Mozilla is seeking essays about outstanding women in East and Central Africa, in order to expand our open-source Kiswahili data set

(TANZANIA, KENYA, AND THE DRC | MARCH 8, 2023) -- This International Women’s Day, Mozilla Common Voice is announcing an initiative to honor outstanding women in East and Central Africa — and also to expand its open-source Kiswahili data set.

The “Wanawake Mashujaa” writing competition — Kiswahili for Brave Women — is seeking written biographies of extraordinary women in local communities across Tanzania, Kenya, and the DRC.

The essays will be added to Mozilla's Common Voice text corpus to enrich its Kiswahili data set and broaden its gender diversity. They will also be published on the Common Voice website and on partners’ websites. A panel of African linguists and artists will also select three winning essays to receive $450, $230, and $120 USD, respectively.

To enter: Kiswahili form | English form | French form

Says Rebecca Ryakitimbo, Mozilla Fellow leading the initiative: “This competition will honor the amazing work being done by women across East and Central Africa on International Women’s Day. Oftentimes, women’s contributions aren’t represented online — and especially in under-resourced languages such as Kiswahili. This is an opportunity to add their stories to the data sets that power voice assistants and other technologies.”

Mozilla Common Voice is an open-source initiative to make voice technology more inclusive. In recent years, Common Voice has awarded $400,000 to people and projects across East Africa leveraging the data set.

Competition details

Essays should be written in either Congolese or Tanzanian Swahili and be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length. All work submitted should be under Public Domain (CC-0) license.

Submissions will be accepted from March 8 through April 30, 2023. The essays will be evaluated and judged, and the winners will be announced shortly afterward.

Text specifications :

  • There should be no digits in the written work such as 2021 instead use words
  • Abbreviations and acronyms like “USA” or “ICE” should be avoided because they may be read in a way that does not coincide with their spelling
  • The text should not use derogatory language
  • The text should not promote any form of gender harassment, abuse or violence
  • The text should not perpetuate or condone sexual harassment or biases
  • The text should be respective of gender diversities i.e usage of correct pronouns
  • The text should not propagate violence and/or threats of violence
  • The text should be in a digital format and not handwritten
  • The content must be your own; no plagiarized content

Press contact: Kevin Zawacki | [email protected] | +1 (914) 837-4333