Project Rocky Mountain Region

Internet access is a human right 

"The Human Rights Council, Guided by the Charter of the United Nations... Stressing the importance of applying a comprehensive human rights-based approach when providing and expanding access to the Internet and for the Internet to be open, accessible and nurtured by multi-stakeholder participation..."

United Nations General Assembly, 27 June 2016 

UN Associations Rocky Mountain - Final Cut with CC.mp4

This is our WHY... 

Special thanks to Spy Hop Productions for helping UNA-USA Project Rocky Mountain Region to produce this informational Public Service Announcement about the Sustainable Development Goals and our work to bring broadband internet access to hard-to-connect communities. 




Rocky Mountain Region 

Welcomes You

Project Rocky Mountain Region is a 5-state initiative (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) that is led by the UNA Albuquerque Chapter to serve as a pilot program and model for localizing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through a concentrated effort to align regional stakeholders who are focused on bringing reliable and low-cost broadband internet service to marginalized communities. 

Sam's Story...

Sam is one of five children in a large family with inherited diabetes. They live twelve miles from the nearest paved road and almost an hour away from the nearest town with retail stores and medical services. Their home is on the land that their ancestors settled hundreds of years ago to raise livestock. Over the years, Sam's family has tried to find other means for income like making and selling food and handcrafts since water sources for their animals have been less reliable. Most people in their family have earned high school diplomas, but Sam really wants to go to trade school to learn how to install solar power systems and own a business. 

Sometimes Sam's road is impassable because of washouts and can sometimes break their vehicle, so it's hard to see the doctor and fill prescriptions, attend council meetings and church, and keep a regular school and work schedule. Sam found an online training program and a scholarship to pay for classes, but the internet connection is not fast enough for them to use a computer and stay connected. Sam can sometimes browse to websites on a smartphone when the cellular service is good at the top of the hill, but the screen is too small to do the required coursework for school. The streaming lectures often stall and drop after a few minutes, as do council meetings. Sam has looked into other telecom and data services, but their community is part of the 'checkerboard area' where many different governments and agencies manage the land and have different rules that make it hard for providers to bring in new connections. 

Sam does not want to leave their family home and wants to stay healthy. Many people are depending on Sam to help take care of the family and the land for future generations. If their community had access to reliable internet service at a reasonable cost, Sam could complete the vocational training program, comparison shop for tools and supplies, advertise their business, hire a helper or two, and bring solar power to hundreds of other homes and businesses. Sam's family members could also sell their crafts and food online, and continue their own education. Sam's sister wants to be a nurse. Sam's cousin wants to make movies with drones. Sam could schedule routine telehealth appointments, fill necessary prescriptions, and connect with support groups that offer other helpful advice and resources. Without internet access, Sam's family will miss out on opportunities that others take for granted. Without access, Sam could potentially succumb to the feelings of hopelessness living in a community that is less likely to thrive without this modern necessity.

Connecting the SDGs

UNA Albuquerque joined forces with UNA Utah, UNA Boulder County, and other chapters in the Rocky Mountain Region to develop a collaborative model of best practices for partnership to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in disconnected and underserved rural and indigenous communities. 

Through project-based learning activities that engage UNA members and other stakeholders at all levels, the Rocky Mountain Region is taking a leadership role in solving complex problems like broadband connectivity across the US and the world.

Photo credit: Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Photo credit: Willie Holdman

Photo credit: Jae Jarrett

With thanks to our partners, we can...

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

"To ensure no one is left behind, continued collective efforts are needed to connect the remaining 49 per cent of the world’s population. A close collaboration among governments, policymakers and network operators is required to bring them fully online."

Learning Partnership and Collaboration

Project Rocky Mountain Region is an ambition of UNA-USA members participating in the third cohort of the Partnership and Collaboration Learning Series facilitated by Troy G. Wolfe, Senior Director of Partnerships & Special Initiatives for the United Nations Foundation/UNA-USA. Borne from the skills and knowledge acquired by members during the learning series, Project Rocky Mountain Region will serve as a case study for the first ever 5-state initiative and demonstrate the purpose of leading members Betsy Bailey, UNA-USA Albuquerque Chapter President,  Peter Corroon, UNA-USA Rocky Mountain Regional Chair, and Eileen Davis-Jerome, Ed.D., Chair of the UNA Collaboration Committee.

In 2020, UNA-USA saw an increased commitment by members across the US to create local campaigns that use the 17  SDGs  as  the  framework  to  address  and  improve  local  issues. For the Rocky Mountain Region and in many other US communities, the lack of affordable and accessible broadband internet service was identified as a major barrier to achieving the SDGs, particularly in rural and indigenous communities. By defining the relationship of broadband connectivity to meeting all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Project Rocky Mountain Region rallies champions at  the  forefront  of  innovation  and  relies on  opportunities  to  partner  and collaborate with their respective communities in order to advance the Global Goals. Read more in UNA-USA's 2020 Annual Report.


UNA-USA seeks opportunities to increase awareness of the work of the UN by empowering our national network  of  UN  advocates  understand  solutions  for  global  issues  in  the  context  of  local  and  national needs. With initiatives like Project Rocky Mountain Region, we create a variety of entry points to engage civil society with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to  become  informed  supporters  of  the  United  Nations.  We  educate  through  consultations,  forums, special initiatives, and an array of activities to address the inter-generational interest of our membership base.  Are we on track to secure a better world? Read the UN75 Report. 

Project RMR - Broadband and SDGs.pdf