Empowerment program with the Internet Society

The Internet Society has developed a set of free training programs to equip people with necessary skills to navigate the internet.

Project status: Closed

Available online!

Partner: Internet Society

Impact goal: 3639 people

About the project

The Internet Society has developed a set of free training programs to equip internet professionals with necessary skills. Additionally the online training programs will provide the knowledge on how to maintain the Internet and counteract forces that could undermine its vitality and integrity. The aim of the programs is to promote and defend the internet, advance careers, develop workforces and grow economies, increase diversity and inclusion in the internet ecosystem, leverage the internet to improve and empower individuals, and to increase social impact in all communities of practice.


Learning @ Internet Society Courses: 3,599 people enrolled in the featured courses offered in Quarter 3. Of these, 890 people (25%) completed the courses by the end of the quarter. Enrollment and completion numbers and the gender, age, and regional distribution of participants are detailed in the Appendix.

DDCN Pilot in Kenya: 25 young Kenyans participated in the pilot. 20 (80%) were female and 5 (20%) were male, and all were from 22 to 25 years of age.

Early Career Fellowship: 15 people were selected through an open and competitive application process. The Fellows came from 12 countries (Brazil, China, France, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela). All Fellows were between the ages from 24 to 35; 9 (60%) were female and 6 (40%) were male.


Learning @ Internet Society Courses: Due to the COVID pandemic and to our desire to reach as many learners as possible at a low cost, most of our course offerings are online. Our enrollment numbers are high, indicating a high level of interest in the topics we cover, but course completion rates are only 25%. We surveyed this group (people who enrolled but did not complete courses) to gain insight into this finding. The most common responses were related to lack of time to attend the sessions and meet deadlines and technical difficulties (limited Internet connectivity or lack of access to a computer or device to log on). These are real, practical challenges we don’t have control over, but we will continue to seek solutions to overcome them.

DDCN Pilot in Kenya: Since this was a pilot project, we learned a lot by trial and error. One unforeseen challenge was the level of support our young adult learners needed, beyond the planned technical topics of the course. For example, we offered small stipends to participants to help them cover the cost of transportation to the training and internship sites. However, since many participants did not have bank accounts, payment logistics were difficult. We provided mentoring and support to helping them open bank accounts. Similarly, when it was time for participants to apply for their internships, many needed support with creating a resume and cover letter. We therefore organized a full- day workshop with Digital Opportunity Trust to help participants write their first resumes and cover letters.

Early Career Fellowship: Since this program was fully online, we anticipated that Fellows from regions with lower Internet penetration might face difficulty joining the live sessions and accessing video recordings. Therefore, we offered a connectivity stipend to participants who needed funds to improve their Internet speed and bandwidth. Yet, we discovered as the program progressed that these stipends weren’t always enough. After we invited Fellows to candidly give feedback, we realized that we also needed to share audio recordings (not only video recordings) of the sessions to make the materials more accessible. We learned that inequity presents itself in many forms and we must foster open conversation to address it.

About the partner

The Internet Society is an organization working towards the internet being a global technical infrastructure. Through collaborations in supporting and promoting the internet, their aim is to ensure that the internet will enrich peoples lives and be a force for good in society as a whole. The Internet Society's goals are to ensure that the internet is an open, globally connected, secure and trustworthy platform and tool.

Visit their website here to learn more about them.