A very warm welcome to yet another issue of the African Observatory Newsletter!
We are delighted to share with you all that we have been working on here at the African Observatory.
For the past couple of months, our website has been undergoing a revamp and we are excited to finally share with you the new features and what lies ahead. We hope these add-ons will be useful as we continue to carve out the journey toward responsible African AI.
As always, we would also like to share some opportunities from our networks and from our sister project, the Global Index on Responsible AI.
Grab your cup of coffee and enjoy the read!
The African Observatory on Responsible AI Team
NEW FEATURES ON THE AFRICAN OBSERVATORY WEBSITE
One of the central aims of the African Observatory on Responsible AI is to be an open space of engagement, collaboration, and critical inquiry on AI in diverse African societies. The Observatory aims to enhance positive impacts and mitigate the negative effects of AI through rigorous research, network facilitation, policy capacity building, and public engagement. Through this work, we seek to advance policies and practices that support diverse African societies to safely and fairly (responsibly) harness the benefits of AI in realization of Africa’s development goals.
As such, the African Observatory website reflects this agenda through the following new features:
The Observatory’s Policy & Governance Map is a key resource for achieving the Observatory’s main goals in two main ways:
1. Supporting knowledge exchange and peer-learning amongst African AI policymakers and advisors. This includes making it easier to benchmark law and policy with neighbouring countries, as well as showcasing unique or novel policy approaches that could be adapted to local contexts.
2. Providing African academics and researchers with a resource to easily find and access AI-relevant policy and legislation with the intention to support comparative policy analysis and tracking of AI policy trends.
The website also showcases the projects that we are working on at the Observatory that aims to break new ground on how AI is developed, used, and governed on the African continent, and globally. Some of the projects include the Global Index on Responsible AI, and our research collaborations with partners around the continent working on research projects such as; Social Justice Considerations in Developing and Deploying AI in Africa, and AI Localism and Governance in Africa.
Lastly, the website has staged our socials that feature our past newsletter issues, events, blogs, opportunities, and some policy and governance features that showcase examples from the policy map that have just gone live!
Take a moment to check out our new website here. Explore, interact, share your thoughts and comments with us on our social media handles, and join us on the 30th of August 2023 as we launch the website and policy map and delve deeper into these new add-ons. Register for the launch here.
NETWORKING, SOCIAL & OPPORTUNITIES
UNESCO: Consultant AI and the Rule of Law (CI/DIT)
UNESCO recognizes that judicial operators are a key pillar in upholding the rule of law, strengthening democracy, and protecting fundamental freedoms. The need for human and institutional capacity-building tools for judicial operators worldwide builds upon the assessed needs of the target beneficiaries. Judicial systems worldwide are increasingly using AI, such as to: Analyse large amounts of legal data to help lawyers identify precedents in case law; enable administrations in streamlining judicial processes; and Support judges with predictions on complex issues including sentence duration and recidivism scores
As such, UNESCO is recruiting an AI and the Rule of Law consultant to assist in the capacity-building needs of judicial operators.
The application deadline is 27 August 2023.
Read more about this opportunity here.
Call for Proposals: CYRILLA Digital Rights Advocacy Initiatives Grants
CYRILLA is an open database of digital rights law from around the world, developed & maintained by the CYRILLA Collaborative, a global initiative that seeks to map & analyze the evolution & impacts of legal frameworks on digital environments particularly in the Global South.
The Collaborative seeks to award four grants for advocacy-oriented initiatives particularly those that aim to highlight and influence digital rights policies which impact marginalized communities in the following regions: Latin America, Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia (East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia).
The grants are limited to non-profit non-governmental organizations that demonstrate a tangible presence in the target region and active engagement in activities around digital rights policy and advocacy.
Digital rights organizations, human rights organizations, civil society organizations, and advocacy groups are invited to submit proposals.
Researchers based in South Africa are encouraged to apply here.
Read more on the call for grant proposals here.
Call for Country Researchers: Global Index on Responsible AI
The Global Index on Responsible AI has opened applications for country researchers to form the global task team for primary data collection.
The Global Index on Responsible AI, a rights-based tool that has been established to provide inclusive and measurable indicators to track the implementation of responsible AI principles by governments and stakeholders in more than 120 countries. This evidence-based benchmarking will enable government and community leaders to develop and strengthen national initiatives, fostering responsible AI use and monitoring progress over time.
The deadline for completed applications is 18 August 2023.
Researchers from all over the world are welcome to apply. Researchers will work with leading research institutions around the world that will be supporting data collection at a regional level.
Read more on the country researcher qualification and application process here.
Call for proposals: Mozilla Africa Innovation Mradi Research Grants
Mozilla has opened applications for Africa Innovation Mradi Research Grants, which will aim to support organizations and individuals studying the impact of AI on the communities they work with in Eastern and Southern Africa. These grants will examine AI's impact on human rights, economic justice, racial justice, community justice, gender justice, disability justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and environmental justice.
Applicants do not need to be experts in technology, internet governance, or digital rights but should have some experience in sharing research whether through journals, blogs, newspapers, or websites.
Mozilla seeks to support up to six projects with grants from $5,000 to $10,000. The deadline for completed applications is 14 August 2023.
Read more on the application process here.
LDRI Gender Data Regional Open Call for Researchers; South Africa
LDRI in partnership with Data2X is conducting a study on the political will for gender data in Africa and currently looking for a potential country-based researcher to conduct the South Africa component. The project believes that gender data is critical to achieving gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Researchers based in South Africa are encouraged to apply here.
Our Social Media Handles
Have Something to Share?
This year we plan to send out mailers to our network on a more frequent basis. Please do get in contact with us via email should you have any ideas for collaboration with us, or if you have any blog posts you would like us to promote through our platform. We are also interested in any events, opportunities, research or research projects you would like for us to share within our growing African Network on Responsible AI.