New round of funding awarded for building and expanding Internet connectivity

We are pleased to announce 10 new grantees in the 2024 Connecting the Unconnected funding program. This program supports communities and organizations working to build and expand Internet infrastructure in rural, remote, and low-income communities with the goal of connecting people to the Internet through community networks, municipal networks, cooperatives, and other forms of complementary access solutions.

“Rural, remote, and low-income areas are disproportionately affected by lack of affordable, reliable Internet connectivity,” said Maiko Nakagaki, Senior Program Officer, Internet Society Foundation, “Through these grants, we are excited to support communities to lead locally-driven Internet infrastructure and improve connectivity.”

The 2024 grantees and their projects are:

Assoc. Portal sem Porteiras – Brazil – USD $16,500 to expand the Portal Sem Porteiras (PSP) community network to Instituto Pandavas school. The partnership between the community network and the school also brings the long-awaited possibility of using the local server more integrally within the school’s community.

Athi Community Network – Kenya – USD $37,457 to help bridge the digital divide in rural Igembe South Meru County and beyond. This project focuses on providing low-cost wireless Internet services to the community by setting up a distributed network covering at least one major public area in the county. The project also includes digital skills development and infrastructure maintenance, climate adaptation, a farmer’s information portal, and more.

Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach Uganda (BOSCO-U) Limited – Uganda – USD $22,391 to upgrade Internet infrastructure and equipment in four communities — Gulu, Pader, Lamwo, and Nwoya — in Uganda at locations including a school and a community ICT centre. The project also includes developing Training of Trainers to support proliferation of ICT skills at knowledge among the community members.

Equitable Origin – United States – USD $19,500 to expand an existing network in the Nangaritza Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This project aims to connect additional users and extend coverage in the Shuar communities of the Mura Nunka association, and to facilitate technical and digital literacy training for community members.

Kijiji Yeetu – Kenya – USD $17,517 to connect communities in Ugunja Sub-County, Siaya, through the installation of 20 nodes in public schools and community organizations. Community members will undergo training to become net wardens, tasked with maintaining and expanding the local network to reach villages, schools, markets, community halls, businesses, and homes.

Media Awareness and Justice Initiative – Nigeria – USD $19,207 to expand digital access coverage of two existing community networks already providing Internet access to 1,200 people living across seven communities in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The project aims to expand access and increase Wi-Fi coverage to another 800 people and four more communities in the state. The project will also train young people in digital skills across all target communities.

Nepal Internet Foundation – Nepal – USD $39,750 to establish the Chepang Community Network to accelerate development by emphasizing connections between livelihoods, healthcare, education, agriculture, and communication in Raksirang Rural Municipality wards 5 and 6. The project aims to assist the Chepang community in overcoming obstacles related to education and socioeconomic status and enhance their overall quality of life.

Northern Uganda Resilience Innovation Network – Uganda – USD $19,985 to expand and enhance the reliability and sustainability of the Rural Community Broadband Network (RCBN) that was established in Apac District in 2023. The project aims to provide reliable and sustainable Internet connectivity to underserved communities through the development of complementary access solutions and applications. The RCBN currently constitutes 12 community partners that include education institutions, farmers groups, civil society offices, public markets, and the district administration office; the project aims to connect an additional partner, an ICT training centre, to support and train community members. – Greece – USD $20,000 to increase the resiliency of, a community wireless network in the remote, isolated area of Sarantaporo village in central rural Greece. The project aims to upgrade wireless infrastructure, improve current backhaul connectivity, upgrade current point-to-point links, improve bandwidth and quality of service of current wireless infrastructure, and improve the technical support team’s technical

Welfare Association for New Generation (WANG) Balochistan – Pakistan – USD $23,000 to expand the Wang Lab of Innovation (WALI) Community Network, enhancing digital access and economic opportunities in Lasbela, Balochistan. This project aims to upgrade infrastructure for robust Internet access to support the community and the WANG Initiative for Rural Empowerment program, which combines traditional artisan crafting with digital marketing by connecting artisans with global markets and foster entrepreneurship and innovation within the community.

Projects supported by the Connecting the Unconnected Program run from 12 – 24 months and develop innovative solutions to connect or expand the Internet in rural, remote, and low-income areas worldwide.

The Connecting the Unconnected Program will open again for applications in 2025.

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