Grants and awards: Gender equality and scaling digital innovation

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) 2015–2030 agenda, promoting gender equality is central to global development policy and practice. Efforts are needed to close the gender gap in education and training opportunities, the provision of employment, and leadership development pathways.

One area where there is a significant gap is in the funding of innovation projects focused on gender equality. Innovation projects are projects that work on local development problems deploying local capacities and information and communication technologies (ICTs). Small seed grants can be significant in technology development and the development of new creative solutions by small social enterprises. They can help propagate existing innovations or potentially contribute to scaling innovations. Small grants allow new collaborative efforts the necessary space to explore and experiment in an agile context.

The SEED Alliance identifies and supports opportunities for scaling digital innovations that solve development challenges in education, governance, health, the environment, and the economy. It combines three regional, competitive small grants and awards programs from Africa (the Fund for Internet Research and Development, or FIRE), Asia (the Information Society Innovation Fund, or ISIF), and Latin America and the Caribbean (The Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean, or FRIDA). The Alliance creates business and social impact mentorship programs that nurture entrepreneurial leaders to scale and commercialize digital innovations.

The Seed Alliance is funded and operated by the African Network Information Center (AFRINIC), the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), and the Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Alliance has received sponsorship and additional grants from other donors since its inception in 2012.

This grant allows for additional calls for small grants and awards for the 2018–2019 cycle. IDRC’s contribution will target scaling digital innovation across the three regions for projects focusing on gender equality and fostering women’s leadership in the Internet-for-development sector. This grant will allow the Alliance to address gender equity and equality explicitly, and to signal to the regions and communities of practice the importance of gender dimensions in technology development. The aim is to achieve greater gender equity and inclusion in innovations processes that the Alliance supports, and greater equity in the design of applications to ensure a focus on tackling the challenges faced by underserved girls and women.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Friday, July 10, 2020


24 months

IDRC Officer

Phet Sayo

Total funding

CA$ 303,383


North of Sahara, South of Sahara, Central Asia, South Asia, Far East Asia, South America


Networked Economies

Project Leader

Paul Wilson


APNIC Foundation Limited

Institution Country

Hong Kong

Institution Website

Project Leader

Laura Kaplan


Registro de Direcciones de Internet para América Latina y Caribe (LACNIC)

Institution Country


Institution Website

Project Leader

Alan P. Barrett



Institution Country


Institution Website