The Africa Innovation Mradi Research Grants aim to support research led by social justice communities looking at the intersections between AI and social justice in Southern and Eastern Africa. This could be an in depth look at AI in relation to human rights, economic justice, racial justice, community justice, gender justice, disability justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, or environmental justice.
With the use of artificial intelligence becoming more pervasive worldwide, Mozilla is concerned with how people will be both positively and negatively impacted. They believe that who develops AI and how AI is being deployed is of particular importance to social justice, but they also realize that people working for different social causes don’t necessarily see their concerns reflected in initiatives by Mozilla or other technology or digital policy organizations.
So how does AI currently surface as an area of interest or concern in different communities?
Through the Africa Innovation Mradi Research Grants, Mozilla aims to support research led by communities committed to social justice that will identify and analyze the intersections between AI and their respective priorities in Southern and Eastern Africa. This could be an in depth look at AI in relation to human rights, economic justice, racial justice, community justice, gender justice, disability justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, environmental justice, or another issue of your choosing. Tell which intersection you will study and why. You do not need to be an expert on technology, internet governance, or digital rights to apply.
- At least six research grants, that will range from $5,000 to $10,000 USD, will be made.
- Awardees will join a cohort of researchers from Eastern or Southern Africa whose work is focused on understanding the impact of AI in different communities. The research should be carried out and finalized during the 3 month grant period, which we expect to be from October 2023 to January 2024.
In addition to funding, they also offer the following support and resources to Awardees:
- Expert/Mentorship Support: Awardees will have access to Mozilla Fellows and other experts in Mozilla’s network with relevant subject matter expertise, including Mozilla’s Insights team, who may serve as advisors or mentors.
- Cohort and Individual Support: Awardees will convene virtually as a cohort for group working and feedback sessions, peer-to-peer support, and/or workshops; and meet 1:1 with Mozilla staff for additional support.
- Community: Mozilla helps to facilitate connections for Awardees with like-minded leaders, partner organizations, alumni, and Mozilla staff.
- Showcasing Work: Mozilla holds an annual festival called MozFest which brings together artists, activists, thinkers, and builders working from around the world who are all working towards a healthier internet. This event provides a place and an opportunity to convene, facilitate or curate in a way that helps fellows and awardees raise the issues that are most pressing for them and their communities.
- Communication Support: Mozilla’s Communications and Marketing Team provides a range of supports for Awardees, including developing tailored communication strategies for each project, pitching to local and international media outlets, crafting social media campaigns, and sharing with Mozilla’s website audience and email list.
- Be individuals, networks, and/or not for profit organizations that are based in Africa.
- Be legally able to receive funds in the form of grants from the Mozilla Foundation, a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
- Be focused on research related to social justice and AI, and/or digital technology in Africa.
Grantees will be selected based on a review of applications by Mozilla’s Africa Innovation Mradi and Insights (research) teams.
The criteria for reviewing applications will consider the following:
- Geographic location and work focus of applicants.
- Applicant experience or collaboration with a partner with the experience of producing AI and digital technology research in Africa.
- Applicant familiarity with national or regional contexts, clear articulation of social justice issue, and selected research priority.
- Clearly specified social group or community of focus and a plan of engagement with them around the selected issue.
- Clearly defined methodology and impact, research plan, and budget.
Only those projects that meet the grant criteria for this funding opportunity will be reviewed. All proposed grant decisions are subject to a legal review to confirm the applicant’s eligibility.