ADVOCACY group Niyel is excited to launch a Call for Proposals (CFP) into cross-country collaboration initiatives on behalf of the Africa Data Governance Opportunity Fund. The Fund will consider providing grants for up to five projects ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 over an implementation period of a maximum of two years.
The CFP is addressed to organizations seeking to explore collaboration opportunities in research, advocacy, and developing an evidence-based approach to important issues regarding the continent’s data governance policies.
‘Niyel established the African Data Governance Opportunity Fund to support such organisations, with the Fund offering the resources in order to prioritise cross-country/regional initiatives; focus on evidence for policy change and advocacy, and stimulate collaboration between research and advocacy institutions.
Specifically, what is on offer to the successful CFP proposal is funding, institutional support, and access to Niyel’s network. Among other outcomes, this will strengthen participating data governance organizations’ ability to engage with national and regional policymakers at the level of Regional Economic Communities and the African Union.
Applications are open from May 23, 2022, and close on June 30, at 23h59 (GMT). The online application form is available here. Submissions can be submitted in English or French, with only those submitted via the online application form being considered. Thereafter, notification of shortlisted organizations and invitation to prepare a full proposal will take place on August 12, with a deadline for submission of full proposals being September 10.
Lolo Cynthia Ihesie, Advocacy Officer at Niyel, amplifies the assessment process: ‘All applications will go through an administrative review to establish eligibility. Thereafter, the applications will undergo a preliminary shortlisting assessment. An assessing body will be composed of five individuals with proven expertise in the field from civil society, think tanks/ research institutions, policymaking, and philanthropy. At this time, applicants will be notified individually and informed whether or not their applications have been shortlisted.’
The awards will be finalised at end-September, with the actual date to be announced in due course.
Lolo Ihesie offers some examples of types of research that are urgently required in Africa: ‘They would embrace the prevention of data misuse, whether by private companies, or governments; the harnessing of current eagerness to create open data government portals while also mitigating the risks they can present, such as the potential politicization of data. Research could also look at the creation of guidelines that ensure balanced data governance and accountability of how data is collected, used, and shared.
‘Finally, the fund wishes to develop research that demonstrates the social, economic, and/or political outcomes of open data in a country or across regions in order to enable African governments to make evidence-informed decisions.’
Advisory board member, Ashnah Kalemera, added: ‘The Opportunity Fund is a welcome addition to existing efforts working to advance data governance in Africa. I am honoured to have been part of the process that established the fund and look forward to learning and exchanging with beneficiaries.’
According to fellow advisory board member Adedeji Adeniran, ‘If data is the new oil, data governance is that tool to exploit the useful information and digital products for human development. Next to that is an effective collaboration among actors to move digital development from ideas to action.’
The CFP process stems from a rapid assessment Niyel undertook in 2021 of the data governance landscape. This revealed the limited extent of collaborative work between organizations across regions, languages, and issues. “It identified an inability for organizations in the field to take advantage of advocacy opportunities that may fall outside their traditional funding. Data governance organizations were found to mostly work in silos and rarely cross-learn or do joint research.
‘While this is a challenge, our research made it clear that there was a great desire on the part of organizations to work together on a set of complementary policy issues that affect multiple countries, to collaborate on advocacy within and across sectors and regions, as well as to learn from each other different ways to engage stakeholders,’ concludes Ihesie.