Call for Proposals: International Commotion Mesh Wireless Projects

2014-10-08 / Open Technology Institute

The Open Technology Institute is pleased to announce its first call for proposals from groups interested in implementing Commotion-based wireless mesh networks in their communities. This project is supported by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs at the United States Department of State. Due to funding restrictions, projects must be located outside of the United States and Europe.

Promising projects can apply for funds up to $10,000 USD. Projects should be completed within six months of a grant award.

We encourage proposals that will build strong community coalitions, address critical challenges to human rights and serve traditionally marginalized communities.

Additional information about Commotion and Commotion networks:

Commotion is a free, open-source communication tool that uses wireless devices to create decentralized mesh networks. Commotion provides a way for you to share digital resources with the people around you.

Hardware requirements: Commotion currently supports Ubiquiti routers. However, the Commotion project is expanding the list of compatible routers. Here is a list of potentially compatible routers.

Learn more about organizing, planning and building community wireless networks: Commotion Construction Kit.

Read more about existing networks that use Commotion: Sayada, Tunisia; Red Hook, New York City; Detroit, Michigan; Somaliland; and India.

Read more about OTI’s vision of digital justice and digital stewardship.

Read more about Commotion as Community Technology.

Proposal Process:

  1. Submit your project idea by email (details below).
  2. Promising project ideas are invited to discuss the project with OTI staff and submit a full proposal.
  3. Submit a full proposal, incorporating OTI staff feedback.
  4. Proposal review and funding determination.
  5. Grant agreement signed; work begins.

General Open Technology Institute (OTI) Grant Criteria:

  • OTI supports projects from countries or groups that face critical human rights challenges. Currently, projects must be located outside of the United States.
  • Projects must uphold the principles of equity, diversity and inclusiveness.
  • OTI grounds its work in the Digital Justice Principles developed by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition. OTI supports only projects whose objectives are in line with these principles and our mission.
  • Women and traditionally marginalized groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Project Selection Criteria:*

  • Preference will be given to projects that will run local applications on the network. Projects that simply distribute Internet access are less likely to be selected.
  • The proposed project should use an inclusive community process to involve people in the planning, building and governing of the network. Community-wide training and engagement should be an essential component.
  • The organization or group applying must have experience in community engagement and/or community organizing.
  • The project team has gender balance and includes a range of skillsets.
  • Project team has contributed to open source projects or has experience using open source tools.
  • Availability of supported or supportable hardware in proposed location.

*Some of these criteria may not apply to all projects.

Submit a Project Idea

Project ideas should be submitted in the following format:

  1. Project Title
  2. Project Location
  3. Name of Organization or Group
  4. Contact Name
  5. Contact Email
  6. Project Description (800 word or less description of the proposed mesh project). The Description should include the following:
  7. Description of the proposed network (area covered, equipment used, etc.)
  8. What need does the network serve? What will be possible with the network that was not possible before?
  9. Who will use the network? How will the users be involved in the building and governing of the network?
  10. What, if any, local applications will run on the network?
  11. Who will plan, build and maintain the network?
  12. Proposed Network Diagram and/or Map
  13. Project Timeline
  14. Project Budget
  15. Project Team. Who will be involved in the project? Describe their technical skills and experience. (note: the project team should include at least three people.)
  16. Organization Mission. Describe the mission of your organization or group.
  17. Equipment. What wireless routers will you use? Are these routers available in your country?
  18. Regulations. Are there Wi-Fi or other regulations in your country that could make it difficult to implement your plan? How will you address those regulations?

Submit proposals to: commotion-grants (at) opentechinstitute (dot) org

Project ideas due dates:

  • Round 1: September 15, 2014
  • Round 2: December 15, 2014
  • Round 3: February 15, 2015
  • Round 4: April 15, 2015

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