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Africa Online Safety Fund announces grant winners

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 09 Nov 2023
Five South African firms have received grant funding from Google’s Africa Online Safety Fund.
Five South African firms have received grant funding from Google’s Africa Online Safety Fund.

Impact Amplifier has named 22 African organisations as recipients of the Africa Online Safety Fund (AOSF), with five South African organisations among this year’s winners.

The South African ASOF grant awardees are the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change, City of Johannesburg Library and Information Services, Global Leading Light Initiatives, Media Monitoring Africa and Wolfpack Information Risk.

Created in 2020, ASOF aims to support innovative ideas around privacy, trust and safety for families online across Sub-Saharan Africa. It is administered by social impact-focused acceleratorImpact Amplifier, on behalf of Google.org.

The fund awards grants to organisations that address one or more of the internet’s safety issues, with a particular focus on South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. It is worth $1 million (R18.4 million).

According to a statement, this year’s edition attracted over 350 applications from across the continent, with 40 entries making it through to the final selection process.

Although the winning organisations reflect seven countries, their internet safety interventions span across 15 African countries in total, it states.

The other winning organisations were four each for Kenya and Ghana. Nigeria, with six winning grantees, had the highest number of awards. Cameroon, Somalia and Zimbabwe each had one winner.

Each of the eventual winners will receive grants ranging from $10 000 to $50 000 (R185 000 to R925 233).

Impact Amplifier director Tanner Methvin comments: “With over 500 million people having access to the internet in Africa, reflecting just under 40% of the continent’s population, online safety issues are of critical concern.

“The winning innovative solutions range from unique ways of combating misinformation and disinformation, establishing investigative teams to track cyber criminals, supporting journalists targeted with hate speech and bullying, integrating online safety training into school curriculums, and much more.”

Social impact-focused accelerator Impact Amplifier also announced plans to develop the “first” Africa-focused online safety research, education and support platform.

The new platform, which is expected to launch in February 2024, has been undertaken with support from Google.org.

Part of developing this ecosystem involves centralising some of the key tools needed for support, notes Impact Amplifier.

The online platform will aggregate all the research on online safety in Africa, making this key knowledge available to policy-makers, civil society, academics, business and the general public. Additionally, it will host education materials to teach children and adults how to protect themselves online.

“This content will include curriculum, testing materials, evaluation tools and general awareness content, enabling anyone interested in learning how to protect themselves or others with easy access to all the content they need. The platform will centralise all the ways people can seek support, no matter where they are in Africa.”

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