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Celebrating a Successful Chapterthon 2019!

We are incredibly inspired by the collaborative projects brought to life by our Chapters for the 2019 Chapterthon, the global contest in which Internet Society Chapters develop a project within a set timeline and budget to achieve a common goal for the development of the Internet. This year’s theme was “Connecting the Unconnected” – because every last person on the planet is part of having an Internet for “everyone”, and we won’t rest until each person has the option of choosing to be connected.

Internet Society Chapters from all corners of the world developed innovative solutions that will continue to serve as inspiration for communities everywhere working to connect the unconnected. At the end of the contest, each project presented a three-minute video about the project specifics and its benefits to the community. Winning projects received a prize.

See how they addressed this global issue through local community initiatives!

Announcing the Winners!

1st Prize (USD 3000)
US New York Chapter
First Annual NYC Mesh Installathon: This project aims to mobilize a large team of volunteers on a single day to expand the NYC Mesh community network to at least six new locations, and connect underserved areas of New York City.

2nd Prize (USD 2000)
South Africa Chapter
Qokolweni Wi-fi Hotspots: This project will provide hotspots for small underprivileged communities that require an Internet connection to communicate and to learn.

3rd Prize (USD 1000)
Ghana Chapter
RADIONET: This project aims to create an information access system for local communities, in their own language, by providing an FM broadcast system where rural communities cannot get access.

Watch the recap of the three winning projects!

A big thank you to our Chapters for your important strides towards connecting the world – one community at a time!

Inspired by the work of our ISOC community? Become a member or get in touch with us directly:

Stay tuned for next year’s Chapterthon under ISOC’s Grants & Awards.

Image ©Chris Gregory

About Internet Society Community Projects Growing the Internet

Winners of the 2019 Chapterthon To Be Announced On 11 December – Voting Is Open Now!

We’re thrilled to showcase this year’s creative, innovative and impactful projects aimed at ‘Connecting the Unconnected’. These short-term projects were run by twenty-eight of our Chapters that participated in the 2019 Chapterthon. We highly encourage you to take a few minutes to view the amazing work accomplished by your peers, and vote for your favorite project.

The winners of the 2019 Chapterthon will be announced during the upcoming Community Forum on 11 December, 13:00 UTC. Please join us in celebrating the amazing projects. The winning Chapters will be rewarded with a 1st prize of 3000 USD, 2nd prize of 2000 USD, and 3rd prize of 1000 USD. 

Make your vote count before 6 December: vote now

Find out who the winners are on 11 December: register here.

Image credit: © Internet Society / Nyani Quarmyne / Panos Pictures

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2019 Chapterthon – Our Chapters, Connecting the World One Community at a Time

Each year, the Chapterthon project competition brings enthusiasm and excitement among our global community. We look forward to this time of year, when our communities mobilize and work alongside each other to achieve a common goal for the development of the Internet.

For the 2019 Chapterthon, we are delighted to announce that 34 Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) from across the globe have started implementing their work on local solutions that will bring some of the hardest-to-reach places and community segments online—connecting the unconnected.

Over the next two months, these 34 projects will:

  • connect underprivileged and rural areas in Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin, Mali, and South Africa;
  • build a community network in Kenya;
  • establish online databases for rural farmers in Burkina Faso and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines;
  • create an online audio library for people living with disabilities in northern rural Argentina;
  • revolutionize a mobile network unit in Madagascar for use in the event of a natural disaster;
  • educate and empower over fifty rural women on how to use the Internet during a friendly game of “Tag”;
  • build an FM broadcast system in rural Ghana; preserve Indigenous culture in rural Brazil;
  • sweat it out at a bootcamp in Trinidad and Tobago to improve digital accessibility; and
  • provide Internet access to rural and remote schools and libraries in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Paraguay, and Senegal.

And this is just a segment of the exciting work that our Chapters will be engaging in over the next two months. If you would like to learn more about these projects, please visit 2019 Projects page.

As our Chapters complete their projects, they will each produce a 3-minute video, summarizing their project and its outcomes. They will share these videos with us, and through a combination of community voting (all Internet Society members are able to vote on the project(s) they like most) and a panel of experts that will have a closer look at the details of each project, three winning projects will be chosen to receive a prize!

We invite all Internet Society members and those of our larger community to take part and help us vote on the winning projects. Please stay tuned and mark your calendars! Voting takes place from 25 November to 5 December, and every vote counts!

If you’d like to take a glance at the creative and inspiring projects that participated in last year’s competition to help ‘shape the future of the Internet of Things’, here are those videos.

Thank you to everyone who applied for this year’s Chapterthon! Dedicated to finding innovative solutions to connecting the half of the population who remain unconnected, these projects will go a long way to helping some of the most remote corners of the world get online. Something we’re very excited about! Because the Internet is for everyone, and we won’t rest until everyone has the choice to be connected.

Thank you for helping us connect the world, one community at a time.

Visit Chapterthon 2019 Projects page

Image credit: Internet Society / Nyani Quarmyne / Panos Pictures

About Internet Society Community Projects Growing the Internet Shaping the Internet's Future

Applications for 2019 Chapterthon Now Open

We’re happy to announce that the call for applications for the 2019 Chapterthon is now open.

Our world is more digitally connected than ever before, yet barriers still remain for the half of the world’s population who are unconnected.

For 2019, Chapterthon projects will help with Connecting the Unconnected. The Internet is for everyone and we won’t rest until every person who wants to connect, can connect.

Want to take part in this challenge?

We are looking for creative, innovative, and impactful short-term projects from our Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that are for the community, with the community, by the community.

Find out how to apply at:

Only one project will be selected per Chapter to participate in this contest. The selected projects then participate in the global Chapterthon contest. The three winning projects will receive an award!

To guide you through this process, we’ve organised an info session on 27 June 2019 at 11:00 UTC.

You can register in advance at:

All other information about the Chapterthon is available here:

Take part and help us connect the world one community at a time!

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From Idea to Action: Beyond the Net Selects 15 Amazing Chapter Projects!

The Beyond the Net Funding Programme is pleased to announce the results of our 2018 grant cycle. A total of 49 applications were received, and after a thorough reviewing process, 15 amazing projects were selected.

These projects are at the core of our mission, and will use the Internet to develop Community Networks in underserved areas, to empower women through ICT, as well as bringing awareness on Internet policies around the world.

This is the result of months of effort from our Chapter Community. Many discussions, numerous clarifications and proposals, updates, and revisions from the Beyond the Net Selection Committee. We are proud of you all.

Please join us in celebrating the following projects!

Developing community networks in the Northern region of Brazil – Brazil Chapter

Supporting and promoting the development of the Internet to enrich people’s lives, the project aim is to contribute to the growth and improvement of community networks policies and practices in Brazilian rural areas, in order to strengthen those who are marginalized. Instituto Nupef will work to develop a new network in the state of Maranhão as well as a developing a communications plan for the Babassu coconut breakers organizations and movements. Objectives include expanding the reach of community networks with broadband Internet, monitoring of legislative and regulatory issues, and consequently documenting the work by disseminating the experiences by way of videos, photos, and texts.

Migrant Community Networks – Mexico Chapter

Aiming to understand how a particular community of migrants lives and communicates beyond societal spaces. We plan to analyze the re-appropriation of space and communication, digital connectivity and social discourse, through observation, data collection in forms of digital communication and social interaction, and by means of audiovisual recording of refugees’ everyday lives. This project doubles as an exploratory and social intervention that will help open a dialogue on connectivity among the migrant community. Objectives include implementation of a community network with trans-border communication in the Tijuana area and the creation of a digital archive of migrant communities’ experiences.

Creation of an Internet Traffic Exchange Point (IXP) – Dominican Republic Chapter

The project aims to create an IXP in a neutral, reliable, safe,  and efficient place, achieving the interconnection and exchange of traffic between those involved. Objectives are to raise awareness among local stakeholders regarding both the need and the advantages of an IXP, reducing costs of international interconnection and maintaining local internet traffic at national borders. Improvement of stability and resilience of the Internet service can optimize response times to security incidents and technical problems and the creation of a “community” of operators will give continuity to the project, promoting its expansion and operation according the best local and international practices.

Improving Livelihood of Women Through ICT Empowerment – Malaysia Chapter

The project target is to train 400 women to use the MyHelper crowdsourcing application to encourage earning extra income. This three-pronged project provides opportunities for women to develop essential entrepreneurial skills through ICT, empowering them to start their own businesses and use the Internet to improve their livelihood. Training modules will be developed in English as well as local languages such as Malay and Tagalog during a 3-month period, benefitting a large pool of women and ensuring the sustainability of the project. The creation and improvement of profiles will increase crowdsource worker visibility and the application of jobs.

Creating Networks – Youth Special Interest Group (SIG)

Firstly, the project aims to map organizations “of young people” in Latin America to identify how many work with issues related to the Internet and ICT, and leveraging its importance.  A website will be created displaying this information, followed by a capacity building phase and introduction, plus chartered topics and sessions related to individual work modules. Objectives will include, after analysis, face-to-face capacity-building sessions on Internet Governance to encourage proactiveness and general connection. Survey results will be published as well as a general guide on the development and experience of the project and the materials used, for use by the general public and in both the Spanish and Portuguese language.

Multistakeholder Internet Governance Training – Guinea Chapter

For the first time, a training project aims to set up a multilateral, inclusive, multistakeholder and discussion platform related to general Internet issues in Guinea and particularly on Internet Governance. Discussions will contribute to the development of the Internet at local, regional, and International level. Specific objectives are the training of approximately 70 people from different areas of life, including government, business, and civil society as well as engineers and standards development professionals. A committee will be created to ensure that Guinea’s concerned are addressed as well as addressing the need to increase Internet Governance capacity for Internet users as well as ensuring that stakeholders are well prepared for improved contributions/interactions.

Zaria Community Network and Culture Hub – Nigeria Chapter

The project seeks to use the Internet to improve the quality of education for the formally enrolled, as well as those outside the formal schooling system, as a resource for basic education, vocational development, and self-employment opportunities. A campaign will be run to enlighten communities on the opportunities available. Goals will include the implementation of free-to-use ISM band to reach research and educational institutions, community WiFi hotspots and solar-powered back-up solutions, culture hub web portals, a shared learning management system and a network monitoring infrastructure. A community engagement session for 500 teachers, students, and individuals will be conducted as well as continuous enlightenment campaigns and surveys to estimate effectiveness of strategies.

Women in Cyber Security – Kazakhstan Chapter

The implementation of the project will increase potential, and ensure that young women have the necessary skills and knowledge to understand, participate in, and benefit fully from cybersecurity and their applications as well as creating future role models thus increasing the percentage of women in the field. The aim of the training is to bridge the digital gender divide in cybersecurity in Kazakhstan by conducting 8 training sessions of approximately 50 students over a period of two years. Experienced female trainers will use up-to-date cybersecurity educational programs with the objective of increasing to up to 50% the number of women in this field over the next decade.

LibreRouter Phase 2 – Community Networks Special Interest Group (SIG)

The LibreRouter is the first multi-radio mesh router that is designed for community networks. It enables simple mesh deployment with little to no manual configuration and provides easy to follow documentation on technical aspects but also for planning and coordination. This Phase 2 project intends to cover an important missing piece: organized remote support for LibreRouter based networks. Main objectives are the design and implementation of a support system dashboard with a support request and follow-up mechanism, as well as extending LibreRouzer software tools to improve on problems identified. Other aims include the completion of documentation materials, hardware improvements and exploration of designs with the objective of lowering costs.

Spring of Knowledge – Kyrgyzstan Chapter

Schools in Kyrgyzstan have a great need for teachers with over 2500 teaching positions unfilled every year. The project aims are to improve the quality of education in Kyrgyzstan and increase the number of personnel to allow teachers to spend more time with students as well as providing additional materials to improve their own training. Objectives are to expand opportunities for studies in pilot locations, stimulating independence and responsibility and reducing the divide between school children in developed countries and those living in Kyrgyzstan in both rural and urban areas. Our aim is to increase the digital literacy of schoolchildren in Kyrgyzstan in pilot locations within 1 academic year.

Better Internet for Everyone in Lebanon – Lebanon Chapter

In Lebanon, the daily challenge is the peak time when the Internet user’s consumption outgrows the total bandwidth capacity and the quality of service is degraded for shared bandwidth offerings constituting more than 90% of the residential Internet market. Our project is a new business model for shared bandwidth offerings, consisting of a different pricing model based on the time of use as well as a subscriber panel to monitor service quality and accountability. The proof of concept will be tested first with up to 10 local community WISPs and later with other developing countries and ranging from 50 to 1000 subscribers. Comparisons will be made of aggregated graphs effects, consumption behavior, old vs new ISP revenues, and finally community polls to evaluate the new model and prepare to scale once proven.

DigiGen– Serbia Belgrade Chapter

The project aim is to explore how ICT technologies and the Internet can play a role in decreasing the existing gender digital gap and how to take into consideration gender awareness in developing new and evolving technologies. Our objective is to determine how new technologies can meet societal challenges across gender lines to promote and accelerate access to quality education, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Research topics include understanding the factors for acceptance of new technologies across genders and using the learning acquired for maximum impact and developing a leadership platform in rural areas. Our aim is also to leverage free access to the Internet through “Internet Light” as well as creating digital literacy recommendations in documented form for further program implementation in the region.

Contributing towards better ICT Policy Environment in Nepal – Nepal Chapter

The project goal is to build ICT and Internet related laws and policies in Nepal compatible with both international standards and best practices and ensuring the fundamental human rights of individuals. It will, after analysis, organize consultations with stakeholders and prepare policy recommendations aiming to ensure an open and sustainable Internet and ICT for the benefit of all. Objectives will incorporate the review of draft bills from international standards perspectives, inform major stakeholders of loopholes by sharing policy recommendations, and publishing a policy brief for the enhancement of knowledge. Our aim is to ensure the best adoption of Internet-related laws that will uphold Internet rights.

Empowering Village Development Committee Leaders – Botswana Chapter

In Botswana, Village Development Committees (VDCs), are “the main institutions charged with the responsibility for community development activities.” This project will provide training to VDCs committee leaders on use of the Internet as well as introducing the opportunities on offer. The project aims to target VDCs leaders in 2 remote regions with the aim of empowering these village leaders by showcasing to the best of its ability the benefits of using the Internet. By donating a laptop for use by the VDCs of the 4 most rural areas, we can empower these leaders to access information and facilitate communication. No local program has yet targeted these leaders and yet they are influential in community development. The full objective is to target 40 leaders in 4 regions to become Internet champions in their respective areas and contribute to village development issues in a productive way. 

KASBUY: Promoting Moroccan Women’s Participation in the Digital Economy – Morocco Chapter

Our proposition is the project KASBUY, a web platform to help cooperatives overcome marketing difficulties in advertising their products and reaching out to clients. KASBUY is an e-commerce platform and will allow any registered cooperative to have its own online space from which it will sell its products and manage its business and inventory management activities. The project will encourage the best use of the Internet for sustainable development of local communities and includes opportunities from which women and their families will benefit.  With the promotion and preservation of Moroccan artisanal heritage and the use of a universal and accessible web showroom, we aim to improve the maximum employment for women and families, particularly in rural areas.

Do you have a great idea to make your community better via the Internet? Find out if you’re eligible for a Beyond the Net grant!

Image: Nyirarukobwa Primary School in the Eastern Provice of Rwanda, which was connected to the Internet via a Beyond the Net project, ©Nyani Quarmyne

Community Networks Community Projects Growing the Internet

Community Networks Can Bridge the Digital Divide, But Some Still Need to Be Convinced

Community networks can help bring connectivity to many of world’s population still without it, but some governments, ISPs, and some potential users need to be convinced of their benefits, connectivity experts said.

Community networks can bring huge economic, educational, and social opportunities to areas without Internet access, Raul Echeberria, the Internet Society’s vice president for global engagement, said Wednesday.

With nearly half the world’s population still lacking Internet access, “this is creating a huge gap of opportunities,” he said during a community networking roundtable discussion hosted by the Internet Society.

Through community network projects such as a year-old network in the mountainous region of Tusheti in the nation of Georgia, the Internet Society has seen the proof that existing technologies can bring Internet service to some of the most remote areas on Earth, Echeberria said.

After a year of operation, the Georgian network is providing new economic opportunities to inn keepers and other tourism-related businesses in the region, said Ucha Seturi, director of the community network project there. Demand for Internet service is growing, he added.

With the technology questions largely solved, a key piece of the puzzle for community networks is getting the buy-in of the unserved communities and the local and national governments, Echeberria said.

“Empowering communities and involving communities is crucial,” Echeberria said. “It’s not just bringing wires to the community; it’s working with them so the people can understand how they can use the technology to improve their lives.”

Local control and buy-in help to ensure a community network’s long-term success, added Sebastian Bellagamba, the Internet Society’s community networks campaign lead. In the phrase, “community networks, the word, “community” is more important than “networks,” he said. “The only way to make them sustainable is if communities deploy and own their own network in a way they can realize the benefits the network provides,” he said.

Regional and national government support is needed to help proposed community networks with a friendly regulatory environment and to obtain the authorizations and the radio spectrum needed for the wireless networks serving remote areas, participants said.

In many cases, community networks now operating have succeeded despite regulatory hurdles and financial constraints, said Carlos Rey-Moreno, community access networks project coordinator at the Association for Progressive Communications.

Rey-Moreno and Nico Echaniz, founder of Altermundi, called for more academic-style research on the benefits and impact of community networks as a way to convince governments of their value. More evidence of the value to the communities and people connected through community networks will “promote them and allow more to happen,” said Rey-Moreno.

Mobile operators participating in the roundtable had questions about competition with commercial services. As the Internet Society and other groups promote and aid community networks, they should think about where they can add the most value, a representative of one mobile provider said.

The Internet Society’s goal with community networks isn’t to compete with existing commercial services, but to connect areas without service, Echeberria said. The organization has scrapped plans for a community network when a commercial provider moved into an unserved area, he noted. The Internet Society will aid the deployment of community networks in Argentina, Zimbabwe, and Kyrgyzstan in 2018-19.

Community networks are one piece of a larger effort to bring connectivity to more people, and commercial services are another piece, he added. The Internet Society asks policymakers, commercial providers, and other people interested in connectivity to think “out of the box” on innovative approaches to access, he said.

To connect the next 3 billion people, “we cannot use tools from the past to deal with problems of the future,” he said.

Learn how you can create your own community network and let’s work together to #SwitchItOn.


Photo ©Bosco

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Hackathon at Africa Internet Summit Focuses on Time, Vehicular Communications, and Network Programmability

We are pleased to announce the 2nd Hackathon@AIS will be held in Dakar, Senegal, on 9-10 May, alongside the Africa Internet Summit. Live streaming will be available. Participants from 14 countries have confirmed their participation and will work on activities centered around three main topics:

  • The Network Time Protocol (or NTP)
  • Wireless communication in vehicular environments – based on Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Network Programmability

Working on open Internet standards involves a collaborative effort whereby individuals from different backgrounds provide input and expertise to improve the Internet. Work is focused on common objectives with set timelines. This work is mostly done by people in different geographical locations using the Internet (and online tools) to collaborate on the work. In some cases, short technical events called hackathons place experts in one physical location to work collaboratively to solve a problem or develop a new product or output in a short period of time.

Last year, the Internet Society’s African Regional Bureau, together with AFRINIC, organized a hackathon in Kenya, during the 2017 Africa Internet Summit. In Africa, work on open Internet standards development is low, with only a handful of Request For Comments (RFCs) known to have been published by experts from the region. One of the main objectives of the hackathon is to encourage engineers from the region to learn and take part in the open standards development as is done at the IETF among other open standards bodies. The event last year attracted 38 participants from 12 different African countries.

Building on the success of last year’s event, this year 278 participants applied to participate from across Africa. In fact, so many participants applied that not all will be able to participate in person due to venue limitations. Remote participation will be provided to allow interested individuals to participate remotely.

Different experts will be on hand to guide the Hackathon topics including Loganaden Velvindron who currently works at AFRINIC, as a member of the IT and Engineering team. Outside of working hours, Logan has led a few hackathons with the team, where engineers and students in Mauritius work together to make the Internet work better. Loganaden will lead the Network Time Protocol track.

Nabil Benamar, who is an Associate Professor of Computer Networks based in Morocco will lead the track focusing on wireless communication in vehicular environments. Nabil is an IPv6 expert ( certified) and IPv6 trainer with many international organizations (RIPE/MENOG, AFRINIC, and Agence Universitaire de Francophonie). Nabil is an author of several journal papers and IETF Internet Drafts and is currently working on Intelligent Transportations Systems. He is a co-author on an IETF draft on wireless communication in vehicular environments.

Charles Eckel is a developer evangelist with a passion for open source and standards. He runs DevNet’s Open Source Dev Center (, which focuses on Cisco’s major open source contributions, use, and community engagements. He introduced open source hackathons at the IETF ( and MEF (, revolutionizing the way these SDOs operate and uniting open source software with standards to maximize the pace and relevance of both. Charles will be leading the Network Programmability Track at the Hackathon.

The hackathon will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dakar which is also the venue hotel for the Africa Internet Summit. The event’s web page can be found here:

Live streaming will be available here:

We’re looking forward to this Hackathon, and if you are interested in participating in person or remotely, please join the event forum here for instructions on how you can participate.

Beyond the Net Community Projects Growing the Internet

Chapterthon Wins 2018 WSIS Prize for International and Regional Cooperation

We are proud to announce that Chapterthon 2017 on Digital Schools was recognized today as the winner of a 2018 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prize under the category “International and Regional Cooperation,” awarded by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

For the Internet Society, this award is a strong affirmation of the valuable work that our Chapters are doing on the ground to empowering their communities through the Internet and, as so, advancing sustainable development.

Chapterthon is a global Chapters marathon, where our chapters work hard with their communities to develop a project within a timeline and budget for achieving a common goal. In 2017, the topic was Digital Schools and 30 Chapters from all 6 regions carried out specific projects to improving education by using the Internet.

Great ideas were taken into action and each project contributes to making a difference not only in their communities but also beyond them. Connecting schools to the Internet through community networks, teaching coding to girls, training teachers and parents, raising awareness about the safe use of the Internet and developing an online platform for a school were not isolated actions but part of global efforts towards improving people’s lives. Together all these projects have proven that only if we join efforts we can move the needle in the right direction.

All Chapterthon projects  are great examples of how the Internet can have a positive impact on education and also have made clear that change on a large scale requires a grain of salt from all of us”, said Joyce Dogniez, Senior Director, Global Engagement, during the award ceremony which took place during the annual WSIS Forum 2018.

Chapterthon 2017 was developed in partnership with Wikimedia Foundation, which is another example of the importance of the cooperation for the success of this project.

The WSIS Prizes recognize outstanding initiatives by governments, the private sector, and civil society that leverage the contributions of ICT for the benefit our society. The awards are awarded across 18 categories directly linked to WSIS Action Lines, as defined in the Geneva Plan of Action.

Once again, we want to congratulate our Chapters for making this Chapterthon real and for their contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)!

Only together can we #ShapeTomorrow!

Learn more about Chapterthon and the 30 projects that participated!

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Help Five Projects Connect the World

At Bilkent University in Ankara, students sit at desks littered with bookbags and bottles of water. It looks like a typical classroom, except for the makeup of the students, school-age girls. When the instructor asks a question, the room comes alive. “Who wants to code again after today?”

The hands shoot up.

The students are participating in Coding Sisters, a program that teaches coding to girls. Soon they are grinning as they raise their certificates of completion into the air. They yell in unison, “Hello world!”

The project was funded by the Internet Society’s Digital schools!” Chapterthon 2017, in partnership with Wikimedia Foundation. From October to November 2017, 30 projects from around the world came together to bring educational opportunities to children, especially girls. Chapterthon has been nominated for a series of prizes to be given out at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), an annual United Nations-sponsored summit focused on the role information and communication plays in our world. The WSIS Prizes recognize individuals and organizations that advance the Sustainable Development Goals: 17 global goals dedicated to building a better world by 2030.

Four other innovative, Internet Society-funded projects have been nominated: Zenzeleni Networks in rural South Africa, where one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the country became a telecom operator; Colegio Nacional de Lambaré, where the Paraguay Chapter created a computer lab and access to fixed broadband at an economically disadvantaged school; e-Daara of Thieyetou, where the Senegal Chapter created a digital hub at a school in the remote village of Thieyetou, bringing Internet and other digital resources to teachers, students, and their families; and the Beyond the Net Programme, which funds projects at the local level to cover everything from education to policymaking, teaching technical skills to at-risk young people, and helping local engineers deploy leading technology.

These nominees show that there are many paths to closing the digital divide, but they all share common traits: Vision. Creativity. Innovation.

The Internet is for everybody, but we must think differently if we are going to connect the next billion. Today it’s helping girls complete a coding course. Tomorrow those girls could bring digital innovation to their own communities.

You can help close the digital divide! Learn more about Beyond the Net grants and how you can help shape tomorrow.

And don’t forget to vote for these innovative projects! The project winners will be announced during WSIS Prizes 2018 Ceremony at the WSIS Forum 2018 in Geneva, 19-23 March 2018.

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It’s Time for a Collaborative G20 Digital Agenda

The G20 member states account for 85 percent of the global economy and are home to half of the world’s Internet users. From artificial intelligence to personal data protections, our physical world is being shaped by our digital world. As current president of the G20, Argentina has put a range of digital challenges on the table. But to tackle these, we need credible commitments and a long-term roadmap.

As three leading organisations from the Internet community, we welcome that Argentina continued the G20 digital work begun by Germany in 2017. Last year, Germany and the other G20 members outlined their aspirations for the development of our digital societies. And the Argentine presidency has identified five priority areas — digital inclusion, future job skills, digital government, SMEs and entrepreneurship, and Industry 4.0 — all dependent on a strong digital economy and society. Now is the year to turn these aspirations into actions.

We call on Argentina to build on this consensus with a dedicated G20 digital agenda. This roadmap must include milestones to the next G20 presidency, to be held by Japan. Priority commitments should include:

Thoughtful and proactive digital policies are needed to reap social and economic benefits for all, the G20 and beyond. A G20 digital agenda can help us to address the challenges facing the health of the Internet and future of the web and establish trust in the development of our digital lives.

The new challenges we face are complicated, but can be tackled through collaboration among all stakeholders to find the right solutions. Argentina can lead this effort through the G20. It must create a convening space, invite participation and ensure transparency and trust — from sharing documents to providing opportunities for inputs from across the spectrum.

The G20 member states are in a position to set the parameters for a global digital agenda that puts the individual first and makes the most of technology for society. We hope they will live up to this responsibility.

This is a joint blog post by the Internet Society, Mozilla and the World Wide Web Foundation.

Cathleen Berger, Global Engagement Lead, Mozilla
Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Senior Director, Global Internet Policy, Internet Society
Craig Fagan, Policy Director, Web Foundation

Beyond the Net Community Projects

Connecting Nepal’s Earthquake Affected Communities with a Sustainable Model

Beyond the Net Journal

Nepal’s rural population remains largely disconnected from the Internet. The problem is further aggravated by the devastating 7.8 Richter scale earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks that have been shaking Nepal since April 2015 and that left nearly 9,000 people dead.

The Internet Society Nepal Chapter, in partnership with the NPO “Forum for Digital Equality“, led a successful project to reduce the digital divide by facilitating the establishment of three Community Learning Hubs. The project, supported by The Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme, set up the centers in three Nepali districts that were badly affected by the earthquake: Dhading, Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha.

Each Hub is being visited 100/day by community members. More than 1500 people are now accessing the Internet for free. To ensure a sustainable model for the project, services like printing and scanning are charged. The raised revenue is used to pay for operator salaries, repair and maintenance services.

Goma Shrestha, community ITC operator, proudly explains, “We started “eSewa”, an online payment gateway. Villagers used to go to the market to recharge their mobile and cable service, but now we have facilities in our own community”.

The digital divide between Nepali rural and urban areas has negative consequences when it comes to education. For children in low-income school districts, inadequate access to technology can hinder them from learning the skills that are crucial for their future. In collaboration with government institutions, the Nepal Chapter installed free and open content in the computer laptops provided to the learning hub. The project trained 6 ICT operators to help local students learning new skills.

“I come here to learn computer,” a 15 year old boy, Pradip Waiba, says with enthusiasm. “I have learnt how to type and use programs like Powerpoint, Excel and I talk online with my dad and uncle that are abroad.”

The Chapter has started a discussion with the Department of Information Technology of the Nepal government and with some organizations that are developing online courses for the school and digitizing hundreds of Nepali books. The educational content will not only be useful for students but also for the community members to expand the horizon of their knowledge.

“The project model could be transferred to others districts. Different rural communities are interested to collaborate with us.” says Suraj Adhikari, treasurer of the Nepal Chapter. “We received support from the popular Nepali comedians Dhurmus and Suntali. They started a foundation to rebuild the houses destroyed by the earthquake in the same village where we were establishing a computer hub. They provided us a room to setup the center.  Most of the people are using Internet for the first time because there was no such infrastructure before.”

Watch the video to hear from their voices.

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Do you have a great idea? We are interested in your project. We are looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how to make your community better using the Internet. Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $300.00 USD.

Beyond the Net Community Projects

Chapterthon 2017 Winner: Closing the Digital Gap

We are excited to announce the winner of Chapterthon 2017.

As we truly believe that Internet Society and our community have an important role to promote the use of the Internet for education, we organized the Chapterthon 2017 on Digital Schools.

Chapterthon is a global Chapters marathon, where our chapters can participate by developing a project within a timeline and budget to achieve the common goal of improving education by using the Internet.

During the past months, 31 Chapters from all the regions have worked hard to extend the education benefits of the Internet to their communities. Connecting schools to the Internet, teaching coding to girls, training teachers and parents, raising awareness about the safe use of the Internet, developing an online platform for a school and helping to create educational, and local content are just some examples of the amazing work our chapters have done.

Each project has proven us once more that the Internet plays an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on Education. Each project has contributed to shaping the future of children, parents and teachers.

While all the projects have left an important mark on local schools, the Internet Society community members have voted and selected the best project. This year Chapterthon winner is the Internet Society Turkey Chapter for the project Coding Sisters, which had the aim of optimizing the opportunities for girls to be involved in STEM field.

The project, focused on closing the digital gap in the country, was developed in the Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. There, 42 girls from middle and high schools and 30 university students received coding lessons and almost all of them stated that they want to keep learning how to code. Coding Sisters is a proof of how the Internet is a powerful enabler not only for education but also for gender equality.

We would like to thank all the chapters for all the energy and efforts they have put to complete the projects. You are all heroes for us and especially for your communities. We would like to also thank Wikimedia Foundation for partnering with us and making this Chapterthon real.

Congratulations to the Turkey Chapter and thank you all again for taking action and shaping the digital future in your communities!


Watch the video of the winner Coding Sisters:

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