For this project, 48percent.org partnered with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Rhizomatica to contribute to their Local Networks (LocNet) initiative. This initiative works to contribute to an enabling ecosystem for the emergence and growth of community networks and other community-based connectivity activities in developing countries.
We awarded 5 grants to projects already within the ecosystem that were working to cope with the effects of COVID-19.
Altermundi – Argentina: With the grant, three selected rural communities will be able to start their own network and connect it to the internet, narrowing the digital divide during COVID-19.
Fantsuam – Nigeria: With this grant, Fantsuam will provide 50 people in the Kafanchan area with devices, airtime, digital literacy training and information on how to obtain other funding opportunities provided by the government to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on households and individuals.
Bosco – Uganda: With the grant, Bosco wants to establish two new hotspot sites (in addition to the 32 Bosco Uganda ICT centres already established). Through the intranet, they will liaise with the ministry to provide accurate health information and create awareness on the availability of online materials for students. This has been made even more imperative due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
REDES – Mexico: With this grant, REDES will be able to acquire new equipment that will improve the infrastructure of community networks for indigenous communities. This improves the access to the internet and information for these communities in a time where COVID-19 makes connectivity indispensable.
Servelots – India: With this grant, Servelots will realize a high speed wifi connection from a nearby town, connect the village clusters to the mesh network, and provide open sources and Raspberry Pi based webinar devices to ensure inter cluster and school teacher sessions. This will help low income families who have been struggling to get the online school session to their kids that are happening as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. With this project they wish to demonstrate that this could be an inclusive alternative for students who cannot afford individual smartphones.