(KENYA, TANZANIA, & DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO | MARCH 3, 2022)
Today, Mozilla Common Voice is announcing $400,000 USD in grants for voice technologies that leverage our open-source Kiswahili data set. The initiative will support people and projects across East Africa who are using voice technology to unlock social and economic opportunities.
Awards of up to $50,000 each will be given to winning projects in Kenya, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Specifically, Common Voice is seeking projects focused on agriculture and finance, and that uplift groups who experience digital exclusion due to gender, income inequality, and location (for example, populations based in rural areas).
Mozilla Common Voice is an open-source initiative to make voice technology more inclusive.
Says Chenai Chair, Mozilla’s Africa Innovation Mradi Consultant: “These grants will fuel products powered by open voice data and technology, and built with local community involvement and engagement. And in the long-term, they can help shift power and improve social and economic opportunities for marginalized groups, particularly women, in Kenya, Tanzania, and Kiswahili-speaking DRC.”
Winning projects can draw inspiration from existing voice technologies that build on Common Voice data, like Mbaza, a chatbot that provides timely and accurate information about the pandemic in the Kinyarwanda, French, and English languages.
For example, an ideal project might provide information services for timely pricing updates for small crop farmers. Or provide easy-to-understand information on land rights to communities, such as women in rural areas.
Applicants will be evaluated by a panel of Mozilla judges and must meet criteria including feasibility, sustainability, impact, data corpus contribution, community engagement, and differentiation. Applicants should also have a core team in place in the region, and make their work available under an open-source license.
The required letter of Intent opens on March 3, 2022, at https://mozilla.fluxx.io/apply/cv. The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a required step for all applicants. LOIs are reviewed on a rolling basis and thereafter applicants will receive a response on their submission no later than 24 March 2022. Applicants will either be invited to submit a full proposal or declined. For full details on the 2022 Common Voice Open Call, please consult the application guide here. Deadline for LOI submission 31 Mar 2022 by 17:00 CAT. The full application deadline is April 26, 2022, at 17:00 CAT.