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Wezesha Among the Winners for the Africa Online Safety Fund

Internet access in Africa has steadily increased, reaching about 40% of the population in the continent. The use of smartphones, network coverage, mobile money subscribers and mobile ownership has also greatly increased.

This tremendous increase in internet, smartphone and mobile network usage has created new opportunities for socio-economic development in Africa. However, this rapid growth rate has created safety concerns, including:

  • Identify theft
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Sex trafficking
  • Hate crimes
  • Terrorist recruitment and promotion
  • Misinformation
  • Financial scams

To find a lasting solution and address these issues, Impact Amplifier created the Africa Online Safety Fund. The Fund was created with financial support from Google and domain expertise from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue to finance innovative existing and new solutions to these challenges.

Below is a list of the winning projects, which received up to Ksh. 10.97 million ($100,000)

1. ChildFund International – Kenya

‍The project works by taking an ecosystem approach. This includes national research, community, school and media based training, and policy development to prevent online sex trafficking. ‍

2. Dream Factory Foundation – South Africa

Combining online educational programs through edutainment and train-the-trainer workshops with telehealth counselling services for young people, teachers and parents.‍

3. Epuka Ugaidi – Kenya

This project suggested building a platform to channel youth creativity (short-films, poetry and music) through workshops. Training and an annual competitions as a mechanism to counter recruitment by violent extremists.

4. Hive Creative Guild – Nigeria

Creating a large scale marketing platform, which gamifies online safety information and rewards participants with a variety of goods and services.

5. Save the Children International, Senegal Country office – Senegal

Facilitating both an awareness campaign and coordinating efforts between the media, child protective services, police and security forces to prevent online sexual abuse and exploitation.

6. Teens Can Code – Nigeria

Including online safety education into the coding curriculum for young adults and creating a peer to peer helpline to prevent and support victims of cybercrimes.

7. The Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change – South Africa

Drawing on advanced social media analytics, academic research and subject experts, to develop and widely disseminate content that;

  • Mitigates against the spread of COVID-19, counters misinformation about the pandemic.
  • Exposes and disrupts narrative manipulation networks that promote hate and sow division.

8. University of Gondar – Ethiopia

Focusing on female high school students, this project will create online safety teaching materials, train teachers to deliver it and introduce these materials into the high school curriculum.

9. Action et Humanisme – Côte D’Ivoire

Developing an initiative that will equip female sales people, entrepreneurs, civil servants, and young people with the digital financial security skills needed to keep them safe.

10. Aydia Technology Consultants – Uganda

Providing digital skills and online safety and security training to female politicians and reporters to both promote digital inclusion and protect this uniquely vulnerable group.

11. EndCode – South Africa

Creating a framework and guidelines for defining age-appropriate online services. The intention is to both inform regulations and online content creators in the country.

12. Epower – Nigeria

Developing an interactive gaming application to train children on good online etiquette, safety and how to deal with cyberbullying.

13. Fundanii – South Africa

Training teachers and students, and integrating online safety into the digital literacy curriculum of a primary school district.

14. Global Leading Light Initiatives – South Africa

Facilitating student-driven and culturally inclusive internet safety education and awareness activities to empower young people, teachers and parents in low-income communities. This knowledge will help them to protect themselves from cyber-bullying, harassment and hate speech.

15. Iceaddis – Ethiopia

Building an educational how-to-guide on healthy internet habits and social media literacy. The focus is on developing critical thinking skills and the ethically-reflective use of social media to combat hate speech.

16. LagosMums – Nigeria

Promoting online safety and digital well-being through training, resource development and short courses for parents, teachers and children.

17. Lonamac – Kenya

Introducing income generating programs and activities for low-income youth as a mechanism to counteract terrorist recruitment efforts targeting these youth.

18. Media Monitoring Africa – South Africa

Creating and distributing educational online comic strips as a means to teach children how to critically decipher information and discern between credible news and disinformation.

19. Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub – Malawi

Training two specific underserved communities: tech companies on customer privacy rights and the prevention of financial scams; and women led organisation regarding online safety issues.

20. PAJAN Kenya – Kenya

Establishing a communication platform where community members, public sector and civil society have access to education resources on how to check facts and identify fake news as a mechanism to prevent extremist groups from successfully recruit new members.

21. Read Nigeria Book Reading Club – Nigeria

Educating primary and high school students about online safety through a series of online quizzes and essay competitions. Additionally, offering offline education for schools and parents.

22. SheHacks Kenya – Kenya

A platform that uses interactive role playing to teach students and educators on the risks associated with internet usage and how to mitigate them.

23. Sote Information and Communication Technology – Kenya

Providing physical and online trainings to high school students, parents and teachers that addresses a broad range of online safety issues.

24. Tanzania Trans Initiative – Tanzania

Facilitating both a radio show and workshops that target the online safety issues that affect women and girls.

25. Velma Foundation – Nigeria

Establishing a rehabilitation program and ICT hub for juvenile cybercrime offenders designed to both support offenders. The program will also educate government criminal activity, companies software vulnerabilities and online safety education for young people.

26. Winam Wezesha Accelerator – Kenya

Creating a community based approach to educational programs, which focus on hate crimes, disinformation and digital literacy for women and children.