The Internet Society Foundation has awarded over $1 million in digital skills development grants to eight innovative projects in Bangladesh, Colombia and Senegal. In its pilot year, the Strengthening Communities, Improving Lives and Livelihoods (SCILLS) grant programme aims to expand economic growth, improve health outcomes, and increase educational opportunities by supporting individuals and communities to more knowledgeably and skillfully use the Internet.
Of the hundreds of applications reviewed, an Independent Programme Review Committee selected eight diverse projects based on criteria that included creativity, community impact, sustainability, and technical feasibility.
The selected projects include:
- BRAC USA – $149,979 to support Makerspaces across Bangladesh in their work to empower communities by driving local innovation, creating sustainable economic opportunities, and meeting the demand for scarce resources.
- Practical Action – $149,994 to provide entrepreneurship training, access to an online marketing platform and financing to 2,000 women weavers and 20,000 jute farmers in Northwest Bangladesh.
- Teach for Bangladesh – $146,318 to promote the use of mobile Internet for learning in Bangladesh, building the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors for 3000 marginalized children, 100 teachers, and 8000 parents to adopt online learning.
- Fundación Capital – $149,930 to promote the resilience of 500 female micro-entrepreneurs, through digital trainings and personal coaching sessions.
- HIAS, Inc – $145,000 to provide 50 vulnerable Venezuelan women and LGBTIQ+ people with opportunities to build their entrepreneurship skills and generate income to support their families.
- Makaia – $144,977 to close the digital gender gap and build IT and programing skills among 165 NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) youth in rural areas.
- Croissance TIC Dakar – $149,356 to build entrepreneurial skills and digital competency, as well as facilitate access to finance for 30 early stage and growth-oriented entrepreneurs.
- Paradigm Initiative –$149,904 to equip young people living in under-served communities with demand-driven digital literacy and entrepreneurship skills and connect them to internships, online work or entrepreneurial ventures that offer a high possibility of earning a sustainable income.
Through these grants, the Internet Society Foundation looks forward to supporting communities in acquiring critical digital skills that hold the potential to improve education, health, and economic outcomes.