Impact Amplifier, with the financial support of Google.org, on Thursday launched its African Online Safety Platform (AOSP), which provides a rich repository of research, education content, funding opportunities and ways to seek help after an online crime.
The Platform also is an Africa-wide project and part of Impact Amplifier’s broader intention to address African Online Safety at a systemic level.
The African internet safety ecosystem is hindered by several issues, key among them is the lack of a central repository of all the online safety research that has been conducted on a broad spectrum of issues in Africa; lack of a central repository for education material for the plethora of online safety challenges relevant for African users; the absence of legal and social media platform support systems that are less complex and time consuming; and underfunding of the needed interventions.
The AOSP has been built to address all these challenges. The platform provides a rich repository of research, education content, funding opportunities and ways to seek help if an online crime has occurred.
The site is intended to address the complexity of understanding what online safety issues are affecting different parts of Africa, how to keep everyone and particularly young people safe online, how to teach online safety formally in schools and at home, funding opportunities for safety innovators, and how to get help if a crime or other violation has occurred.
The event also included a panel discussion with several of Impact Amplifier’s grantees which are part of its ecosystem solution. These panellists reflected online safety innovators from South Africa and Kenya who discussed some of the complexities and solutions to staying safe online in Africa.
The panellists from South Africa were Craig Rosewarne, Managing Director Wolfpack Information Risk and Camaren Peter, Director/Executive Lead, Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC). Those from Kenya were Dennis Ratemo, Programme Manager, Terre des Hommes and Martha Sunda, Executive Director, Childline Kenya. Their discussions underscored the importance of solutions that were suited to local contexts in Africa.
Google SA Country Director, Dr Alistair Mokoena said: “We first partnered with Impact Amplifier in 2020, when we announced the initial fund. We have now launched version 2.0 to show that we remain committed to providing sustained and dedicated support to the online safety ecosystem in Africa, in order to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected from online harms and reap the benefits of the internet. We encourage the relevant parties to use this amazing new education and research resource and to apply to the fund.”
Speaking at the event, Impact Amplifier Director, Tanner Methvin said: “With over 570 million people having access to the internet in Africa, reflecting just under 47 per cent of the continent’s population, online safety concerns deserve utmost attention.”
The new platform, Methvin added, “offers innovative approaches to addressing the complex safety issues the internet presents. These range from unique ways of combating mis and disinformation, tracking of cyber criminals, supporting journalists targeted with hate speech and bullying, integrating online safety training into school curriculums, and much more,” he concluded.
L-R: Tanner Methvin (Impact Amplifier Director), Dr AlistairnMokoena (Google South Africa Country Director) and Dennis Ratemo (Terre des Hommes Netherlands) at the Africa Online Safety Platform launch in Johannesburg.