Johannesburg, February 10, 2024 – Impact Amplifier, a leading organization dedicated to social impact, in collaboration with Google.org, announced the launch of the African Online Safety Platform (AOSP). The platform, accessible at www.africaonlinesafety.com, aims to address critical challenges facing online safety across Africa.
The African internet landscape faces numerous obstacles, ranging from the absence of a centralized repository for online safety research to limited educational resources on mitigating online risks. Moreover, the lack of efficient legal and social media support systems and underfunding further exacerbate the situation.
The AOSP emerges as a comprehensive solution, offering a diverse array of resources. It serves as a hub for research, educational content, funding opportunities, and avenues for seeking assistance in the aftermath of online crimes. By consolidating vital information and support mechanisms, the platform endeavors to enhance online safety awareness and response capabilities.
To mark the Annual Safer Internet Day (Tuesday, 6 Feb 2024), Impact Amplifier launched the Africa Online Safety Platform with support by Google.org. Panelists, who are also beneficiaries of Africa Online Safety Fund, took part. From (L-R) Craig Rosewarne, Managing Director, Wolfpack Information Risk, Dr Camaren Peter, Executive Head, Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change, Martha Sunda, Executive Director, Childline Kenya, Dennis Ratemo, Kenya Country Programme Manager, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, and panel moderator, Tanner Methvin, Director, Impact Amplifier.
In a panel discussion held at the launch event, Impact Amplifier’s grantees shed light on the nuanced challenges and innovative solutions in the realm of online safety. Participants from South Africa, including Craig Rosewarne, Managing Director of Wolfpack Information Risk, and Camaren Peter, Director of the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC), joined counterparts from Kenya, including Dennis Ratemo, Programme Manager at Terre des Hommes, and Martha Sunda, Executive Director of Childline Kenya. Their insights underscored the imperative of contextually tailored approaches to safeguarding online spaces in Africa.
Dr. Alistair Mokoena, Country Director of Google SA, reiterated Google.org’s commitment to supporting Africa’s online safety ecosystem. He emphasized the importance of sustained collaboration to protect vulnerable populations from online harms while leveraging the internet’s transformative potential. Mokoena encouraged stakeholders to utilize the platform’s resources and apply for funding opportunities to drive impactful initiatives.
Tanner Methvin, Director of Impact Amplifier, highlighted the significance of addressing online safety concerns amidst Africa’s growing digital connectivity. He emphasized the platform’s role in offering innovative solutions, including combating misinformation, tracking cybercriminals, supporting targeted journalists, and integrating online safety education into school curricula.
With over 570 million Africans having internet access, comprising nearly half the continent’s population, online safety emerges as a pressing priority. The launch of the AOSP signifies a concerted effort to tackle this challenge comprehensively and proactively.
As online interactions continue to shape various facets of African societies, initiatives like the AOSP play a pivotal role in fostering a safer and more inclusive digital environment. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and awareness, the platform endeavors to empower individuals and communities to navigate the online landscape securely.
The launch of the African Online Safety Platform marks a significant step towards addressing the multifaceted challenges of online safety in Africa, signaling a collective commitment to harnessing technology for the greater good.