Foundation Projects

NextGen Girls - Internet Security Ambassadors

Shilpa Sayura Foundation

NextGen Girls aimed to upscale ISOC 25 Under 25 Award winner: Respect Girls on Internet, Beyond the net community grant project by developing a network of university and high school girls studying ICT. The goal of the project was supporting women to pursue emerging IoT security careers to help build safer and more secure IoT environments at homes, workplaces and in their communities.

The emergence of pocket sized computing devices, capable of electronic switching, sensing, controlling equipment, video and audio has created a new paradigm shift in home automation, business, agriculture, transport , environment technologies. The IoT systems uses Internet at the core. Insecure uses of IoT, especially in homes, endangers safety and breaches the privacy of individuals and families. Women are the most vulnerable as IoT has been misused to invade women's privacy for sexual forms of revenge, harassment, data breaches and other scams. Obtaining support from male experts in the event of an IoT breach is a risk according to women's safety activists. The solution was developing IoT and security skills among women to safeguard homes, workplaces and the community from IoT breaches.

Women becoming IoT security experts immensely contributes to gender equality, diversity and growth in the female IoT economy. The activities of this project include creating an IoT and Security Curriculum including Internet governance, Privacy, IPv6, IoT, Networking, Information Security and open web technologies and training 40 female University students to become Internet Security Educators.

They then trained 160 of their peers, and spread awareness to 800 high school girls in IoT safety. The training was delivered through eight workshops at four universities, 24 live online training sessions, two meet-ups and an IoT hackathon among girls. The outcomes of NextGen Girls involved the development of a sustainable women's community network specializing in IoT and security, advocating IoT safety, and enabling support for victims while increasing women's participation in IoT and the security field. In the long term, the NextGen Girls community will become a women-led ecosystem that increases IoT safety and the advancement of women in the emerging IoT industry.

Three young women are shown working with wires and tech hardware on a table, while other young women work in the background.
The NextGen Girls project supported women developing IoT skills in Sri Lanka