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Ayni lab: Free Internet with mesh networks and technological autonomy tools with a gender perspective for vulnerable communities in Chile

Provide technical tools for communities to create free internet mesh networks to generate technical knowledge & employability for women.

Photo of Carolina Ibarra
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Where are you located (country)?


Where are you located (city or town)?


You are submitting as:

  • An organization

If part of an organization or group, what is the name?

Taller de Reparacion Ciudadano.

How does your proposed solution support emerging middle-class families in urban areas in the Global South to adapt and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We will build together with the communities, free internet in areas where there is no access (because companies do not arrive, in general because there are no resources from community to pay for it) and basic training in: Digital literacy, Network maintenance (to give employability), and a program of basic notions of digital entrepreneurship for low income women. A recent report by Fundación País Digital (2020) based on the Socioeconomic Characterization survey, CASEN, indicates that a first determining element of Internet use in Chile is income level. In general terms, this study confirms that the higher the income decile, the higher the percentage of Internet users. While 96.8% of the people with the highest income in Chile use the Internet, 55.3% of those registered in the lowest income decile access the Internet. According to the Chilean Undersecretariat of Telecommunications (Subtel) as of 2019, 50% of households that have residential Internet correspond to 110 communes, where only 5% of households are connected to fixed residential Internet .

What stage of development is your Idea in?

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

What tier are you applying to?

  • Global South Open Prize Tier: Open to submissions focused on any country in the Global South, at any stage of development.

Do you intend to implement your idea in Peru?

  • Yes

In what countries do you expect to implement your idea initially (in the first 2 years)?

Chile & Perú. Through prior research based on both field work and academic revision, it is expected to map and convene communities through neighborhood councils & territorial organizations in places where there is no internet access and precarious constructions, through participatory methodologies, jointly with them, co-design the best solutions in both physical, social infrastructure, hiring local labor and training women. Ayni: indigenous word in quichua , it means cooperation in Peru & Chile.

Feasibility: where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve accomplished to date, what barriers to implementation might exist, and what next steps you plan to take.

We have been advancing in research with a specific community in Santiago de Chile in a vulnerable neighborhood, together with women. Thanks to this 1st mapping we have understood some access gaps. We understand that one problem may be the maintenance of the network, another, the one that is not used or is used for recreational purposes only. For this reason, the program includes: 1. infrastructure manufacturing x the community itself, 2. basic digital literacy, 3. empowerment of female entrepreneurship. 4. Creation of manual and permanent channel of socio-emotional and technical support. We have studied how mesh networks were implemented in other countries and we have discovered that the difficulty in maintaining a free internet network over time has to do mostly with social factors (lack of training, motivation and lack of culture of autonomy and problem solving, that is, a vision more of a consumer than a citizen). For this reason the program considers giving workshops with design thinking and community participation methodologies to ensure viability over time. For this proposal, the co-creation of an internet network is approached from a gender and feminist perspective not only by the role of women, but by a type of construction and approach to technology that, above all, promotes autonomy and understanding. processes, as opposed to a vertical relationship where the user is subject to the interfaces and methodologies that have been previously determined by others.

Viability: what needs to be true for you to be able to implement your idea? What stakeholders, partnerships and resources might be required to implement this solution?

Possible but not exclusive; donation of materials such as cables, routers by companies. Man-hours of technical personnel (programmers), access to community leaders or neighborhood councils, and networks with organizations to support entrepreneurship. Ideal with recycling-based persons that could provide of some basic electronical devices.

Adaptability: how does your idea adapt to frequent changes within the context you are implementing, due to COVID-19? Consider the rapidly shifting government policies, and healthcare economic realities that might influence end users.

The technical training for the physical installation of mesh networks will be done in an online format, while the physical installations will be carried out with security measures.
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Attachments (4)


Practical guide to building low-cost network infrastructure.

Planificación de una Red Libre y Comunitaria.pdf

There are some organizations in Latin America that have developed community participation methodologies for the implementation and maintenance of the Community Network concept. In this case we will use participatory social methodologies and design thinking.

Inspired by (1)

Wawa Laptop


Join the conversation:

Photo of Javier Carrasco

Hola amigos de Ayni lab: Free Internet with mesh networks and technological autonomy tools with a gender perspective for vulnerable communities in Chile  trabajo en el equipo de Wawa Laptop junto a Alejandra Victoria Carrasco Alayo me encargo de toda la parte de tecnologia, felicitarlos por su proyecto, algo similar implementamos en zonas rurales donde no hay conectividad, revisando la información y el adjunto veo que se podria utilizar la infra (paneles, antenas) con las placas SBC (Raspberry Pi) como router OpenWRT, servidores de contenidos educativos, (RACHEL, KOLIBRI, OffLinePedia, etc) , convertir dicha red lan en un HUB de información para interconectar a las personas, lo mismo replicar en otras zonas cercanas y convertirlos en pequeños HUBs conectados a una gran red WAN, no es necesario tener conexión a internet, los servidores dan la sensación de internet offline, adjunto algunos enlaces, espero podamos conversar y concretar alianzas.

Photo of Carolina Ibarra

Hola Javier! muchas gracias por escribirnos y por la info que nos das! claro que sí, hagamos fuerza común :) Te parece si nos conectamos por whatsapp - lo vi en la web de ustedes- u otra plataforma que les parezca? Estoy trabajando en un repositorio y sería un honor contar con la experiencia de ustedes, un gran abrazo.

Photo of Javier Carrasco

Carolina Ibarra claro puedes escribir al whatsapp +51 950 134 814 quedamos atentos.