Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org Thursday announced its $1 million pan-African fund to support innovative ideas around privacy, trust and the safety of families online across sub-Saharan Africa.
The program has also been launched in Nigeria, and South Africa as part of the 16th annual Safer Internet Day celebrations which was marked on Tuesday 11 February 2020 globally.
It began as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004, now celebrated in approximately 150 countries worldwide.
“The need for collective efforts by all stakeholders to safeguard our young people online can not be gainsaid. Initiatives such as this, and the Google Be Internet Awesome program and website we are set to launch today, will go a long way in making the Internet a safer place for our children”, said Mercy Wanjau, Acting Director-General, Communications Authority of Kenya.
Be Internet Awesome teaches kids important skills for surfing the internet, like how to recognise potential online scams, using the internet securely and safeguarding valuable information.
It focuses on five key lessons to help kids navigate the online world with confidence:
- Be Internet Smart: Share with care
- Be Internet Alert: Don’t fall for fake
- Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets
- Be Internet Kind: It’s cool to be kind
- Be Internet Brave: When in doubt, talk it out
Charles Murito, Country Director for Google Kenya says: “The fund will be administered by a third-party partner, on behalf of Google.org.”
“That’s why we are launching a pan-African 1,000,000 USD fund to support innovative project ideas by nonprofits and social enterprises around digital literacy and online safety of children, young people, and families.”
In August 2019, Google began collaborations with local NGOs and stakeholders to run face to face online safety training reaching 36,000 students, parents and teachers, and helping children learn how to be safer online.
The World Economic Forum report, states that more than 50 percent of the world’s children experience violence every year. Mobile use is rising as well as internet access in Africa. This has seen a freer expression of opinions on different subjects out there.
Children are more than 30 percent of Internet users. By 2022, another 1.2 billion new users will have been added to this figure, with children being the fastest-growing online demographic.