ISIF Asia, 2015 in review

By on 22 Dec 2015

Categories: Community, Development

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APNIC is a founding partner and key supporter of the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia), a program aimed at stimulating creative Internet solutions to development needs in the Asia Pacific region.

2015 has been another busy year for the ISIF Asia program, which has supported a number of awards, grants and capacity-building activities.

 Awardees addressing social and development challenges using the Internet

The ISIF Asia Awards seek to acknowledge the important contributions innovators have made to their communities, by addressing social and development challenges using the Internet.

During 2015, five awards were given to four initiatives focusing on a variety of issues that matter to communities in India, Indonesia and Pakistan, such as citizen participation to improve public infrastructure in India; bridging fractal algorithms with traditional batik design in Indonesia; supporting female doctors to access the workforce in Pakistan; and tracking hepatitis for better public health management in Pakistan.

The awardees were each given AUD $3,000 towards their project and were invited to attend the Tenth Annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2015) held in João Pessoa, Brazil, where the awards ceremony took place.

Providing support to develop networks

Several ISIF recipients benefited from additional support in 2015 through ISIF Asia’s Capacity Building Fund, which provided travel assistance for recipients to attend international conferences and training events, including APNIC 40, APRICOT 2015, APrIGF 2015, AVPN 2015, COHRED Forum 2015, ICTD 2015, IGF 2015, RightsCon and WiSATS 2015.

Attending these events helps promote the results of ISIF Asia supported projects, in turn raising the profile of the recipients and opening doors to negotiate additional support for their projects through a stronger and wider network of contacts.

On top of these face-to-face opportunities, ISIF Asia provided access to the JFDI.Asia pre-accelerator course for 60 project teams.

Project grants: awarded and completed

Four projects received grants in 2015 and all are underway. The projects are:

  1. Development of mobile phone based telemedicine system with interfaced diagnostic equipment for essential healthcare in rural areas of Low Resource Countries – Department of Biomedical Physics and Technology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  2. Deployment of Community-Based Hybrid Wireless Network using TV White Space and Wi-Fi Spectrum in Remote Valleys around Manaslu, Himalaya – E-Networking Research and Development, Nepal.
  3. Improved Carrier Access in Rural Emergencies (ICARE) – Innovadors Lab Pvt Ltd and School of Computer and Information Science, IGNOU, India.
  4. A Peering Strategy for the Pacific Islands – Network Startup Resource Center and Telco2, Pacific Islands.

Most of the 2014 grant recipients also completed their projects during the year, including:

  • The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society in collaboration with University of Auckland, worked on improving Internet Connectivity in Pacific Island countries with network coded TCP. Deployments were made in several islands of the Pacific with very positive and encouraging measurements for future development.
  • The Punjabi University, Patiala, in India, completed their project to overcome the barriers that Sindhi Arabic and Devnagri scripts posed for researchers. They have completed the transliteration tables for both scripts and millions of words have being input into the database, which is now on their final version.
  • iSolutions deployed the Chuuk State Solar Server Education Hub in Micronesia, through a scale-up grant, following the deployment of the PISCES project support in 2013 to connect schools to the Internet in Chuuk. The solar server education hub connects schools to educational content and share communication capabilities, as well as lowers costs by rationing the use of limited broadband and using solar energy.
  • Nazdeek, in collaboration with PAHJRA and ICAAD has introduced a different approach on how to improve maternal health in India. They are using SMS technologies liked to online mapping to increase accountability in delivery of maternal health services. Their approach allows Adivasi tea garden workers in Assam to understand their rights and how to claim the benefits they are entitled to.
  • The ECHO app from eHomemakers in Malaysia received an award in 2012 for their work to support working women in Malaysia to communicate and coordinate better when they work from home. In 2014 they received a scale-up grant to replicate their experience in support to Homenet in Indonesia.
  • The University of Engineering and Technology is working with the Vietnam National University on better systems for monitoring landslides and providing early warnings of landslides in Vietnam.

Check out all the 2014 projects.

More grants in 2016

A new call for ISIF Asia grants will open early in 2016 thanks to funding contributions from Canada’s International Development Research Center, the Internet Society, and APNIC, including the brand new Internet Operations Research Grants. The 2015 round of research grants is currently underway, with AUD $60,000 to contribute towards research in our region.

Visit ISIF Asia’s Discover blog to learn more about what Internet innovation is happening in the Asia Pacific as well as the ISIF Asia website for more information about funding opportunities available for 2016.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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