The Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FRIDA) is pleased to announce the three projects selected as the winners of the program's 2017 edition. This year, three innovative initiatives designed to address different educational and environmental challenges in the LAC region will receive FRIDA funding: a platform for the development of digital educational media for rural communities in Cuba, a Brazilian initiative that promotes the adoption of a gender perspective in the digital rights ecosystem, and a proposal to install weather stations in schools using the Internet to deal with natural disasters in Dominica.
The winning proposals were selected among 312 initiatives received this year from 23 different countries: 149 projects in the FRIDA Awards category, 163 in the FRIDA Grants category.
Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico topped the list of countries with the highest number of submissions.
The Winners. Jurors selected Armonía, an education project by Universidad de Oriente de Cuba as the winner of a FRIDA Award. The project will receive a cash prize of US $5,000 as well as a sponsorship to attend the Global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Switzerland. This initiative was implemented in more than 20 rural settlements and sought to address the problems identified by the community by developing digital educational material, including multimedia, websites and e-books, in primary schools and other higher-level learning institutions.
Jurors highlighted the fact that Armonía seeks to promote the production of content within the education sector in order to address the challenges faced by rural communities, in the context of the Cuban Internet. In the committee's opinion, Armonía's efforts to incorporate technology in the school system and rural environments despite existing limitations are exemplary.
The FRIDA Award to Women in Technology was presented to Coding Rights, a Latin American women's group based in Brazil. Coding Rights was honored for their work in promoting a critical use of digital technologies, including an understanding of data collection and consent from the users' perspective, specifically that of women and members of the LGBTTQI community. The group will also receive US $5,000 in cash and funding to attend the Global Internet Governance Forum in Switzerland. Jurors observed that this organization has a clear view of how the gender perspective should be incorporated into the discussion of digital rights.
Finally, the winner of the FRIDA Grant in the program's most technical category – Innovation for Internet Development – was a project by the National Telecommunications Commission of Dominica for building weather stations in local schools and developing a web platform with freely available meteorological data. Schools Internet of Things (IoT) Weather Monitoring Stations seeks to use the Internet of Things to combat the challenges posed by climate change and the natural disasters faced by this Caribbean island state. This project will receive US $18,500.
According to FRIDA jurors, Schools Internet of Things (IoT) Weather Monitoring Stations is an experimental and innovative project that combines the Internet of Things and training students to respond to the challenges of climate change and Caribbean countries' exposure to natural disasters.
Since 2004, FRIDA has distributed more than US $1.67 million among more than 120 innovative initiatives and projects in 19 countries throughout the region, contributing to the promotion of Internet development in Latin America and the Caribbean.