Google has announced a number of initiatives across Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to bolster its continued efforts to keep children, young people, and families safe online.
In a statement released on Tuesday by Juliet Ehimuan, the tech giant’s country director, Google said it has teamed up with some organisations across the continent to boost efforts and develop programmes around online safety.
To mark the 2021 Safer Internet Day, Google also offered free online safety books and government collaborations.
“With an estimated 346 million internet users that came online for the first time in 2020 and 376 million new social media users, there is no better time for us to help people stay safe online,” the US firm stated.
“We are working with nonprofits and social enterprises to advance their work through Google.org’s Africa Online Safety Fund.
“We’re also working with educational institutions and governments across sub-Saharan Africa in order to have a greater impact.”
In administering its Africa Online Safety Fund, Google said it gave a grant to Impact Amplifier and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue to run a call across the continent to find innovative non-profit organisations operating in Africa.
“26 organisations across 9 African countries were selected to get grants of up to $100,000 each. The five selected in Nigeria include Epower, LagosMums, Velma Foundation, Hive Creative Guild and Teens Can Code,” it added.
“This funding will be used to boost projects that work to combat online vulnerabilities, disinformation and extremism aimed at children, the youth, families, schools and small and medium-sized businesses.”
Google also collaborated with Nomthi Odukoya, a Nigerian author, to create ‘How to be Safe Online’, a book for kids.
It said that physical copies of the book would be distributed to 30,000 learners in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa this month. The US tech giant added that the book has also been made available online on the Read-Along app.
“With more children, young people and families increasingly using the internet to learn and work in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, online safety is a priority for everyone,” it said.
“We look forward to the continued empowerment of teachers, parents and guardians with tools to keep children safe online.
“We continued collaboration with government bodies like Kenya’s Communications Authority, Nigeria’s Public and Private Development Centre, and South Africa’s Department of Social Development to make the internet better.”