The battle for online safety in Africa may just been on the way to be won following the funding support from South African social impact advisory firm Impact Amplifier and Google.org and the UK-based ISD in the Africa Online Safety Fund, worth a US$1 million.
The initiative seeks innovative solutions to online safety challenges.
Over 500 million people have access to the internet in Africa, and while the huge increase in internet, smartphone and mobile network usage has created many new opportunities for socio-economic development on the continent, it has also led to a range of safety concerns.
These include identity theft, bullying and harassment, sex trafficking, hate crimes, terrorist recruitment and promotion, misinformation and disinformation, and financial scams. The Africa Online Safety Fund has been established to support innovative existing and new solutions to these challenges.
The Africa Online Safety Fund, which is a US$1 million commitment, will be awarding grants to organisations that address one or more of the safety issues the internet facilitates. While not exclusively focused, it will be favouring solutions that address women and children’s online safety specifically, as they are the most targeted communities in this regard.
There are two categories of funding – Transformative and Catalytic. The former are intended to be larger in scale, reach multiple geographies and potentially large numbers of beneficiaries, and be scalable. Transformative grants will be up to a maximum of US$100,000.
Catalytic projects,meanwhile, are intended to be smaller, targeted, and potentially only locally or culturally specific. These grants will be up to a maximum of US$10,000.
Applicants can be public benefit organisations, private or from the public sector. The Fund is open to organisations throughout Africa, but is prioritising Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast.
The first phase of the application process is open here until August 21, with shortlisted applicants announced by September 7. The finalists will be selected by October 8.