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ISOC

Five projects awarded funding to advance Internet access and connectivity worldwide

The Internet Society Foundation is excited to announce the latest round of funding through our Building Opportunities/Leveraging Technologies (BOLT) Grant Program. We have awarded grants to five innovative projects in four countries that aim to advance Internet access and connectivity for communities all over the world. Launched in 2021, the BOLT program provides funding to teams of creatives, technologists, and researchers working on projects that promote Internet connectivity, particularly in areas where current technologies are either unavailable or inaccessible.

Digital Empowerment Foundation
Community Internet Library in India, an initiative supported by the Digital Empowerment Foundation, a former BOLT grantee

BOLT Program 2023 Awardees

Unconnected Foundation – Malawi – $300,000 to establish a Community WiFi Network across 50 schools in a region where Internet penetration is currently at 15%, and the cost of Internet access is one of the highest in the world, averaging $2.42 per GB.

Mycelia Foundation – United States – $288,402 to launch the Digital Equity Network Expansion Project, a 12-month initiative designed to improve broadband access and digital skills in the Las Cruces district in New Mexico. The project aims to expand an existing community-owned pilot mesh network to provide residential broadband access to 150 additional households in the district, especially those facing affordability challenges.

Compudopt – United States (Dallas, Atlanta, Mesa, and Miami.) – $300,000 to establish the Connected project, which will provide free Internet access for 275 households over one year, boosting confidence and connectivity within these communities and enabling important services needed in the areas including distance learning, telehealth, upskilling, and other online services.

Internet Society Argentina Chapter – $297,266 to deploy a community and scientific network in the rural area of Las Lagunitas, Argentina. This initiative includes technical training for the local community, installation of both wired and wireless networks, and the deployment of cameras for monitoring and managing forest fires, a significant concern in the region. The project also involves the acquisition of solar panels to support the Soldati Conectada Community Network in transitioning to sustainable energy sources, addressing frequent power outages in the area.

Close the Gap International in a partnership with Media Matters for Women (MMW) — Sierra Leone – $234,005 to launch Digitruck Salone, a transformative project that aims to empower 300 students and 30 female entrepreneurs in rural communities across three districts in Sierra Leone. The project will convert a 40ft refurbished shipping container into a self-sustainable, state-of-the-art digital classroom. Close The Gap, Media Matters for Women, and Africell Sierra Leone have joined forces to make this project a reality, ensuring that vulnerable communities gain access to digital skills and opportunities.

The Internet Society Foundation is committed to using its funding to eliminate obstacles that hinder global access to the Internet. In a world where one-third of the population remains unconnected, our grants support creative and sustainable solutions that foster universal Internet access and connectivity for communities across the world.

We will launch the next call for grant applications in July 2024. More information on future calls for grants can be found at:  https://www.isocfoundation.org/grant-programmes/.

Posted in BOLT

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