LACNIC Recognizes Five Projects for Their Contribution to the Development of the Information Society

30/08/2012

LACNIC, the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry, has recognized five initiatives for their outstanding contribution to Internet development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through its Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FRIDA), LACNIC has awarded prizes to projects from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago for their contribution in the areas of Internet access, freedom, development and innovation. Special mentions were also awarded to proposals from Uruguay and Brazil.

From over 60 projects that were submitted, the FRIDA 2012 Award has recognized five initiatives that in recent years have contributed to the development of the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, identifying good practices that can be replicated and contribute to showcase positive experiences to the region’s decision makers.

Mobile Services and Applications for Poor Communities.- In the Access category –initiatives that have allowed expanding Internet access through new technical and organizational formats– the winning project was “M-Fisheries” (The University of The West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago), a project that develops mobile services and applications for poor Caribbean communities. The judges considered this initiative “An excellent project that is very well planned and has high-impact. It is a comprehensive intervention of interest to other countries of the region. It is also a highly innovative and creative initiative.”

Climate Change Forecasts.- In the Innovation category –initiatives that have introduced technical innovations in any aspect relating to Internet development– the judges presented the award to the “Participatory Weather Station Network” project (University of La Punta / Government of the Province of San Luis, Argentina), a program that takes census of weather data to generate different climate scenarios and know how they will impact climate change during the 2020-2050 period. The judges considered that “the greatest merit of this project is having automated weather stations in the province of San Luis, Argentina, increased the number of stations, interconnected them, and made them available to Internet users worldwide. The project’s website makes very efficient use of ICTs to prevent climate changes.”

Freedom and Net Neutrality.- In the Freedoms category –projects relating to the freedom of expression, privacy, consumer rights, and new forms of intellectual property within the digital environment– the winning project was “Net Neutrality Campaign” (ONG META/ NeutralidadSi.org, Chile), a project with outstanding activity at public and private level to avoid Internet content censorship. In this case, the judges highlighted the efforts “for a neutrality bill to be passed, a very technical issue that involves traffic management, net neutrality (as there are multiple providers) and anti-competitive practices. An excellent and necessary initiative which is very much in tune with the issues of freedom of expression and users’ right to transparency.”

Mathematics for All.- In the Development category –initiatives that use the Internet to contribute directly to the resolution of environmental and socio-economic challenges– the award was presented to “Mathematics for All” (Math2me, Mexico), a proposal that seeks to reduce the educational lag in the area of mathematics, presenting the videos needed for anyone to access reliable material for learning math on the project’s portal and ancillary websites. The judges considered the work of this project to be “magnificent” and highlighted that it “makes extensive use of Web 2.0, which has allowed it to have thousands of followers worldwide. The portal is simple and dynamic at the same time, as it shows the 16 topics it approaches for users of different levels and interests.”

A Digital Police Force of Over 110 thousand Members.- Finally, in the Most Voted, Most Creative category, the award was presented to the Colombian National Police for its “Digital Citizens Program,” a plan that promoted the productive use of the Internet among the country’s public officials through a training process that has allowed having more than 110 000 policemen and women internationally accredited as digital citizens.

It is also worth noting that the judges awarded special mentions to Conectar en Igualdad (ANSES, the National Social Security Administration) of Argentina, Rede Mocambos (Casa de Cultura Tainã) of Brazil, Digital Public Schools in the Province of San Luis (Universidad De La Punta/Government of the Province of San Luis) of Argentina, and Portal TIMBO (ANII, the National Agency for Research and Innovation) of Uruguay.

Those responsible for each of the winning projects have been invited to participate in our region’s preparatory meeting for the Internet Governace Forum which will be held in Bogota on 24-26 September, as well as in the global IGF that will meet on 6-9 November in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The FRIDA Award is presented by the FRIDA Program (Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean), an initiative of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), with the financial support of the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the Internet Society (ISOC).

Since 2004, more than 1000 research teams and organizations from around the region have participated in the calls for proposals and nominations launched by the FRIDA Program.