22 digital watchdog projects have been selected by innovateAFRICA fund for $1 million in seed grants and technology support.
The projects will tackle issues as diverse as fake news and frontline war reporting, as well as new and creative ways for watchdog media to use bots, drones, and sensors to improve their reportage.
According to innovateAFRICA founder, Justin Arenstein, the projects, which include both digital journalism and civic technology ideas, were selected from 736 applications from across 49 African countries.
Each proposal was vetted through an intensive two-month technical review process that was rounded up this week. A final evaluation of the 73 strongest ideas will be done by an independent jury of international experts.
“We’ve selected some of the brightest innovators in this space to experiment with leapfrog technologies, but the real focus is to help teams build real-world solutions to real-world problems that can immediately be adopted and scaled by mainstream media companies and civil society,” explains Arenstein.
Before receiving seed grants of between $12,500 and $100,000 each along with engineering support from Code for Africa’s civic technology labs across the continent, the 22 projects will spend the next month refining their implementation plans and budgets.
“The world is facing challenging political and socio-economic realities,” said juror and Omidyar Networks director of investments for Africa, Ory Okolloh.
“We need the media and other civic watchdogs to provide the checks and balances needed to help us navigate an uncertain future.
“It has therefore been fantastic to see not just the superb quality and range of entries, but also the diversity of ideas and collaboration that innovateAFRICA has fostered across the region.”
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