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Apply Now: $60,000 for Your Creative Ideas to Bridge the Digital Divide

By Wayan Vota on July 7, 2022

Internet project funding

There are 2.9 billion unconnected people across the globe, an issue that was significantly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UNESCO, in 10 countries across Africa, Asia, and South America, women are 30-50% less likely than men to make use of the internet. Globally, women are 23% less likely than men to use mobile internet.

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Internet access is critical to education, industry, and healthy living. Unconnected populations lack access to buy and sell goods and services online. Students lack access to the abundance of remote learning opportunities. During the pandemic, working or studying from home was impossible for unconnected populations. For many, the lack of internet access forced them to make a choice between their well being or earning a living.

Connecting the Unconnected Challenge

The IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Challenge solicits solutions from start-ups, grassroots organizations, universities, or individuals with projects or ideas to bridge the digital divide in innovative ways. Individuals or group applicants can obtain up to $10,000 in funding for conceptual ideas or proof of concept pilots that bridge the digital divide.

The competition has two main tracks:

  • Concept-Only track: Novel ideas that only exist on paper with simulation or analytical results, demonstrating potential towards the CTU vision of affordably connecting unconnected populations.
  • Proof-of-Concept track: Innovations with a basic proof-of-concept implementation or a pilot program and can show preliminary results, or successful field deployment(s). The submission in this category should include a description of the general design and proposed functionality including implementation of specific features.

There are three subcategories within each track:

  • Technology Applications  to increase broadband access or otherwise enable connectivity
  • Business Models that result in increased affordability or innovative programs that increase demand;
  • Community Enablement or the likelihood that populations choose to adopt available broadband access when previously they did not.

The competition is not looking for well-established programs with a large user base or extremely advanced initiatives. The competition seeks applications from early-stage projects that offer unique ways to increase Internet access and usage for unconnected populations/geographies.

Apply Now! Deadline is July 20, 2022 (new date!)

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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One Comment to “Apply Now: $60,000 for Your Creative Ideas to Bridge the Digital Divide”

  1. Kiirya Andrew Balyegisawa says:

    We request for this grant to teach computer lessons to teenagers in 5 schools (over 700 in number) how to use computers in this current global system.