
    We’re also waiting on another Finnish reporter to go through our course material and write a story about his experience – hopefully it’ll happen soon!
  4. Had the launch event on the 15th of January in Eurooppasali.
  5. We’ve had 2/4 of the introductory/feedback webinars, which take place on Tuesdays, at 16 UTC.
  6. I applied for a session to present our project at RightsCon 2019 and hopefully we’ll get accepted!

I also want people to be aware that the license for the whole project is Creative Commons 4.0, which essentially means that we want people to do anything they want with the material, without asking for a separate permission to do so, even for commercial purposes.

Most of all, we want as many people as possible to know their rights and how to exercise them. This is really for all of our benefit.

Do you have a great idea to make your community better via the Internet? Apply for a Beyond the Net grant, which funds projects up to $30,000 USD, and follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

This post was first published at digirights.infowhere you can find more photos from the project.

Beyond the Net

In Southeast Asia, Improving Livelihoods Through Crowdsourcing

The Southeast Asia region is one of the fastest growing regions in the world today. With rich natural resources, it has evolved into a highly industrialized region, inviting investors from all over the world. The riches however, are not enjoyed by all. According to one ASEAN report, close to 36 million of its population are still living below the international poverty line, with 90% of these people in Indonesia or the Philippines.

Realizing that ASEAN’s greatest asset is its people, various initiatives have been carried out to promote community-driven activities and people-to-people interactions aimed at narrowing the income gap in the region. Today, it still remains relevant for ASEAN member states to partner with private organizations to identify and finance poverty eradication programs in order to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and ASEAN Vision 2025.

The Internet Society Malaysia Chapter, through the Beyond the Net Medium & Large Grant programme, and in collaboration with Malaysian’s Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the University Utara Malaysia, and the Council of Deans for ICT Eduction (Region IX) Philippines, aims to train 400 women in Malaysia and the Philippines to use the MyHelper crowdsourcing application so that they can earn extra income by performing non-digital tasks. This three-pronged project provides opportunities for women to develop essential entrepreneurial skills through ICT, empowers women to start their own businesses, and use the Internet to improve their livelihoods.

MyHelper Mobile Apps
MyHelper is a mobile-based crowdsourcing application which allows people to seek and perform non-digital tasks in order to supplement their income. Built on the Android platform, the application is free and easy to use. The application also is easily customizable so that it can be used in other countries where English is not the primary language.

Under this program, volunteers are engaged to train and support women in their development efforts. The Internet Society Malaysia Chapter believes that poverty eradication requires a multidimensional approach which encompasses education, health, and standard of living, and can only be achieved via sustainable, holistic, and inclusive strategies that include the development of human capital.

This article was originally published on

We’re looking for ideas from people all over the world on how to make their community better using the Internet. The Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $30,000.00 USD. 

Beyond the Net Community Networks Growing the Internet

Community Networks: In Tanzania, Helping to Close the Connectivity Gap

Community established networks, also referred to as “community networks” (CNs), have existed for many years and provide a sustainable solution to address the connectivity gaps that exist in urban, remote, and rural areas around the world. While the global statistics estimate that about half of the world population has access to the Internet, the connectivity gap is wide between the developed and developing countries.

In Tanzania, there are 41.8 million voice telephone subscriptions and only 23 million Internet users. A study by Research ICT Africa reported that when Internet access is compared between rural and urban areas, 86% of rural dwellers remain unconnected to the Internet compared to 44.6% in urban areas. Similarly, in Tanzania, fewer women have access to and use of the Internet than men.

In order to address the connectivity challenges in Tanzania, the Internet Society Tanzania Chapter in partnership with the University of Dodoma, supported by Beyond the Net Funding Programme, has built a pilot project using TV white space as a community network solution. The deployed network has connected four educational institutions in rural Tanzania and at the same time provided Internet access to community members around the schools.

In order to achieve both technical and financial sustainability, members of Kondoa Community Network played a critical role in the deployment of the required infrastructure that finally made this project successful.

Prior to scale-up phase, the Internet Society Tanzania Chapter, in collaboration with the University of Dodoma, organized a two-day technical workshop that brought together participants interested in community networks and those already working with community radio in Tanzania. The workshop was held at the University of Dodoma 5-7 December 2018 and was attended by 45 participants in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, Loliondo, Kahama, Kondoa, Uvinza, Bukombe, Karagwe, Arusha, Kyela, Nkasi, Ileje, Makete, and Nyasa). This was the first community network and community radio workshop of its kind held in Tanzania. The workshop included facilitators from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Argentina. The official opening of the workshop was attended by Peter Msoffe, Acting Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Research and Consultancy of the University of Dodoma. “Community networks are the networks which are deployed and managed by the community themselves to address the connectivity challenges, and are used to receive and exchange information that could solve community challenges,” said Msoffe. A participant from Unyanja FM Community Radio, Patrick Kossima, said, “community network[s] and community radio supplement each other. For instance, hard to reach areas that were not possible to be covered by community radio could be covered by [a] community network and in so doing both feed each other the relevant local contents around the community.”

The workshop covered topics ranging from the technical to policy matters that favor Internet access in Tanzania. “Internet Society Tanzania Chapter is committed to making the Internet to be available even in the very remote and underserved areas in Tanzania because we believe the Internet is for everyone,” said Abibu Ntahigiye, Chairperson, Tanzania Chapter. Ntahigiye presented the topic “Domain the Undomain using .tz Domain.” The workshop on the first community network and community radio in Tanzania was concluded with a visit to Kondoa Community Network, the first community network to pilot the use of television white space technology in Tanzania. While in Kondoa District, workshop participants also visited Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings which are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

We are looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how to make their community better using the Internet. The Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $30,000.00 USD. 

Photo Credit: Nico Pace from

Beyond the Net Internet of Things (IoT)

Zimbabwe Chapter Meetup on IoT: Converse / Create / Collaborate

On December 6th 2018, the Internet Society Zimbabwe Chapter held an Internet of Things (IoT) meetup supported by the Beyond the Net Small Grants, a programme intented to assist the Internet Society Chapters with financial support to organize initiatives that contribute to the development of their communities.

An exciting convening brought together Zimbabweans with a keen interest in solving some of the pressing issues facing the country using IoT. The meetup was a drive by the Zimbabwe Chapter to create a platform for conversations around IoT security and the potential benefits of Internet-connected devices. More so, it sought to harness innovation potential by creating a space for IoT creativity and collaboration. It ran under the tagline “Converse/Create/Collaborate.”

The meetup was engineered on the basis that in order to push the IoT Security agenda forward there is need to use a multistakeholder approach. The first section of the meetup was a conversation on the subject matter through a keynote presentation and a panel discussion. Solomon Kembo gave the keynote talk and really set the pace on what IoT was and how it would solve most of our challenges in society. He also talked about the IoT projects that the Chapter has been doing and future plans. After him was a vibrant panel discussion that consisted of James Mutandwa from the Ministry of ICT, Verengai Mabika, Internet Society Africa Senior Policy Advisor, and an upcoming IoT disrupter and innovator Harvey Binamu. Moderated by Kudzai Mubaiwa, the panel discussions raised important issues on the roles and responsibilities of manufactures, users, ISPs, and policymakers in ensuring security and privacy of connected devices. They also touched on data issues and consent as well as surveillance. James from the ministry of ICT emphasised that Digital Transformation is definitely coming and will change a lot of aspects of our day to day activities; there is therefore need for preparedness and sound policy.

The second section was the most exciting: the hackathon.  Participants were divided into 5 thematic groups: health, tourism and hospitality, agriculture, smart energy and smart cities. The whole idea behind this was to encourage IoT innovation that takes privacy and security at the forefront. OTA guidelines and various stationery was provided to the groups so that they could create IoT Solutions in the thematic areas. The room roared with excitement as the groups had 2 hours only to complete their task.

The third session was the pitching of the ideas. The groups came out with amazingly innovative ideas and presentations that pleased the audience and the panel of judges. The winning team was the smart energy team. Their solution was to implement an IoT and Big Data analytics-powered solution to measure with a higher degree of accuracy how much power is being produced, transmitted, and used in the whole power grid. This is to save energy and improve service delivery with better and faster fault detection. We intend on leveraging the Beyond the Net Grants to implement it in 2019. More so, we hope to help the other 4 projects with capacity building and access to opportunities as they were really amazing ideas that could impact the various sectors positively.

I am excited that the The IoT meetup saw more than 20 new members from the already existing 400+ joining the Chapter, networks, and collaborations created, as well as the further strengthening membership relations. We are planning to have more membership meetings across the main cities of Zimbabwe going forward to enhance participation and provide opportunities for all.

We’re looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how you can empower your community using the Internet. The Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $30,000.

Beyond the Net

Flor de Ceibo Conecta2: Sharing Experiences

Today’s guest author is María Julia Morales González, the “Flor de Ceibo Conecta2” project manager and a professor at the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Space of the University of the Republic Uruguay.

The Internet Society Uruguay Chapterin partnership with the The University of the Republic and the Consejo de Formación en Educación, as well as with financial support from the Beyond the Net Funding Programme, has taken significant steps to help children and teenagers to develop digital skills in a creative and innovative way in three of the nineteen segments in which Uruguay is politically divided: Paysandú, Rivera, and Salto. Their project Flor de Ceibo Conecta2 aims to train young people from disadvantaged communities using digital resources in creative and challenging classes to help them improve their everyday lives and expand their chances for a better future.

Hoy queremos acercarles 2 experiencias que estamos transitando en el Proyecto Flor de Ceibo Conecta2.

Una de ellas se desarrolla en la ciudad de Salto en el liceo N° 7 del Barrio Artigas, zona de alta vulnerabilidad. Allí el equipo está trabajando en el uso de redes sociales y en particular en este taller en referencia al uso de whatsapp.

Se realizan acciones con docentes y autoridades del Liceo para trabajar la temática y particularmente con estudiantes de 3er año, aproximadamente de entre 14 y 15 años en formato de talleres; dónde se visualiza, socializa y reflexiona el uso de las redes sociales principalmente en relación a las ventajas y desventajas del uso que se le está dando.

En los talleres han emergido por ejemplo como ventajas: conocer personas a la distancia, socializar, compartir, aprender, informarse, re-encontrar miembros de la familia, enamorarse, poder expresar opiniones (libertad de expresión), entretenerse y como desventajas: exponer información privada, ciberbullying, acoso, pornografía, exposición a personas extrañas, difamación, identidades falsas, hackers, información y fotos  falsas, violencia, amenazas, robo de información.

Estas temáticas surgidas de los talleres y de la participación de los adolescentes, permiten problematizar el uso de las redes sociales y aportar a la discusión de cómo debería darse un uso que pretenda respetar las libertades individuales y el ejercicio de los derechos.

La otra experiencia se realiza en la ciudad de Rivera, en la escuela primaria N°105 que atiende población sorda.

En esta intervención se trabaja el encuentro con el lenguaje propio como expresión de identidad, de vida y deseo, haciendo hincapié en la utilización del cuerpo, la sincronía y el equilibrio.

Para ello se problematiza en cuanto al lenguaje y cómo se manifiesta, trabajando en la elaboración de GIF como herramienta de comunicación, experimentando diversas técnicas para la producción de los mismos y de videos en tiempo real. El objetivo final de estos talleres es facilitar recursos a los niños y niñas para que encuentre un lenguaje propio.

Read the Flor de Ceibo Connecta2 Project Blog and follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

Beyond the Net Community Networks Growing the Internet

LibreRouter: A Multi-Radio Wireless Router for Community Networks

Since their inception, community networks have depended on modifying existing off-the-shelf routers to adapt them to their particular needs. Software development originated in community-network groups and the free software movement as a whole have pushed the barrier of innovation and helped commercial enterprises develop new products over the years.

The LibreRouter, created by the collaboration of the Internet Society Community Networks Special Interest Group (CNSIG) and AlterMundi with the support of Beyond the Net Funding Programme, is an open-source hardware WiFi router designed for the specific needs of community networks.

The LibreRouter Project works to achieve autonomy and technological sovereignty that allows deploying, managing, scaling, and sustaining community networks. The reality is that community networks are not a profitable market segment for the industry. This means that the equipment used is not adequate to solve the particular needs they have. To manufacture the equipment you have to be encouraged to understand it and do it in a different and integral way.

Besides the hardware development, the most important part of this project is the integral work that involves software solutions and documentation material. It’s an important work focused on the communities themselves having the capabilities to deploy their own autonomous communication infrastructures and exercise their right to collective creation of the Internet.

How it works

In a nutshell, the LibreRouter is a weatherproof 3-radio wireless router, but it is much more than that. It comes from the same factory as LibreMesh, which is an operating system for geek-free wireless mesh networks that makes it easy for a non-technical community to do the deployment, maintenance, and expansion of the network.

Using its two 5 GHz radios and sector antennas, the LibreRouter automatically forms a mesh network with other LibreRouters within range. Using the 2.4 GHz radio, it creates a hotspot around it for clients to connect to the network, and the resulting mesh network enables communication between all the devices connected to it. Moreover, if any router on the local network connects to other networks (such as Internet) all devices on the local network automatically have access to the external network through the mesh.

The Special Interest Group on Community Networks (SIG CN) brings together 14 organizations and the diverse experiences of community networks from all over the world. As part of the collective work and experience, the need for the development and implementation of an organized remote support system for networks deployed with LibreRouter was identified.

This stage of the project has a special relevance since the need to provide remote technical support and the creation of training spaces for regional technical references were identified with great force in the last Latin American Summit of Community Networks. This was reflected in the final document drawn up collectively.


This stage of the LibreRouter Phase II project was presented and chosen for the Beyond the Net Program and its main objectives are:

  • Design and implement a dashboard so that the support team can perform statistics, respond, and follow up on requests for support from the communities.
  • Develop a support and follow-up request mechanism (on the client side) that allows temporary access to the community network that requests assistance to coordinate and perform actions with the assistance team remotely.
  • The development of this initial stage of the organized remote support system is fundamental to continue building tools that allow lowering barriers when deploying community networks.

AlterMundi wrote a chapter on the FreeRouter for The Community Network Manual: How to Build the Internet Yourself. This volume is jointly published by Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the Internet Society. It is the result of the 2018 call for papers of the UN IGF Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3) and is the Official 2018 DC3 Outcome.

Watch Nico Echániz’s presentation of the LibreRouter during the Internet Governance Forum 2018 in Paris:

Do you have a great idea to make your community better via the Internet? Apply for a Beyond the Net grant, which funds projects up to $30,000 USD, and follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

Beyond the Net Internet Governance

Creating Networks – Youth and Internet Governance

The “Youth Observatory” is a project created by the members of the Youth SIG of the Internet Society, which seeks to build a participative platform which uses different tools in order to bring the knowledge of the governance and the Internet’s principles to the youth, no matter the language, sex, race, religion, building new capacities among them. Participants: Juliana Novaes, Carlos Rubí, Ángel David Santiago, Eduardo Tome, Giovanna Michelato, Guilherme Alves, Isabela Inês, Jhon Caballero, Paula Côrte Real, Juan Pablo González, Augusto Luciano Mathurin, Renata Ribeiro.

The Youth Observatory is a non-profit organization, made up of members of the Internet Society’s Special Interest Group (Youth – SIG), which seeks to build a participatory space where, through different platforms, tools and communication channels, young people can exchange knowledge about Governance and Internet principles.

This organization was born in the context of the Youth@IGF 2015 initiative, a program led by Internet Society and the Internet Management Committee in Brazil ( that tried to increase the participation of young people in areas of discussion on Internet Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean. At the time, the forum was attended by 120 young people from the region.

Since its creation, the Youth Observatory has been working on the promotion of various events, projects and initiatives that involve and bring young people closer to issues related to Internet Governance, some of these have been: YouthLACIGF, held since 2016 as an event preparatory for the LACIGF, the book “Analysis of a Connected Youth” (2017) and workshops in national and international forums on Governance, among other initiatives.

Creating Networks
The Creating Networks project is an initiative funded by the Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme. Its objective is to map the current initiatives and organizations that involve young people and information and communication technologies. In addition to the mapping, the project aims to organize capacity building webinars and workshops.

The importance of training and networking for organizations and youth
The Youth Observatory believes in the enormous potential of young people to exchange and disseminate knowledge in the information society. Currently, new technologies generate various social, regulatory and technical challenges for society. Therefore, it is important for youth to be involved in these issues so that we are prepared to become future leaders and policy makers. In the same way, we recognize the importance of skills to be developed in order to ensure the well-being and job stability of young people in the new digital age.

Beyond the Net Grant
The Beyond the Net Funding Programme is an opportunity offered to the Internet Society’s members, so that they can contribute at a local and regional level through their chapters and Special Interest Groups. Beyond the Net supports original initiatives that have an impact on Internet Governance issues, as well as the development of policies within the framework of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

The project has two main objectives:

The first is to identify initiatives that involve young people and work with issues related to the Internet and ICTs. In order to do this, a survey is being conducted with questions about the relationship of organizations with topics such as technology and other issues about Internet Governance. As a result of the initial part, a map will be developed and published on the Youth Observatory website, which can serve other local and international communities in a connected network.

The second objective consists in the organization of workshops and face-to-face sessions on Internet Governance topics.The results of both stages will be published in the form of a general guide, where the development and experiences of the project will be known, and the materials that were used will be shared to the general public.

How to participate?
If you are part of an organization that has projects involving the training or commitment of young people in issues related to information and communication technologies, be part of our network! To participate, complete the following form with some basic information and we will get in touch soon.

Do you have a great idea to make your community better via the Internet? Apply for a Beyond the Net grant, which funds projects up to $30,000 USD, and follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

Portuguese version

Criando Redes – Juventude e Governança da Internet

O Observatório da Juventude é uma organização sem fins lucrativos composta por membros do Grupo de Interesse Especial para a Juventude (Youth – SIG) da Internet Society, que busca construir um espaço participativo, com diferentes plataformas, ferramentas e canais de comunicação para que jovens possam trocar conhecimentos sobre Governança e princípios da Internet.

A organização foi criada no contexto do Youth@IGF 2017, um programa liderado pela Internet Society e pelo Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil (, que tentou aumentar a participação dos jovens em tópicos de discussão sobre Governança da Internet na América Latina e Caribe. Em sua primeira edição, contou com 120 jovens da região.

Desde a sua criação, o Observatório da Juventude trabalha na promoção de diversos eventos, projetos e iniciativas que envolvem aproximam jovens das questões relacionadas à governança da Internet. Alguns deles foram YouthLACIGF, realizado desde 2016 como um evento preparatório para o LACIGF, o livro “Análise de uma Juventude Conectada” (2017) e oficinas em fóruns nacionais e internacionais de Governança, entre outros espaços.

O que é o Projeto Criando Redes?
O Projeto Criando Redes é uma iniciativa do Youth Observatory, criada em 2018, que consiste na elaboração de um mapa de iniciativas que envolvam jovens e tecnologias da informação e comunicação (TICs). Além do mapeamento, o projeto se propõe a realizar sessões de capacitação, como webinars e oficinas em parceria com as organizações citadas.

Importância da capacitação e criação de redes para organizações e jovens
O Observatório da Juventude acredita no enorme potencial dos jovens para gerar e trocar conhecimento no contexto da sociedade da informação. Atualmente, as novas tecnologias geram vários desafios sociais, regulatórios e técnicos para a sociedade, portanto, é importante que os jovens se envolvam nessas questões, de modo a se tornarem futuros líderes e formuladores de políticas. Da mesma forma, a modernização da sociedade torna necessário o desenvolvimento de habilidades para garantir o bem-estar e a estabilidade da juventude no mercado de trabalho e na nova era digital.

Beyond the Net Grant
O Beyond the Net Funding Programme é uma oportunidade para os membros da Internet Society contribuírem em um nível local ou regional, através de um Capítulo. Beyond the Net oferece financiamento a projetos originais e que causem impacto na pauta da Governança da Internet e para desenvolvimento de políticas relacionadas com as TICs.

O projeto tem dois objetivos principais:

A primeira é identificar iniciativas que envolvam jovens e trabalhem com questões relacionadas à Internet e às TICs. Para isso, uma pesquisa será conduzida com perguntas sobre o relacionamento das organizações com a Internet, tecnologia e outras questões sobre a Governança da Internet. Como resultado da conclusão da parte inicial, um mapa será desenvolvido e publicado no site do Observatório da Juventude, que pode servir outras comunidades locais e internacionais (rede conectada).
O segundo objetivo consiste na criação e realização de workshops e sessões virtuais e  presenciais sobre tópicos de Governança da Internet e temas específicos relacionados ao objeto das organizações para que sua participação nos espaços de Governança da Internet seja mais forte e mais produtiva.

Os resultados de ambas as etapas serão publicados na forma de um guia geral, que conterá o desenvolvimento, as experiências do projeto e os materiais usados para que possam ser usados ​​pelo público em geral.

Como participar?
Se você faz parte de uma organização que possui projetos envolvendo a capacitação e o compromisso de jovens em pautas de tecnologia da informação e comunicação, venha se juntar à nossa rede! Para participar, complete o seguinte formulário com algumas informações básicas e nós poderemos entrar em contato.

Beyond the Net Economy Women in Tech

Empowering Moroccan Cooperatives to Participate in the Digital Economy

KASBUY is a web platform to help Moroccan cooperatives, especially ones from women, to promote their handicrafts on international online markets. It will allow any registered cooperative, after following a well-defined and transparent process, to have its own online space to sell its products and manage its business and inventory management activities.

The project is supported by the Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme and developed by the Internet Society Morocco Chapter in partnership with the public organization ODCO (Office du Développement de Coopération) and the private IT company Maghreb-SI.

Through the KASBUY platform, we aim to build an international community around Moroccan crafts and local products. The platform targets small women’s cooperatives that produce handicrafts and wish to reach a large audience through the Internet. In general, these cooperatives find it very difficult to sell their products either because of lack of visibility of their products, or because of the lack of competence in the digital payment process. The platform will provide more opportunities to sell their products.

The project aims to:

  • Help cooperatives to overcome the difficulties of selling their local products
  • Ensure stable salaries for cooperative members
  • Develop the cooperatives in a sustainable way, and support women and their families
  • Use the Internet to promote Moroccan heritage and preserve culture and diversity
  • Allow women to participate in the digital economy and highlight their creativity

KASBUY will also address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 (Gender Equality) and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).

Project manager: Cherkaoui LEGHRIS, Financial Responsible: Radouane MRABET, Web application developer: Reda JAALI, Reports Responsible: Aicha ABBAD, Social media account manager: Marouane ABBOUD, Monitoring: Abdelouahed LAABID and Mohammed HILALI

We’re looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how you can empower your community using the Internet. The Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $30,000.

Beyond the Net

Helping Rural Libraries in Armenia to Embrace the Digital Age

Although there are a large number of rural libraries in Armenia, the majority of them do not have computers or Internet access. Librarians are forced to deal with manual book circulation and lack of management programs. Residents are mostly unaware of the resources housed in the libraries. It became evident that libraries needed a technological shift to break from their current working routines and embrace change.

In 2015, The Internet Society Armenia Chapter started a pilot project to provide rural libraries with computers, software and training. The project team installed 20 computers with library management programs and estimated that, in order to cover all libraries, they needed to reach the number of about 1,000 computers.

In 2017, the Chapter started Computers, services and Wi-Fi Internet for rural libraries, a project supported by the Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme, that aimed to install more computers to improve the librarians operation and provide lightweight library management programs as well as WiFi access for visitors. The project was presented at the national IGF on October 10, 2018.

Igor Mkrtumyan, President of the Armenia Chapter, explains how their project is helping to address the needs of rural communities within the global context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 (Quality Education) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

“During the first stage of the project we installed 50 computers and trained 50 librarians.” says Igor. “The computers are equipped with lightweight library management programs that allow to subscribe members, register books, organize the book circulation, search requested books, track the movement of books and control the books check-in and check-out as well as quickly receive any required information. Each computer donation is certified by a contract signed by library authorities. By the end of the project we had 16 Wi-Fi routers installed, 120 computers equipped with library management programs, 200 hours spent on software installations and 70 librarians trained.”

What kind of training did you provide?
“The library management program we developed is very easy to install and has a simple interface, as well as an inviting setting for the users. We provided training sessions and workshops. We repaired 33 computers and spent 190 hours for software installation and training. We also provided IT services, as many rural libraries need not only to learn the library management software, but also the basics of operating systems and computer hardware to be able to solve minor problems.”

What was the mayor problem and how did you solve it?

“The major problem in rural areas is the absence of computer service skills. Very often libraries, even having computers, stop using them when problems arise.  It was clear that they also needed help in troubleshooting and repair, operating system and applications installation. Providing the installed systems with support services is a matter of primary importance. We developed a method using Teamviewer, a remote support desktop tool.  We have constant phone contact with librarians and try to respond to their needs as soon as possible. Each day we are receiving 3-4 phone calls and assisting rural libraries with Teamviewer sessions.”

How the community responded and how will you continue the project in the future?
“The rural community is excited about the project and there is an ever-growing demand. Thanks to the grant received from the Internet Society and the notable achieved results, we are now able to continue the project with the support of the “Armenian Internet Registry” that is now funding us to further work with libraries on their development.”

We’re looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how you can empower your community using the Internet. The Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $30,000.

Beyond the Net Community Networks Growing the Internet

Developing Community Networks in Northern Brazil: Strengthening Marginalized Communities

Today’s guest author is Carlos Afonso, executive director of Instituto Nupef.

Our aim is to contribute to the growth and improvement of community networks policies and practices in Brazilian rural areas by strengthening marginalized movements and communities. Our project is supported by the Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme and developed by the Brazil Chapter in partnership with the Instituto Nupef (Center of Research, Studies, and Learning) as well as the involvement of local communities.

Nupef’s role helps to build a statement of needs perceived by the communities involved and an evaluation of infrastructural conditions in the area.  It takes note of conditions for sustainable maintenance of the network; training for local people; constitution of a cooperative-like structure to operate, maintain, and further develop the network; as well as basic training on content development, user security, and privacy issues.

Although access to broadband Internet has been growing in Brazil, there is still a huge gap in marginalized regions and populations, especially in rural areas in the North and Northeast. This is the case of the Quilombola communities living in rural areas with very few telecommunications, and where over 300 thousand women make their living from gathering babaçu palm tree coconuts – “quebradeiras de coco” – in a region comprising of millions of hectares of forested lands. The largest concentration of native babaçu palm trees integrates an ecosystem which covers the states of Maranhão, Pará, Tocantins, and Piauí, mainly in the Legal Amazon basin. Much of the land where the babaçu palm trees grow has been irregularly occupied by extensive cattle ranchers and farmers who have destroyed a large part of the babaçu forests and now either ban access to the palm trees or charge the “Quebradeiras” for collecting the coconuts, resulting in many violent conflicts.

We want to provide low-cost, good-quality Internet access for these populations – in addition to reducing the digital divide that exists in Brazil and enabling the means for defense mechanisms to protect people from constant threats and related violence.

What we  expect to achieve:

  1. The creation of communication systems to be used as a defense mechanism to help protect communities against the constant risk they are exposed to due to intense pressure related to land disputes.
  2. Enabling community members to access education resources, e-government services, and leverage their capacity in negotiating better terms for their products.
  3. Mitigating the digital divide as well as contributing to the spread of networking practices in Brazilian rural areas in order to strengthen marginalized movements and communities. 

This project is part of a larger and longer-term initiative by Nupef in association with local organizations and expert groups working in community networking. The Chapter will be known by these communities as a committed contributor to advancing these initiatives. Nupef maintains an international web portal on spectrum and community networking, and the communities involved are associated with other movements and organizations, thus providing a suitable environment for understanding and learning about the mission of the Internet Society and its Brazilian Chapter. 

Do you have a great idea to make your community better via the Internet? Apply for a Beyond the Net grant, which funds projects up to $30,000 USD, and follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

About Internet Society Beyond the Net Internet of Things (IoT)

The Benin Chapter Wins Chapterthon 2018

The winner of this year’s Chapterthon was announced this Tuesday, 4 December during InterCommunity 2018.

Chapterthon is a global Internet Society (ISOC) Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) marathon, where all the Internet Society members can participate by developing a project within a timeline and budget to achieve a common goal. The project winner is selected by the community through online vote.

This year our community worked on the Internet of Things (IoT) – The future is ours to shape.

Every year, the Chapterthon brings enthusiasm and excitement amongst our community. During two and half months, 43 Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) from across the globe worked alongside to bring awareness on the Internet of Things (IoT) to their communities. They ran over 200 training sessions and workshops, engaging students, entrepreneurs, and local governments. They organized national campaigns, their projects were mentioned in local newspapers, and their message was brought to the most remote places. The Chapters also developed IoT applications that may in the future improve the lives of people in their communities, and amongst some of the projects are improved transport systems, agriculture, energy management, home protection, and healthcare.

The projects that received the highest number of votes are:

First Place: Benin Chapter – IoT LowHightech – A connected object creation workshop

The project is a connected object creation workshop with recycled material followed by a public lecture. An awareness campaign and training in the creation of connected objects took place during 5 days of activities at the University of Abomey Calavi with a free initiation of 20 people (10 women and 10 men) over a period of 4 days. The project reached out to approximately 150 people in relation to possibilities offered by connected objects and the challenges of security.

Second place: Brazil Chapter – InspetorNET – A smart device to inspect small ISP infrastructure

The project goal was to develop an IoT device to help small ISP and community networks to deliver better service, particularly in regions lacking proper infrastructure. The device will help to monitor and predict potential problems in the network due to environmental conditions and electrical network problems.

Third place: Afghanistan Chapter – Incredible IoT

The project proposed an awareness of IoT topics, where school and university students will learn from technologists and IoT experts through information sessions, a bootcamp, and a hacking project in target schools. Students will develop IoT pilot projects using Arduino kits and conduct ethical hacking showing the importance of IoT security. A wrap-up event and an exposure visit will be held in Kabul University.

Congratulations to the Benin Chapter, Winner of Chapterthon 2018, and to the three finalists! 

We would also like to thank all of the Chapters that participated in this year’s Chapterthon and helped make it a success!

While we are all excited by the success of the projects implemented and proud of our community, we are also aware of how much still needs to be done to make the Internet of Things a reality in all parts of the world, as said by the many testimonials from our Chapters:

Mali Chapter: “In a word, this project has made it possible to highlight that the Internet of Things is no longer a myth for developing countries, it is a reality. Everyone can implement it to help their community.”

Bangladesh Dhaka Chapter: “Our workshops are completed, but we want to continue. We want to spread IoT at all school levels in Bangladesh.”

Barbados Chapter: “We identified 500 individual students who were exposed to the Co-Pilot Pass Wi-Fi system and the IoT videos. Just imagine how many people could be exposed to safe IoT usage if this method was introduced on a busy transit system with hundreds of users.”

The Chapterthon, once again, was a success not only by the global level it reached, but also by showing that through commitment and hard work, we can shape the future!

Thank you Internet Society Community!

Watch the projects video:

We’re looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how you can empower your community using the Internet. The Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $30,000.