Award builds awareness of Niue’s achievement to provide free Internet

By on 25 Aug 2016

Categories: Community, Development

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Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui (far right) with other ISIF Award and Grant winners at the 2011 IGF.

Since 2008, the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia) has received more than 1,300 submissions from projects that address critical social and development challenges using the Internet in the Asia Pacific.

Internet Niue was one such project that successfully obtained an inaugural ISIF Asia Award in 2011 in recognition of its success in building local Internet capacity and encouraging qualified locals to support the Niue Internet community with a reliable, locally-provided service.

According to Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui, who has been involved with the project since the beginning, the benefits of the award were far greater than the grant money it provided.

“It raised the awareness of our work both regionally and internationally; it reassured us that the work we were doing was not only important locally but appreciated by others, and it provided the opportunity to network with others working in similar spaces and industry and to share our struggles and successes,” says Emani, noting the opportunity the award provided to attend and speak at the 2011 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Kenya.

“I believe that the exposure the award has given us has also assisted in growing my professional network and enabled the exchange of ideas and opportunities for the biggest issue in the Pacific which is connectivity in the 21st century for our rural and remote locations,” says Emani.

Since receiving the award, Emani says their work has gone from strength to strength, evolving from a partially funded ISP to a fully owned, locally supported ISP with revenue generated from users.

“This is quite different to how it was initially set up as a fully subsidized ISP. However, it is progressing well in this new model.”

When asked what advice he would give people thinking of nominating for the ISIF Asia Awards 2016, Emani says “to provide as much information as possible, including testimonials from stakeholders as well as supporters locally and internationally.”

“The ISIF program has assisted some great projects in the past and I’m sure it will continue to help others grow to greater heights. So if you’re interested in using this great resource to develop and gain more exposure for your project, please don’t hesitate to apply.”

Call for nominations for the ISIF Asia Awards 2016 are now open.

ISIF Asia Award winners receive a cash prize of AUD 3,000 to support the continuation of their project, and a travel grant to this year’s IGF – IGF 2016 – in Guadalajara, Mexico, to showcase their project, make new professional contacts, and participate in discussions about the future of the Internet.

The categories for 2016 are:

  • Technical Innovation: access provision, electricity supply, devices, IoT, IPv6, security, privacy
  • Community Impact: women & girls in IT, democracy enhancement, open data, applications for economic empowerment and poverty alleviation.

An additional AUD 1,000 – the Community Choice Award – will be given to one of the two award winners that receive the highest number of votes from the community.

You can read more about Emani and Internet Niue’s experience on the ISIF Asia Discovery Blog.

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