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Google boosts safety of Internet users with Africa programmes

By Adeyemi Adepetun
10 February 2021   |   2:57 am
Google has announced new initiatives in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa to keep children, youths and families safe online.

Unveils new plans for Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa

Google has announced new initiatives in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa to keep children, youths and families safe online.

Aligning with the theme of this year’s global Safer Internet Day: Together For Better Internet, it partnered several organisations on the African continent to boost efforts and develop education programmes around online safety.

In s statement yesterday, Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan, said: “With an estimated 346 million Internet users that came online for the first time last year and 376 million new social media users, there is no better time for us to help people stay safe online.

“We are working with nonprofits and social enterprises to advance their work through Google.org’s Africa Online Safety Fund, while also working with educational institutions and governments in sub-Saharan Africa to have a greater impact.”

As part of the Africa Online Safety Fund, Google.org gave a grant to Impact Amplifier and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, to run an open call across the continent to find the most innovative and impactful nonprofit organisations operating in this space.

It explained that 26 social impact organisations in nine African countries have been selected to receive grants of up to $100,000 each, including five in Nigeria: Epower, LagosMums, Velma Foundation, Hive Creative Guild and Teens Can Code.

She explained that the funding would be used to boost projects that work to combat online vulnerabilities, disinformation and extremism targeted at children, youths, families, schools and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Google has also collaborated with Nigerian author, Nomthi Odukoya to create children’s online safety book: How to be Safe Online, while hard copies would be distributed to 30,000 learners in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa this month, and also online on the Read-Along app.

“With more children, young people and families increasingly using the Internet to learn and work during the COVID-19 pandemic, online safety is a priority for everyone,” Ehimuan said.

She added that Google looked forward to continued empowerment of teachers, parents and guardians with tools to keep children safe online.

“Continued collaboration with government agencies like Kenya’s Communications Authority, Nigeria’s Public and Private Development Centre and South Africa’s Department of Social Development, among others, will ensure that we have the necessary backing to make the Internet better for all users, especially children and families in Africa,” she stated.