Internet Access and the Digital Gender Divide: FRIDA Announces Projects that will Receive Support in 2019

The Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FRIDA) has announced the three projects selected as the winners of its 2019 call for projects. The selected initiatives will receive financial support for a total of USD 30,000 distributed in the form of one award and two grants.

The 2019 call for proposals focused on two major topics: contributing to greater Internet access in the region and closing the digital gender divide in technology.

This year, led by regional experts Carolina Aguerre and Carlos Rey Moreno, the FRIDA Selection Committee analyzed 487 proposals from 24 different Latin American and Caribbean countries. After careful evaluation, three initiatives submitted from Argentina, Colombia and Mexico were selected. Results were as follows:, a project by Fundacio?n VivirEnLaFinca (Colombia) received the USD 5,000 FRIDA Award in the Community Networks category and will receive a fellowship to participate in the 2019 Internet Governance Forum to be held in Berlin. has been operating for more than four years in the departments of Risaralda, Quindi?o and Valle del Cauca in Colombia. It includes 23 nodes that are bringing connectivity to places that were previously fully or partially disconnected and isolated. These networks are operated by the communities themselves using open software tools, and they strongly support the creation of local content. In its four years of operation, the network has reached approximately 12,000 users. NuestraRed has also supported others in the replication of this model, collaborating with Colnodo (FRIDA Grant 2018) in their implementation of community networks in Cauca and Maní Casanare (Colombia).

Likewise, two projects will each receive a grant for USD 12,000 and USD 8,000, respectively, to promote new initiatives focusing on gender and technology: Mx Mexican Center for Women in Technology (National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions, Mexico) and Virtual Digital Literacy Platform for Women in Argentina and Latin America (Fundacio?n Activismo Feminista Digital, Argentina).

The Mx Center for Women in Technology (CMTMx) is an initiative led by four colleagues who are part of the technical community: Carmen Denis Polanco, Erika Vega, Nathalia Sautchuk and Paola Pérez. The project will focus on mentoring women who are studying ICT careers in the universities of Mérida, offering training to help them develop their digital skills in Internet Resources, Network Management, Security, IPv6, and Basic and Advanced Routing. The other line of action they will implement is BootcampCMTMx, a week-long bootcamp including activities and workshops for girls and adolescents aimed at promoting the development of mobile applications, IT architecture, robotics and networking. The ultimate goal of the project is to contribute to the construction of a society where girls and women can actively participate in the broad world of technologies for Internet development.

In addition, Fundacio?n Activismo Feminista Digital will work on developing a platform to offer online digital literacy courses to women in Argentina and Latin America. These courses will address topics such as digital freedom of expression, digital anonymity, security in social networks and devices, digital violence against women, sexist trolls, digital communication with a gender perspective, Internet law, and Internet governance.

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 1.79 million among more than 130 innovative initiatives and projects from 19 different countries of the region, contributing to the promotion of Internet development in Latin America and the Caribbean.