The Strengthening Communities/Improving Lives and Livelihoods (SCILLS) grant program aims to contribute to economic inclusion and increase educational opportunities by supporting individuals and communities to more knowledgeably and skillfully use the Internet. The long-term aim of the program is to play a key role in supporting digital transformation. This aim is aligned with the Internet Society’s purposes to promote educational applications of the Internet, to promote the Internet’s development, evolution, or use to benefit people, and to stimulate and educate communities in the Internet’s use and application.
The SCILLS program operates in target countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Currently, the six target countries are Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Senegal.
Proposed projects should be closely tied with one of more of ISOC’s and the Foundation’s seven purposes. Proposed projects will focus on one or both of the following thematic areas:
1. Economic Inclusion
The Foundation seeks projects that help underserved and unserved communities leverage the Internet to build financial opportunities, increase economic independence, and create sustainable income sources. Example past projects have included building Internet skills among early-stage entrepreneurs, equipping migrant communities to leverage the Internet for successful online marketing activities, helping women develop confidence and ability to use the Internet for their small business activities, developing innovative applications of the Internet to unlock economic opportunity in a particular rural community, or training communities and individuals in advanced Internet applications to secure better jobs.
2. Educational Opportunities
The Foundation seeks projects that support underserved and unserved communities to leverage the Internet to increase access to high-quality primary and secondary education, improve learning outcomes, and improve virtual teaching and distance learning methodologies and skills. Example past projects have included supporting teachers to leverage the Internet to maximize educational opportunities for their students, helping girls and families experience the benefits of the Internet to access education even during interruptions to in-person learning, and increasing culturally relevant and responsive education in marginalized communities by making learning materials available on the Internet in local languages.
The basic eligibility requirements for all Foundation grants are outlined here. All applicants must ensure that they meet these basic requirements.
Additionally, the Foundation is seeking applications from organizations that:
- Have deep experience using the Internet as a force for good, as reflected in their organizational purpose, mission, and activities
- Have a demonstrated understanding and track record of success in working in one or both of the thematic Focus Areas of economic inclusion and educational opportunities.
- Have a deep knowledge of and experience working with intended beneficiary community(ies)
- Is well positioned to execute the project in terms of experience managing grants, role in the ecosystem, expertise with similar projects, relationships in the community, skills of staff and/or partners, or other strengths and capacities
- Are proposing projects that feature the Internet as a key implementation tool.
Once prospective applicants are screened for organization eligibility and project alignment in the SOI (Statement of Interest) phase, selective applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. The selection criteria against which the Independent Program Review Committee (IPRC) will review eligible applications is:
- The proposed project supports the overall goal of the SCILLS funding program
- The proposed project clearly outlines why and how the Internet can be leveraged to effectively address the identified issue or opportunity
- The applicant and any partners demonstrate the necessary knowledge, relationships, and experience to accomplish the project goals
- The project’s goals, outcomes, key milestones, indicators, and workplan are clearly defined and align with each other.
Grants of up to $250,000 USD will be awarded for projects that are 24 months (2 years) in duration.
The 2023 SCILLS application cycle will open May 1. Statements of Interest are due May 24. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and invited to submit a Full Application by May 31, 2023.
How to Apply
Applicants are strongly encouraged to register their organization in the Foundation’s grants managements system here prior to the application window opening.
Only applications submitted in the Foundation’s grants management system by the deadline will be considered for funding.
- Budget and workplan template (required as part of your application)
- Objective Writing Guidance
- How to apply to the 2023 Internet Society Foundation SCILLS Program (video)
Frequently Asked Questions
SCILLS implemented its first grant cycle in 2020 and currently accepts applications on an annual basis.
You can learn more about current and past SCILLS grants on the Our Projects page.
To be eligible to receive funding from the Internet Society Foundation, an organization must meet all of the requirements outlined here.
As a supporting organization of the Internet Society (ISOC), the Internet Society Foundation must operate exclusively for the benefit of ISOC and follow special rules under the U.S. tax laws. These rules include that we can only make grants to organizations whose purpose(s) and activities are aligned with the purposes and activities of ISOC. For more information about organizational alignment, please refer to this page of our website.
The SCILLS program is geographic in scope in order to maximize its intended impact considering scope, budget, capacity, and opportunities. The current six countries of focus are Bangladesh, Colombia, Senegal, as well as Brazil, Ghana and Indonesia.
In 2020, the Foundation engaged with partners and consultants to conduct an extensive analysis of geographic and language considerations, enabling environment, levels of need and opportunity, and the organizational ecosystem, the Foundation chose the three initial countries of focus: Colombia, Bangladesh. and Senegal. In 2022, the Foundation underwent a similar process and will expand to Brazil, Ghana and Indonesia in 2023. All countries of focus are located in countries of the Global Majority.
Eligible organizations who wish to apply for funding will first complete and submit the Statement of Interest (SOI). Organizations with successful SOI’s will then be invited to complete and submit a full proposal. Once full proposals have been received, they will be submitted to the Foundation’s Independent Program Review Committee for evaluation and a funding recommendation.
Currently, the SCILLS grant cycles occur once annually. In 2023, eligible organizations in the target countries may respond to the open call for funding once it is announced. You may complete the Statement of Interest (SOI) form in the Foundation’s grant management platform, Fluxx, by clicking on “Create an Account” and following the instructions. If you face any challenges accessing Fluxx, contact [email protected].
– To help you develop your proposal, refer to our online training course on designing impactful and effective projects and grant applications.
– For tips related to developing your project budget, please refer to this project budget guidance document.
– Our SCILLS project workplan template and budget form will be uploaded soon.
If you have any further questions about this program or the application process, please email [email protected].
Header image from Images of Empowerment used under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)