After ten years managing the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) at APNIC, Sylvia was appointed Head of Programs at the APNIC Foundation in December 2016. As Head of Programs, Sylvia works on the management, design and implementation of collaborative programs to expand APNIC’s capacity building efforts and its overall Development Program.
At ISIF Asia, Sylvia continues to lead a grants and awards program that seeks to empower communities in the Asia Pacific to research, design and implement Internet-based solutions for their own needs. One of the region’s most established Internet development programs, ISIF places particular emphasis on the positive role the Internet has on social and economic development in the Asia Pacific.
Sylvia also leads APNIC’s engagement with the Seed Alliance, a global collaboration with the African (AFRINIC) and South American (LACNIC) Internet registries. Together with its funding partners, and various regional sponsors, the Seed Alliance supports innovative Internet development across the global south. She is also a member of the ICANN CCWG on new gTLD auction proceeds and co-chair of the APrIGF.
Throughout her career, Sylvia has focused on the strategic use of the Internet for development with an emphasis on capacity building. Since her early years as a UN Volunteer, she has worked across the multi-stakeholder spectrum of organizations with technical and advisory roles, mainly about information systems, access provision and innovation.
In July 2003, her work was recognized with the "Annual Award for Young Professionals" by the International Development Research Center (IDRC).
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2018 represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The annual WSIS Forum is a global multi-stakeholder platform facilitating the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for advancing sustainable development. The Forum provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving Information and Knowledge Societies.
The WSIS Prizes contest, an integral part of the WSIS stocktaking process, serves as a mechanism to evaluate and recognize individuals, governments, civil society, local, regional and international agencies, research institutions and private sector companies for outstanding success in implementing development-oriented strategies that leverage the power of ICTs.
90 Champions of the prestigious WSIS Prizes contest while the 18 Winners, out of these 90 Champions, were recognized at separate ceremonies at the Geneva International Conference Centre today, as part of the annual WSIS Forum 2018. The submission phase which began from 11 September 2017 to 10 January 2018 received a record number of 685 project submissions, out of which 492 exceptional projects were nominated for WSIS Prizes 2018. Close to a million online votes were cast from 29 January till 18 February 2018 for these projects and following a comprehensive review by the Expert Group lead to the selection of 90 extraordinary ICT-related projects and initiatives for the seventh edition of the WSIS Prize contest.
ISIF Asia was recognized among other 4 projects as a Champion on Category 18 for International and Regional Cooperation. The winner on the category was the Internet Society Digital Schools Chapterton. The other Champions on the category are: African fiber optic Backbone Trans-Saharan (BTS); IST-Africa Institute; and the Satellites for Sustainability project from Inmarsat and the UK Space Agency.
We are honored to share the recognition among such distinguished organizations and we remain committed to champion regional and international collaboration around Internet for development.
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.
Nashin Mahtani is the Project Co-Manager and Lead Designer of PetaBencana.id, 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 DreamSpace.ph 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.
Dr. Meenakshi Gauthamhealth 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.
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.
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
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 15 May 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
ISIF Asia opens its 2018 call for grants and awards in the tenth year of its operation in the Asia Pacific. In total, funding of USD 210,000 will be shared among winning grants and awards for innovative uses of Internet technologies that support social and economic development in the Asia Pacific.
Applications are open now until 15 May 2018.
Grants are provided to projects that support research on Internet operations, infrastructure, technologies and protocols within the Asia Pacific region. USD 194,000 will be available for funding across the following four grant categories.
For projects working on practical solutions supporting Internet resiliency and network security. More information.
For projects developing affordable, locally owned and managed communication infrastructure, deploying creative low-cost solutions that use wireless technologies, GSM and/or fibre connections. More information.
For projects supporting the development of an independent Internet research community whose work can improve the availability, reliability and security of the Internet in the Asia Pacific, and widen its coverage, applications and benefit to the community. More information.
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 (USD 16,000 in total), where the awards ceremony will take place.
I4D Award for Community Networks
I4D Award for Gender Empowerment and Innovation
Visit the website for more information about key dates and how to apply.
ISIF Asia is celebrating its 10th Anniversary during 2018, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than keep doing what we do best: support innovative approaches that show the power of the Internet for good. USD 210,000 available in funding to support 10 projects across the Asia Pacific! The application will be open from 25 February until 15 May.
The Internet for Development Award for Community Networks will be awarded to projects/organizations working to achieve affordable, locally owned and managed communication infrastructure, deploying creative low-cost solutions that use wireless technologies, GSM and/or fibre connections.
I4D Award for Gender Empowerment & Innovation
The Internet for Development Award for Gender Empowerment & Innovation will be awarded to projects/organizations working to achieve gender equality and foster women’s leadership in the Internet industry.
USD 194,000 in funding will be available across the following four categories:
For projects/organizations working on practical solutions supporting Internet resiliency and network security. Two grants will be allocated: one of USD 30,000 to scale-up an existing project and one small grant of USD 13,000 for a new project.
For projects/organizations developing affordable, locally owned and managed communication infrastructure, deploying creative low-cost solutions that use wireless technologies, GSM and/or fibre connections. Two grants will be allocated: one of USD 30,000 to scale-up an existing project and one small grant of USD 23,000 for a new project.
For projects/organizations working to achieve gender equality on the Internet industry. Two grants will be allocated: one of USD 30,000 to scale-up an existing project and one small grant of USD 23,000 for a new project.
For projects/organizations supporting the development of an independent Internet research community whose work can improve the availability, reliability, and security of the Internet in the Asia Pacific region, and widen its coverage, applications and benefit to the community. Two grants will be allocated: one of USD 30,000 to scale-up an existing project and one small grant of USD 15,000 for a new project.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) brings together representatives from civil society, academia, private sector, government and the technical community as equals, to discuss about public policy issues relating to the development of the Internet. It is a unique space that informs and inspires. The IGF facilitates a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise. The IGF 2017 starts officially tomorrow in Geneva, Switzerland, and today a series of pre-events set the tone for the discussions that will take place from 18 to 21 December 2017 an the UNOG building.
ISIF Asia has hosted its awards ceremony at the Internet Governance Forum since 2011, and most recently as a joint ceremony with the Seed Alliance regional partners, FRIDA and FIRE Africa. For this year, the Seed Alliance partners have organized 3 sessions, all running on Monday 18 December:
At 9:00 am in Room XXVI – E the Seed Alliance Open Forum will be sharing with the community what the Seed Alliance is, and the work of FIRE, FRIDA and ISIF Asia to support innovation on Internet development. In particular, the Seed Alliance will be focusing on its gender programming, ahead of the 2018 plans to have a specific funding category across the 3 regions to fund gender and technology projects.
Then at 1:30 pm in room Room XXVI – E the Seed Alliance Awards ceremony will take place and 6 amazing projects will be presented. Please join us to acknowledge the great contributions each and everyone of them is doing for our digital future. The ISIF Asia award winner from Indonesia, PetaBencana.ID will be among these amazing group.
The Seed Alliance will also have a booth at the IGF Village, so please come to meet the award winners and learn more about their work, and the work of the regional partners to support innovation across the global south.
As co-chair of the APrIGF, I also would like to invite you to join the presentation of the APrIGF Synthesis Document, on Thursday 21 at 9:00 am at Room XXII – E. The document, developed through a community process online produce a collaborative outputs of the discussions held at the last APrIGF in Bangkok, a remarkable effort lead by the APrIGF secretariat.
Many ISIF Asia grant and award winners are actively involved at the IGF and organizing or speaking at different workshops. Here are some of the few:
Innovative improvements to flood mapping, health services, IoT security, traffic management and satellite connectivity were the ISIF Asia 2017 winners.
The funding recipients receive AUD 160,000 to support research and development of Internet technologies for the benefit of the Asia Pacific.
The five winners were:
An app to crowdsource flood maps for disaster management.
A platform to manage health services delivery.
An IoT traffic classification system.
Cybersecurity for IoT networks.
A solution to improve satellite connectivity.
The four grants, across three categories, and one award are fully funded by APNIC, and 2018 will mark the first block of grants that will be fully administered by the APNIC Foundation.
“This year’s winners are an outstanding group that demonstrate the very high standards of I4D and R&D in the Asia Pacific region,” APNIC Foundation CEO Duncan Macintosh said.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see the diversity and quality of applications received – this year we received 188 applications from 44 economies – double the amount of economies that submitted proposals in 2016. To be able to support such activities and the positive impact they are having, and will have, on their respective communities, is really worthwhile. On behalf of the APNIC Foundation, I congratulate the recipients.”
Supported initiatives 2017
ISIF Asia Internet for Development Award 2017
Yayasan Peta Bencana, Indonesia “Democratizing Decision Support: PetaBencana.id Platform for Equitable Disaster Resilience”
Powered by CogniCity Open Source Software, PetaBencana.id is a free web-based platform that produces megacity-scale visualizations of disasters using both crowd-sourced reporting and government agency validations in real-time. The platform harnesses social media and instant messaging during emergency events to gather confirmed situational updates from street level, in a manner that removes the need for expensive and time-consuming data processing. These verified user reports are displayed alongside relevant emergency data collected by local and government agencies. By integrating localized knowledge from a variety of sources into a single, robust platform, PetaBencana.id provides a comprehensive overview of disaster events, enabling residents, humanitarian agencies, and government agencies to make more informed decisions during emergencies. Since its debut in 2013, the PetaBencana.id platform has been used by millions of resident users to make time-critical decisions about safety and navigation during emergency flood events; it has also been adopted by the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) to monitor flood events, improve response times, and share time-critical emergency information with residents. Learn more about Petabencana.ID at https://info.petabencana.id.
PetaBencana.ID will join the awards ceremony that will take place at the 12th Internet Governance Forum, as part of the Seed Alliance activities. The ceremony is scheduled for Monday, 18 December 2017 from 13:30 to 15: 00 (UTC +1), Room XXVI – E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). Those following the IGF can include the event on their IGF calendar at http://sched.co/CSD9.
ISIF Asia Grants 2017
Internet for Development Grant
Nuesto Technology, Indonesia “Virtual Queuing System and Big Data Analytic Dashboard to Improve Quality of Community Health Centre Services in Bandung”
Community health centres play an important role in health development in Bandung, but in the 70 centres that average 200 daily active visitors, waiting rooms are often chaotic, disorganized and inefficient. This is not just a frustration to patients, it also can encourage the spread of illness. Nuesto Technology developed a simplified queuing system (Qiwii) that allows people to: register from different channels (on the spot registration by kiosk, SMS, app, and website); gives patients an estimated queuing time; and provides real-time analytics and data to help health workers analyse and plan health development programs. Since implementing a pilot phase, average queuing time decreased from 3 to 4 hours to 1 hour on average, and patient satisfaction rose from 3 (out of 5 stars). Learn more about Nuesto Technology’s work at http://nuesto.id.
Network Operations Research Grants
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand “Scalable Traffic Classification in Internet of Things (IoT) for Network Anomaly Detection”
This project focuses on accurate traffic classification in the Internet of Things (IoT). As IoT comprises large numbers of simple devices running single applications, often with little to no security features making them easily compromised and used as tools in cyberattacks, it is important to be able to classify new traffic types coming from IoT devices accurately and promptly, so that anomalous traffic can be identified and dealt with quickly. The project studies how unsupervised machine learning can be applied to network anomaly detection in the dynamic IoT environment where previously unencountered traffic types and patterns are regularly emerging and need to be identified and classified. This project involves the study and selection of appropriate machine learning and identification of those flow features which have the highest impact on traffic classification accuracy. The success of this project will contribute to making safer cyber-physical systems that are an integral component of the IoT. The research will be conducted in collaboration with National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Learn more about the School of Engineering and Computer Science work at Victoria University of Wellington at https://www.victoria.ac.nz/ecs.
The University of Auckland, New Zealand “Coding Internet satellite links for better goodput under bandwidth and latency constraints”
Satellite Internet connections to ISPs on Pacific Islands often suffer from TCP queue oscillation. The problem occurs when multiple off-island TCP senders simultaneously try to adjust their congestion windows to make best use of the available link capacity: If their previous transmissions arrived at the island end, the senders receive ACK packets and increase their congestion windows. If no ACKs return, the senders reduce the window sizes exponentially. However, this ACK-based feedback is always out of date due to the large latency of satellite links, while the queue at the entry point to such narrowband links can overflow very quickly. Our experiments in the islands have shown that coding small numbers of flows across such links can result in higher goodput as the coding conceals some of the queue overflow packet loss from the receiver. Building on our previous ISIF Asia funding, we have confirmed the queue oscillation problem and highlighted that coding is time-sensitive. This project aims to extend the existing coding software by a configurable delay that lets us send the redundancy at a time when it has a chance to traverse the link. It also aims to add further features to the software that will result in better goodput. We will also attempt an entirely different approach to coding the TCP traffic, which will be based on byte stream blocks rather than packets. Learn more about the work of the Systems Development and Evaluation Group of the Computer Science Department at the University of Auckland at https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/en.html.
The University of Newcastle, Australia “Software Defined Networks based Security Architecture for IoT Infrastructures”
The heterogeneity of IoT devices, the underlying communication infrastructure and the different types of protocols used by these devices make the IoT infrastructures complex and vulnerable to different types of cyberattacks. The main goal of the project is to develop a secure IoT architecture by leveraging the underlying features supported by Software Defined Networks (SDN). The project will develop fine granular security policies and a lightweight security protocol to authenticate IoT devices and secure IoT infrastructure. It will investigate the use of OAuth (Open Authorization) protocol to specify credentials and security policies for an IoT device to access other devices and services in the network. The project will then validate the proposed security security architecture and techniques using ONOS SDN Controllers and Raspbian/Busy Box virtual machines and demonstrate how the proposed architecture can defend against Mirai type DDoS attacks. The combination of fine granular security policy driven architecture together with lightweight authentication protocol can help to defend the IoT network infrastructure against botnet-based DDoS attacks. It will help to achieve dynamic detection of attacks and update security policies thereby helping to enhance the security and resilience of IoT infrastructure. Learn more about the work of the Advanced Cyber Security Engineering Research Centre of the University of Newcastle at https://www.newcastle.edu.au/research-and-innovation/centre/advanced-cyber-securityresearch-centre/about-us
This is the first year ISIF Asia has had separate selection committees for each category and ISIF Asia is grateful to each committee member for volunteering their time and sharing their expertise. Their technical knowledge is key for an effective selection process, to identify innovative ideas that have a solid technical understanding about how the Internet works and to be able to forecast how the innovative approaches they have selected can contribute to the future of the Internet.
The Call for Proposals for 2018 will open in February. 2018 also marks ISIF Asia’s 10-year anniversary. “The APNIC Foundation is very committed to continuing its support for ISIF Asia and is very excited to celebrate the program’s 10 th anniversary in 2018,” adds Duncan.
To learn more about the ISIF Asia program and be the first to know when the 2018 call for proposals opens, sign up to receive ISIF Asia announcements from the ISIF Asia website.
The APNIC blog published yesterday an article written by Asanka Sayakkara, Assistant Lecturer at University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), about Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to deal with the problems that emerge from the interaction between humans-elephants.
From ISIF Asia, is really great to see how one of the organizations that received one of our first grants, continues to work on innovative solutions that use Internet technologies to address development problems. Kasun de Zoysa from UCSC worked back in 2010, on a Virtual IPv6 application test bed.
Asanka’s article as published at the APNIC blog is below and information about Kasun’s work is linked there. Hope you enjoy!
IoT solutions to help reduce human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka
Human-elephant conflict is a very serious and destructive problem in rural Sri Lanka.
Each year, around 70 people are killed by elephants who wander into villages and farms in search of food; and nearly four times as many elephants are killed as a result. Elephants wandering into farmland also damage crops.
Presenting at the Internet of Things (IoT) tutorial at the recent APNIC 42 conference held in Colombo Sri Lanka, Dr Kasun de Zoysa from the University of Colombo’s School of Computing, shared with attendees examples of how his team, in collaboration with Sweden’s Uppsala University, are employing simple IoT solutions to protect crops and both human and elephant lives.
“Different people have approached this problem in different ways: biologists and animal conservationists are trying their best to protect local habitats, and the government and villagers have built kilometres of electric fencing around their villages and farms,” says Kasun.
“Our approach seeks to complement these efforts by incorporating sensing and data processing technology.”
Such technologies include making electric fences smarter and improving elephant warning systems.
Smarter electric fences
Electric fencing is a common solution used to protect villagers from elephants, particularly farmlands bordering the jungle.
However, Kasun says elephants have learnt how to avoid electric fences and discovered ways to break them, making the practice less reliable.
Once broken, it takes a significant human effort to find the location of the breakage by walking along the fence wire several kilometers long under the threat of nearby wild elephants.
To overcome this, Kasun’s team have developed a cost-effective electric fence, with small IoT nodes placed along the wire that can communicate with each other using the same wire as the communication medium.
“Their packets are encoded into the high-voltage electric pulses in a way that enables us to identify which node is disconnected from the network,” says Kasun. “When a node is disconnected from the network (part of the fence is broken) we can send alerts to maintenance crews with the exact location of the breakage.”
Infrasonic elephant localization system
Kasun says that although this new system will help with alerting villagers to potential elephant intrusions, it is not by itself a sustainable solution to protect people’s lives.
“This is where our second approach comes in,” says Kasun. “We have been testing an infrasonic localization system to locate elephants.”
“Elephants emit infrasonic (low frequency sounds) which travel further compared to audible frequencies. The system we are working on can accurately locate elephants in the area and alert people via various means including SMS alerts and social media.”
Kasun says that both the infrasonic elephant localization system and the smart electric fence are still in experimental stages; however, they plan to launch a pilot program in the coming months to evaluate their effectiveness.
“Success of this pilot deployment will provide us with the valuable information we need to complete this work and produce a cost-effective, open-source product that anybody can build.”
As a woman entrepreneur in technology, I have a unique perspective on running the company. I believe in nurturing and rely on my own organization’s strength on sustaining the business.
Commonly nowadays, as a startup, it is easy to be carried away on the trend where startups rely on investments to create traction or to scale-up and grow. I started my company with my two co-founders from scratch and decided to sustain the company on its own. Since the first time, rather than using investment money to gain traction, we rely on the trait of our product (jBatik Software) and our paying customers to grow our business. We realized that only if our customers happy with our service, will then our company be successful. In other words, our success is integrated with the success of our software users.
jBatik is a pattern generator software that we use to empower the traditional textile business in Indonesia. Our main customers are batik artisans where they use the software to create endless of new batik patterns to increase their productivity and of course, their profit. To date, there are more than 2,000 artisans who have been using our software which we reached out through direct training to the rural areas of the Indonesia, the places where they live. All of them are paying customers, and we are very happy to see that their income has increased 20-25% through the utilization of jBatik Software.
ISIF Asia Award has leveraged our business in term of visibility and credibility. The opportunity to network with the fellow ISIF winners has given me a better perspective and an improved point of view on addressing the pain points and needs of our beneficiaries, which are the traditional artisans. All of these are very important to continue and grow our social business. After winning the award, we have been able to improve our software training, reaching to more organizations to collaborate to acquiring new users within new strategies and we have successfully secured funding from Indonesia government to build new software to serve more traditional artisans.
Our work is far from perfect. With the focus on progress, we believe that collaboration is the key to our innovation. Only by collaborating with each stakeholder, then we can create a breakthrough to solve our problems.
By Robert Mitchell, APNIC
With nominations for the ISIF Asia Awards 2016 now open, we thought we’d check back with some of our previous award winners to understand how the award benefitted their projects and get some advice on what to include in your nominations.
Khairil Yusof is the cofounder and coordinator of the Sinar Project, which received an ISIF Asia Grant in 2013 in recognition of their work using open source technology and applications to systematically make important information public and more accessible to the Malaysian people.
Established in 2011, the Sinar Project aims to improve governance and encourage greater citizen involvement in the public affairs of the nation by making the Malaysian government more open, transparent and accountable.
What are the benefits of these kinds of Grants/Awards?
Here’s what Khairil had to say about ISIF Asia’s Grants and Awards:
These awards and grants recognize the difficult and highly technical work that a few civil society organizations do, which is often not understood or appreciated by other traditional awards or grants (for Rights) programs.
Also, being invited to an award ceremony at large event such as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), provides you with lots of exposure in an environment where you can meet potential partners and donors that understand your work.
What were three key outcomes that the ISIF Asia Grant allowed you to achieve?
The money from the Grant helped our part-time/volunteer effort to register as a proper organization.
It also helped one of our founding members to work full time on funding applications.
Attending the IGF in Turkey provided us with the opportunity to speak with potential donors, which eventually led to initial funding for the establishment of Malaysia’s first fledgling civic tech NGO, and allowed us to continue our work full time.
How has your project progressed after receiving the Grant?
The opportunity to showcase our work to donors led to further funding, which helped with consolidating open standards government data. In turn, this provided open data via REST APIs.
Other achievement include:
Powering Malaysia’s Open Parliament efforts [1,2] and the same in Myanmar [1, 2, 3]
Uncovering corruption and promoting transparency [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Starting a Digital Rights initiative backed by a team with technical capacity, and funded by Access. We are now building partnerships with the TOR Project to collect and report on network interference data and build Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) like alerts for digital rights incidents. We are also providing policy input on Internet and digital rights issues such as trade agreements
What should nominees include in their applications?
Don’t be shy with sharing your methodology and the insights you’ve learned along the way, even if you might think it is trivial. If you’re a very technical team, run your methodology by non-technical friends or family members to get their insights. What you think is mundane, might be inspiring to others.
Review all the outputs you have done; blogs, reports, software, photos, etc. If you’ve been passionately working on your ideas and project, you will be surprised at how much you have achieved. List the highlights in your proposal and reference the other outputs in an appendix or link.
Do Google alerts for mentions and links to your project. It might feel a bit narcissistic, but again you might be surprised at who is referencing or mentioning your project internationally or is inspired by your project work.