The WiderNet Project

Casting a Wider 'Net

aka WiderNet, eGranary Digital Library   |   DURHAM, NC   |  www.widernet.org

Mission

Our Vision: We envision a world where every student has access to a quality education. Our Mission: WiderNet unlocks the potential of millions of underserved students, delivering sustainable solutions that ensure equitable access to digital education resources.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Cliff Missen

Main address

1906 E NC HIGHWAY 54 STE 100F

DURHAM, NC 27713 USA

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EIN

46-1028799

NTEE code info

International Educational Development (Q34)

International Economic Development (Q32)

Computer Science (U41)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In the 21st century, access to digital information is as essential to a nation’s health as other crucial infrastructure such as roads, electricity, and potable water. However, approximately 5 billion people, almost two-thirds of the global population, are currently without access to the Internet. Prohibitive costs, geographic barriers, and a lack of technological training are just some of the key contributors to the information poverty epidemic. In Africa, for example, bandwidth can cost up to 100 times what it costs in the US, and can be frustratingly slow – often taking hours to download a single audio file. While the rest of the developed world reaps the benefits of participating in the increasingly digital global economy, the gulf between the technological “haves” and “have-nots” grows ever wider.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The eGranary Digital Library

In partnership with the School of Library and Information Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, and with the help of hundreds of other collaborators around the world, we deliver of millions of culturally significant digital education resources using the eGranary Digital Library. The eGranary is an offline server housing tens of million websites, videos, tutorials, and software programs accessed via computers, tablets, and smartphones over a local area network (LAN). This “Internet in a box” functions and feels exactly like the Internet, but is thousands of times faster and completely secure over the LAN.

Through a process of copying web sites (with permission) and putting them on the internal networks of our partner institutions, the eGranary delivers instant access to a wide variety of educational resources including video, audio, books, journals, and websites. Covering dozens of topics ranging from engineering and medicine to horticulture and music, the more than 35 million resources housed in the eGranary are fully indexed and searchable using our powerful, built-in search engine. Additionally, users can also upload their own content and create or edit countless websites using built-in software called the Community Information Platform.

Over 2,000 institutions – schools, medical clinics, and universities – have adopted the eGranary across Africa, India, Bangladesh, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, and many other locations. We also facilitate ongoing trainings at many of these institutions to increase technological capabilities and share best practices regarding managing the hardware we help install along with the eGranary. We aim to expand its use to thousands of schools, hospitals and universities in underserved areas around the globe as well as engage librarians and educators to develop custom collections for their communities. Additionally, WiderNet is pioneering “pocket libraries” using microchip technology so users can take the eGranary with them on their smartphones or mobile devices.

Population(s) Served

The sister library to the eGranary, the Corrections Offline Education Platform (COEP) an off-line digital library that provides full Internet-like experience for users in detention, treatment and other institutions that lack Internet access. Rich with millions of resources for GED, high school, secondary, and post-secondary education, it is in use at dozens of correctional facilities around the U.S. Administrators are able to leverage COEPs flexible filters to remove any objectionable content while still benefitting from the secure, instantaneous connection and absence of bandwidth costs.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

The eGranary Digital Library

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We have installed over 2,000 digital libraries in universities, hospitals and communities in under-served communities around the world.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our objective is to bridge the considerable digital divide keeping nearly two-thirds of the global population from reaching it's educational and economic potential. We strive to provide sustainable, cost effective solutions to organizations and communities lacking the resources and technology to connect to the Internet, and prepare them to shape their digital futures.

At WiderNet, we seek to provide resources and training to technologically underserved communities that promote digital literacy and improve educational outcomes. We foster unique partnerships with governments, agencies, and educational institutions around the world that strengthen their abilities to integrate digital information into their educational curricula. Leveraging local experts, stakeholders and entrepreneurs, we assemble and distribute custom collections of digital resources in our eGranary Digital Library, ensuring that the content therein is culturally significant to the student populations it will serve. To ensure each community using the eGranaries has ongoing support, we facilitate regular trainings designed to promote digital literacy and develop IT professionals capable of managing computer labs and networks connected to eGranary servers.

Our sister organization within the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at UNC-Chapel Hill, [email protected], provides us with the unique opportunity to tap into the vast resources and expertise of this esteemed public university. Professional librarians make up several of WiderNet's full-time staff and volunteers, and play an instrumental role in the efficient and ethical categorization of the eGranary's more than 35 million resources. Furthermore, the contributions of dozens of student researchers allows us to refine the technology we are installing in organizations around the world.

Over 2,000 institutions – schools, medical clinics, and universities – have adopted the eGranary across Africa, India, Bangladesh, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, and many other locations. The trainings WiderNet facilitates have consistently garnered positive reviews - 8.7/10 among survey respondents. We've gathered content for the eGranary Digital Library from more than 3,000 contributing
organizations, publishers and authors who granted permission to distribute their works. Some of these include: Wikipedia, The Khan Academy, California State University, Carnegie Corporation of New York, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Columbia University, Cornell University, MIT, Press, NASA, National Cancer Institute, National Geographic, New York Times, UNESCO, U.S. Department of Education, World Bank and WHO. We've also raised and delivered more than $2,500,000 in hardware, software and cash donations to our partner institutions with 31 companies/organizations donating equipment or software. WiderNet has received grant funding from USAID, the US Department of State, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Hewlett Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Intel Corp. and others.

Financials

The WiderNet Project
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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The WiderNet Project

Board of directors
as of 5/28/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Susan Perry

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/28/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data