Digital Divide: FRIDA Announces Support for Community Networks and Technologies and Gender

The Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FRIDA) is pleased to announce the seven winning initiatives from its 2018 application cycle. The selected projects will receive financial support for a total of USD 95,000 in awards, grants, and scale-up grants. 

Despite an increase in Internet penetration in Latin America and the Caribbean, inequality in access persists between men and women,  rural and urban populations, and people with different income levels. With these challenges in mind, the 2018 call for proposals centered around the digital divide and gender gap in technology in Latin America and the Caribbean. The program worked on two specific thematic areas: Community Networks and gender equality in the Technology and Internet Industry.

The FRIDA Selection Committee, composed of regional experts --Carolina Aguerre, Amparo Arango, Carlos Rey Moreno, Antonio Moreiras and Juan Manuel Casanueva-- reviewed of 417 proposals submitted from 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Seven initiatives were selected from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. The results may be accessed here:

Editatona, Bridging the Gender Divide in Wikipedia (Wikimedia Mexico) and Promoting Careers in ICT Among Secondary School Teenagers in Uruguay (Universidad de la República, School of Engineering) – each received a US$5,000 Award in the Technology and Gender category.

Editatona has become a well-known event in Latin America where women get together to edit and create content on Wikipedia with a gender perspective. Promoting Careers in ICT Among Secondary School Teenagers in Uruguay seeks to bring adolescent girls into careers in Technology and Engineering.

Atalaya Sur: Community Connectivity and Popular Appropriation of Technology (Asociación para el Fortalecimiento Comunitario) received the Frida Award for Community Networks. The organization developed a free public WiFi network in an informal settlement  Villa 20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Frida Awards winners will also receive a fellowship to attend this year's Internet Governance Forum to be held in Paris.

In addition, three other projects will receive a US$20,000 grant to promote new initiatives: Mobile Lab for Developing Skills in STEM Among Students and Graduates with a Degree in Childhood Education (Universidad del Magdalena, Colombia) in the Gender and Technology category; and Community Providers in Brazil (Associação ARTIGO 19) and Community Networks as a Social Program (Asociación Colnodo, Colombia) in the Community Networks category.

The Mobile Lab for Developing Skills in STEM proposes to train preschool teachers in programming languages ??and robotics. 

As for ARTIGO 19 and Asociación Colnodo, their goal is to promote the development of non-profit Community Networks in Brazil and Colombia. ARTIGO 19 has designed an initiative to support two communities so they will be able to establish community Internet access providers. The organization is well-known for its expertise in Brazilian regulatory matters. Likewise, the goal of Colnodo is to establish a community network in the rural area of ??the municipality of Maní, Casanare (Colombia) using TVWS technology.

For the Scale-Ups category, the US$20,000 grant has gone to the initiative Acoso.Online: Technologies to Combat Non-Consensual Pornography (Acoso Online, Chile). Acoso Online is the first Latin American website working on non-Consensual Disclosure of Intimate Images  to assist t women and LGBTQI individuals targeted by this type of violence. 

FRIDA is the Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean, a LACNIC initiative supported by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the Internet Society.  Since 2004, FRIDA has distributed more than USD 1.76 million among more than 127 innovative initiatives and projects from 19 different countries of the region, thus contributing to the promotion of Internet development in Latin America and the Caribbean.