Penplusbytes, a civic tech organization working to counter misinformation and disinformation in Ghana over the past 5years, has emerged as one of the 22 winners of the 2023 Africa Online Safety Fund (AOSF) grant aimed at addressing the complex safety issues the internet poses to users especially young people.
Penplusbytes, under this grant, will implement the GamifyMIL4Kids project – an educational gaming platform that seeks to empower schools children aged 9 to 17 years to identify, expose, and curb the harms of misinformation and disinformation in today’s digital space.
According to Jerry Sam, Executive Director of Penplusbytes, the project seeks to empower and equip school children with knowledge and skills using the concept of learning by playing, to help parents and caregivers understand the dangers their children face while exploring the digital space, and to offer teachers a user-friendly means of educating their students about dis/misinformation.
He continued by saying that the Africa Online Safety Fund grant will help Penplusbytes double its efforts in the media and information literacy space and truly leave no one behind in the efforts to curb the disinformation menace.
“Disinformation has become a significant challenge in today’s digital age, spreading rapidly through social media platforms and other online channels. It has the potential to cause harm, undermine trust in institutions, and hinder the formation of informed opinions. Using the GamifyMIL4Kids project, we are tackling this issue at its root, providing a proactive prebunking solution to combat dis/misinformation,” he said.
With over 350 applications received in the 2023 cohort, only 40 entries made it for the final selection process and 22 emerged as winners. Each of the eventual winners will receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
AOSF is an initiative founded by Impact Amplifier, supported by Google.org. The initiative is dedicated to nurturing innovative solutions for the complex safety challenges posed by the internet.
The Africa Online Safety Fund (AOSF) offers grants to organizations throughout Africa that address one or more of the safety issues the internet facilitates. It is, however, focused on four primary countries: Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa, in this funding round.
The other winning organizations under the 2023 Cohort of the grant from Ghana are: Ghana Internet Safety Foundation, iWatch Africa, and My Power App.
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in the following key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, climate and well-being, and enhancing oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.