Tribute to ISIF Asia remarkable women innovators

International Women's Day
International Women’s Day

In the last 10 years, ISIF Asia has supported women led teams to research and develop Internet-based solutions to improve social and economic outcomes, as well as funding projects focusing on women’s access to services and economic empowerment.

As the celebrations for International Women’s Day continue across the world, we salute these remarkable women for their amazing contributions and their endurance to improve the lives of other people. Some of them have moved on from the projects and organizations that intersected with ISIF Asia, but we follow their success.

Award winners

Nashin Mahtani is the Project Co-Manager and Lead Designer ​of, an Indonesian disaster mapping foundation, where she creates data visualization strategies and new representational forms to explain information and communication technologies and systems. With a background in architecture, her research and design work investigates the relational complexities of urban infrastructure, computation, and neuroscience.

Swati Ramanathan is co-founder of Jana Group, a clutch of social enterprises aimed at urban transformation in India. These include the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy where she leads Janaagraha’s innovations in the use of social media and mobile and internet technology for civic participation.

Shamila Keyani, co-founder of Jaroka mobile-based Tele-healthcare in Pakistan, integrating engineering, health provision and community care (*).

Nancy Margried CEO of Batik Fractal, is dedicated to transform traditional art with technology in Indonesia. Her products are internationally recognized and support thousand of artisans to improve their livelihood as the quality of their products increases.

Dr Sara Saeed Khurram, is the founder and CEO of Sehat Kahani in Pakistan, she is a health innovator, working to improve basic health care in communities through a spectrum of services focused on primary health care consultation, health awareness and health counselling.


Mary Rose Ofianga-Rontal, Philippines. From project manager of a pilot project focusing on health data management to feminist entrepreneur, co-founder of and founder of WomenPowered (*).

Sadequa Sejuti, is an architect from Bangladesh, committed to support women entrepreneurs by developing e-commerce solutions fitted for the developing world. As Managing Director of Future Solution for Business.

Chong Sheiu Ching. Malaysia. eHomemakers. Women’s empowerment champion and entrepreneur (*).

Dr. Meenakshi Gautham health researcher focused on rural health services, maternal and child health, equity and quality of healthcare and how mobile health applications for low resource settings can support health services delivery (*).

Chak Sopheap, was appointed Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights when she was just 29 years old. She is a human rights activist, globally recognized for her work to defend human rights and support community development in Cambodia.

(*) Also a grant recipient.

Grant recipients

Alexis Chun – Legalese. A lawyer turned entrepreneur, working to solve the problem of contract / corporate lifecycle automation for start-ups.

Maureen Hilyard – Cook Islands Internet Action Group. An educator turned Internet-Governance champion, supporting development projects across the Pacific.

Diana Klein – CoralWatch. A scientific Illustrator/designer turned Citizen Science Project Manager at the University of Queensland in Australia.

Kanchana Kanchanasut – a pioneer for Internet access in Thailand, innovating on access provision with design of devices, networks and access solutions for community benefit. Internet Hall of Fame inductee.

Jayshree Satpute, Sukthi Dhital and Francesca Feruglio – co-founders of NAZDEEK. Human rights professionals and activists fighting for women’s rights among the poorest of the poor in India.

Jacqueline Chen, Singapore. She used to be country director of OperationASHA in Cambodia and is now working at EMpower. An engineer with a public policy master, working to improve health and economic outcomes for women.

Bishakha Datta, is an Indian film maker, activist and a former journalist. She is the co-founder and executive director of Point of View, based in Mumbai, a non-profit working in the area of gender, sexuality and women’s rights.

Lisa Garcia is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Media Alternatives in The Philippines. A human rights expert working at the intersection with ICTs. She and Nica Dumlao led one of the earliest ISIF-funded projects around women’s rights on the Internet. Nica is a feminist activist who has been involved in the social justice movement, on the intersection between human rights and ICTs in The Philippines with regional projection. She works as Digital Rights Coordinator at EngageMedia.

Organizations that received ISIF Asia support around projects focusing on women’s access to services and economic empowerment

Reports and videos about their work can be found from the full list of awards winners as well as the full list of grants recipientss and reports sections of our website.

  • DoctHers, Pakistan
  • Batik Fraktal, Indonesia
  • UM Healthcare Trust, Pakistan
  • ACCESS Health International, Philippines
  • Future Solution For Business, Bangladesh
  • Corpcom Services Sdn Bhd., Malaysia
  • Movale Development Foundation Inc., The Philippines
  • Garhwal Community Development and Welfare Society – GCDWS, India
  • Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Cambodia
  • Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation, Myanmar
  • Khushi Baby, India
  • Nazdeek, in collaboration with PAJHRA and ICAAD, India
  • Operation ASHA (Cambodia),
  • Amakomaya, Nepal
  • Point of View, India
  • Foundation for Media Alternatives, The Philippines)
  • School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan

On International Women’s Day, calling for gender empowerment and innovation initiatives to apply to ISIF Asia

ISIF Asia has supported many wonderful women leading project teams during our 10 years of operations. We have also being lucky to support projects focusing on women’s health and economic empowerment. During 2018, and thanks t the support from IDRC, we are calling those working on Gender Empowerment and Innovation to apply for the grants and/or to nominate for the award. Applications are open now until 30 April 2018.

The Internet for Development Grants & Award for Gender Empowerment & Innovation will be allocated to projects/organizations working to achieve gender equality on the Internet industry, focusing on one or more of the following areas:

  • Building advanced digital skills among women and girls (coding, network management and security, IPv6, big data, sensors, IoT, devices, machine learning, cloud computing);
  • Supporting women to get involved in network infrastructure deployment to expand Internet access and adoption;
  • Encouraging the participation of women in digital markets to support women’s economic empowerment as well as capacity building initiatives that support employment paths in the Internet industry;
  • Promoting the safe use of the Internet for women and girls
  • Defending women and girls rights online.
I4D for Gender Empowerment and Innovation Grants:

For projects working to achieve gender equality in the Internet industry.

2x USD 30,000 to scale up existing projects

1x USD 23,000 for a new project

Apply now

ISIF Asia awards recognize the positive contributions of project winners with a cash prize of USD 3,500 and a travel grant to attend the 2018 Internet Governance Forum, where the awards ceremony will take place.

Before you submit your Award nomination, please read the nomination requirements.

Before you submit your grant proposal, please read the ISIF Asia Frequently Asked Questions, Guidelines for Grant Applications, and Selection Criteria.