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We’re excited to see our project teams bring internet accessibility to those that need it most! Congratulations to our winners!

2023 Selected Projects

Europe, Middle East, Africa

Project: Connecting the Unconnected Refugees in Turkana, Kenya

Team Members:

  • Humphrey Muhindi
  • Dr. Kennedy Ronoh 
  • Brian Kiprop
  • Sophia Musa
  • Mercelyne Tuwei
  • Vanessa Kawira
  • Dennis Kemboi
  • Heidy Ndunya
  • Maurine Chepkemoi

Project Summary: The goal is to connect the unconnected in Turkana county which is in the northern part of Kenya. The county has been hosting refugees for quite a long time. The county is also the poorest in Kenya. The specific area which we would like to provide connectivity is Kakuma town center  and the surrounding rural areas within the Turkana West Sub County. There is only one ISP in Kakuma town but they charge $371 per month which is not affordable to the local population and also the refugees. Mobile broadband is available in some areas but it is not affordable to the low income population and also to the refugees. In the rural areas, there are places where even mobile broadband is not available because the signal is too weak or there is no signal at all. Hence  institutions such as  learning institutions and hospitals do not have connectivity. 

The solution we intend to use to connect the unconnected and provide affordable connectivity is to set up a community network using WiFi as both for the backhaul and access network. We will partner with the community there to provide affordable connectivity compared to the one provided by the one ISP and also that which they get via mobile broadband. We will seek volunteers from the local community and also request their buildings to part of the locations where we will set up the infrastructure. In order to have the community network be sustainable, we will charge a lower fee comparable to that which is charged by ISP. 

We intend to provide connectivity to learning institutions, ICT hubs and hospitals. In town centers and and in refugee camps, we will provide Internet using hotspots.  Learning institutions are provided with the Internet and they will be able to make use of e-learning. Overall the host community and the refugees will be able to join the knowledge economy and participate in other economic activities other than just  livestock farming, agro-pastoralism and fishing.

Project: IEEE ComSoc ICT-Hub for Internet Provision to Students and Host Communities in SLU, Nigeria

Team Members:

  • Nasir Faruk 
  • Dr. Abdulkarim Oloyede

Project Summary: Sule Lamido University (SLU), was established in 2013 by the Jigawa State Government and licensed by the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission (NUC). The University currently has six faculties, 36 academic programmes and two schools. The student enrollment as at March 2023 was 8,978 among which, over 45% of the students are female. The upsurge in the number of female enrolment was as the result of the state government’ drive of providing free education to female and vulnerable ones such as people with special disabilities. Even at that, the majority of the admitted students couldn’t afford due to the level of poverty in the area. Jigawa State is among the poorest in the country, aside being reneged by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists and banditry that crippled economic activities of the area. Furthermore,  Kafin Hausa town has over the years faced neglect of investments, as currently, no active mobile network operator (MNO) in the University. This has adversely affected the socio economic and education activities in the University.  

Recently, the University developed a Learning Management System (LMS) through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. However, the LMS is currently redundant as students do not have access to the Internet. This proposal therefore, aimed at developing an ICT Village Hub called IEEE ComSoc ICT Village, to be domiciled in the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology where students could have access to the Internet for their assignments, social networks among others. Furthermore, Digital Literacy Skills training will be provided to 100 students on how to maximize the availability of the Internet for wealth creation.

Latin America

Project: Juanchaco Community Network, Columbia

Team Members:

  • Andres Navarro 
  • Yeison Barahona 
  • Robin Castro
  • Lina Rivas
  • Nelson Forero

Project Summary: The Pacific Coast in Colombia is considered one of the least connected in the country. Nodo Pacifico is a small ISP which is providing connectivity in Buenaventura and in some rural areas in the Pacific Coast, and is one of the contributors in this project. Juanchaco and Ladrilleros are two touristic zones trying to improve services and increase sustainable tourism in the area, in coordination with the organized communities. Local communities are interested in improving connectivity, as well as providing connectivity to the local schools and guest houses.

With this project, we pretend to provide connectivity in the area, using TV White Spaces technology, given the dispersion of the community and to provide training to implement a community network to guarantee the sustainability of the project in the mid term.

This proposal takes into account aspects of the roadmap outlined by the Mission of Wise Men for the country, which seeks the development and competitiveness of the country through meeting challenges. An example is “and equitable Colombia”. This proposal seeks to articulate the International Mission of Wise Men through a collaborative and inclusive exercise, to apply them in realities that guide the selected territory towards human and sustainable development, based on science, innovation and education. Finally, this proposal seeks to contribute to the advancement of the following Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 4: Quality Education and Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Project: Rehabilitation of a Data Network in Gualaceo, Ecuador

Team Members:

  • Mónica Huerta, PhD
  • Ronny Cabrera
  • Andrea Carrión
  • Roger Clotet, PhD
  • Ana Parra
  • Yadira Ceballos
  • Emilio Salinas

Project Summary: The digital gap in rural areas of Ecuador continues to be a major challenge. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) of Ecuador, in 2020, 52.7% of the rural population did not have internet access. Furthermore, only 8.8% of rural households have computers, and only 3.2% have broadband access. According to data from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, in 2021, 61% of rural schools in the country do not have Internet access. Additionally, many of the schools that have Internet access have slow connection speeds or intermittent connectivity issues.

In 2008 the National Telecommunications Secretariat of Ecuador and the Municipality of Gualaceo signed a cooperation agreement for the implementation of an internet network for 63 educational units. In an evaluation carried out in October and November of 2021, it was verified that the entire data network that provided the Internet to the 63 schools is disabled, among the main reasons being the lack of maintenance and the obsolescence of the equipment. That is why at least 9,000 students and 400 teachers do not have the Internet as a tool to improve the quality of education. The civil and electrical infrastructure of the trunk network is in a condition to be reused. From 2008 to the present date, 23 schools in Gualaceo have closed, therefore there are 40 public schools.

Therefore, the objective of this project is to carry out the rehabilitation of the data network in 40 schools in the Gualaceo canton, which consists of updating equipment in the backbone network and the access network; benefiting 10,226 students and 509 teachers from the community.

The Municipality of Gualaceo is interested in implementing this project and ensuring the operation of the network in the coming years, guaranteeing the sustainability of the data network. The project has other interested parties such as the Ministry of Education, Universities and IEEE organizational units.

Asia Pacific

Project: Connect The Lives, India

Team Members:

  • Dr. Siddarth Shelly
  • Govindaraman S
  • Salih Yoosaf  
  • Krithikesh M U
  • Silda Sholly  
  • Abhinav Krishnan.
  • Saiyad Ali Rapheeque
  • Venkatesh and Anandhu
  • Anamika and Sara 
  • Alisha
  • Afsiya 
  • Krishnendu
  • Joyal 
  • Jawhara Fatima 

Project Summary: The tribal colonies of the Kuttampuzha Grama Panchayat, situated on the outskirts of Ernakulam district are unable to access the Internet even in the 21st century. Due to its unconditional remote terrain, setting up the infrastructure for the cell towers or optical fibre or transmission gridlines is quite challenging. The colonies also lack rubberized roads and bridges for the proper movement of goods. The members of the community are deprived of basic amenities which include Internet, tele-communication, electricity, roads, commodities etc. And so we would like to introduce solar based internet kiosk for the students of the community which is far more economical, efficient, clean and accessible. With the introduction of local network connection, the community would get higher exposure to the outside world and their standard of living increases. Education levels can be improved  because people will be able to access free digitised education that we have installed. Installing local network in this hamlet will be a tough job, but it will result in the advancement of education among students and also aid the long-term development of tribal people in this area. In the future we intend to include more communities to this network. Selected students from Mar Athanasius College of Engineering will undergo training in solar panel design, handling Rachel SSD, workshops on communication network, and installation. They will be equipped with the knowledge to put up solar panels and establish a local network. They will acquire sufficient experience and develop their technical skills as part of this. The students will be capable of constructing and installing solar panels and  smart box themselves. This will also help  in the development  of the college's IEEE student branch.

Project: HIVE - Harnessing the Internet for Village Empowerment, Pakistan

Team Members:

  • Dr. Faisal K. Shaikh 
  • Dr. Abi Waqas 
  • Dr. Badar

Project Summary: The lack of internet access in underdeveloped rural areas is a significant issue that hinders the progress of society. Without access to reliable and affordable internet and technology, individuals living in these areas are unable to take advantage of remote education and work opportunities, which could lead to significant economic growth for the region. One such area is Chachro, Thar, Sindh Pakistan. Chachro is a very underdeveloped rural area where residents lack internet facilities in their homes. Due to the lack of internet access in their homes, residents in the area have to travel long distances to access internet facilities, which is again not always available. Especially the students (there are many students from this area moving to urban areas for higher education and when they return back home they are handicapped) and the SME business (particularly women owned) can benefit  a lot  if the internet facilities are provided to them.  To address this issue and bridge the digital divide, this project aims to provide reliable and affordable internet and technology services to individuals living in underdeveloped rural areas using VSAT (primary link), cellular using Microwave (backup link), and WiFi (in the area) technologies.