Access to Learning Award

Posted by on August 06, 2012

Gates Foundation Invites Community Information Technology Programs Outside the United States to Apply for Access to Learning Award
Deadline: September 30, 2012

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Access to Learning Award recognizes the innovative efforts of public libraries and similar institutions outside the United States to connect people to information and opportunities through free access to computers and the Internet.

The $1 million award is intended to encourage new, innovative ways to provide computer and Internet services to people who are otherwise without access, and to promote greater development of public access technology programs around the world.

The foundation invites public libraries and similar institutions outside the U.S. to apply. Applicants must provide free public access to information through the use of computers and the Internet. Applications from institutions in developing countries or those working with disadvantaged communities are particularly encouraged to apply.

Preference will be given to organizations that actively reach out to underserved groups (e.g., patrons who are poor, disabled, or from minority communities). Free public computer and Internet access is defined as allowing all members of the public — without exception — to use facilities, computers, and the Internet at no cost. Eligible organizations must charge no membership or access fees, make technology services available to the public in a community space, and offer technology training to the public and their staff. The foundation will consider innovative programs of any size or scope, and expects applicants to mention in their application how their program impacts the community. The award committee seeks programs that use creative approaches to reach underserved communities and that have demonstrated sustainability (through current or identified sources of funding).

The award is a one-time prize for organizations that are currently working to provide free access to computers and the Internet in a public setting. The award may be used to support future activities but is given based on past achievement and not future projects.

Visit the Gates Foundation Web site for the program brochure (available in six languages), an FAQ, and the application form. The application form is only available in English, and must be completed in English.

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