Google Sets Aside $1m Pan-African Fund to Support Online Safety

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Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde

By Emma Okonji

Google has announced the launch of $1 million pan-African Google.org fund to support innovative ideas around privacy, trust and safety of families online across sub-Saharan Africa.

Google made the announcement during the 16th annual Safer Internet Day celebration, which held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The fund would be used to support initiatives across sub-Saharan Africa and would be administered by a trusted partner. Details of how to apply, deadlines and criteria would be made available in due course, according to Google.

Announcing the initiative, the Head of Brand and Reputation at Google Africa, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, said, “Google is committed to a safe internet for children, as well as the empowerment of organisations who share this commitment. “The fund will be administered by a third-party partner on behalf of Google.org, and we will be sharing details on application criteria and deadlines soon.”

Google also announced ‘Be Internet Awesome’, its landmark child online safety programme, in the Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, with plans to announce same initiative in Kenya today. Be Internet Awesome seeks to help minors explore the internet safely and confidently.

“We are excited to strengthen the work we have been doing with parents and children in the field of online safety in Nigeria. In addition to Family Link, which allows parents to help their families develop healthy digital habits, we also launched Password Checkup exactly one year ago to empower users to check and strengthen online security settings for their Google Accounts,” Aderemi-Makinde said.

The ‘Be Internet Awesome’ initiative teaches kids important skills for surfing the internet, like how to recognise potential online scams, using the internet securely and safeguarding valuable information, how to identify and refrain from cyberbullying, as well as what to do when encountering questionable content on the internet.

Policy and Government Relations Manager, Google Nigeria, Seember Nyager, said: “Beyond our own products, we also want to help kids learn how to be safer, more confident explorers of the online world. We now joined with the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to hold Safer Internet Day events in 36 States towards empowering teachers, parents and younger children to better understand and navigate the Web with confidence.”

CEO, PPDC, Nkemdilim Ilo, said: “Safer Internet Day brings schools, parents, teachers and industry together to make sure children have the power, information and resilience they need to make safe and informed choices online.

“This year, we are particularly pleased that with the support of Google and the Government we have been able to infuse online safety courses into the Nigerian school curriculum.

“This will teach children the practical and emotional skills they need as they navigate their way through the digital world.”
The Director General, National Orientation Agency, Dr. Garba Abari, said: “Safer Internet Day provides a great opportunity to promote internet safety across a range of audiences and is an event which we strongly support.

“We are really glad to be collaborating with Google and our reliable partners, PPDC, to launch ‘The Digital Parenting Initiative’ a program aimed at educating guardians, teachers and families on online tools that bring families together to learn, have fun and be safe online.”