The Africa Online Safety Fund will be awarding grants to organisations that address one or more of the safety issues the internet facilitates.
Over 500 million people have access to the internet in Africa; and although this reflects just under 40% of the population, this level of penetration is 110 times what it was just 20 years ago.Â Not only has internet access increased dramatically, but so has smartphone usage, with ownership now at 250 million people.
This exponential increase in internet, smartphone and mobile network usage has created extraordinary new opportunities for socio-economic development on the African continent. However, this rapid growth rate has simultaneously created a range of safety concerns, including:
- Identify theft
- Bullying and harassment
- Sex trafficking
- Hate crimes
- Terrorist recruitment and promotion
- Mis or disinformation
- Financial scams
To address these issues, the Africa Online Safety Fund, with support from Google.org, has been established to support innovative existing and new solutions to these challenges. While not exclusively focused, the Fund will be favouring solutions, which address women and childrenâ€™s online safety specifically, as they are the most targeted communities in this regard.
- Applicants can be public benefit organisations, private or from the public sector. No individual applicants will be considered.
- The Fund is open to organisations throughout Africa, but is prioritising Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast.
- Only completed applications will be considered.
There are two categories of funding: Transformative and Catalytic. A $1,000,000 commitmentÂ has been made to address online safety issues in Africa.
- The Transformative projects are intended to be larger in scale, reach multiple geographies and or potentially large numbers of beneficiaries, and be scalable as a solution. The Transformative grants will be a maximum of $100,000.
- The Catalytic projects are intended to be smaller, targeted, and potentially only locally or culturally specific. The Catalytic Grants will be a maximum of $10,000.
How to Apply
The first phase of the application process is open from July 17 to August 21, 2020. The shortlisted applicants will be announced by September 7. The finalists will be selected by October 8, 2020.