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FIRE Africa Winners: Semi-Finalists of Mozilla Challenge

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Two FIRE Africa Winners' projects are among the five semi-finalists for the Mozilla Equal Rating Challenge. We find out more about this prestigious competition and the two projects that made the selection below.

Two FIRE Africa winners, Project Isizwe's Tobetsa Free Public Wifi  and Zenzeleni's LibreRouter, both based in Cape Town, South Africa, are in the running to receive up to US$125,000 in grant money from Mozilla's Equal Rating Challenge for their innovative access solutions. 

The Challenge seeks to make the full range of the Internet’s extraordinary power and innovative potential available to all. Mozilla advocates for “equal rating” whereby consumers choose content based on the quality of that content, not the financial power and business partnerships of the provider. To qualify, projects must be content-agnostic, must not be subject to gatekeepers or allow pay-for-play. Project Isizwe entered its project into the Mozilla challenge under the name Afri-Fi, Free Public WiF and Zenzeleni's project is entered under the name Zenzeleni "Do it for Yourselves" Networks. 

Tobetsa Free Public Wifi 


Tobetsa, Free Public Wifi from Cape Town, South Africa received a 2016 FIRE Africa Award and took advantage of a travel grant to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Mexico. The project, led by Tim Human, is Tobetsa's Tshwane Free WiFi’s unlimited access content portal, which provides users with content and resources to develop and grow knowledge and skills of the local community. Project Isizwe works with local, regional and national governments to provide WiFi in low-income communities for the purpose of education, economic development and social inclusion, enabling access to the internet as a catalyst for change. As Tobetsa grows into its next phase of development, this project will enable the opportunity to further extend the impact and reach of WiFi TV, including a more integrated and collaborative approach to ensuring the content on Tobetsa and WiFi TV is more closely aligned across the platform as a whole, enabling a consolidated strategy towards ensuring the platform’s continued development towards sustainability.


libre router

Zenzeleni's LibreRouter won a US$ 30,000 FIRE Africa Scale Up Grant and Inter-Regional Grant in 2016. The LibreRouter project will design and produce a high performance multi-radio wireless router targeted to Community Networks’ needs. The project specifically considers the realities and restrictions of implementing community networks in the global south in terms of facilitating easy installation and maintenance, reducing cost and power consumption, respect for voice communication through VoIP and using frequencies better suited for rural deployments. 

Anxious Wait

The five Mozilla equal rating challenge semi-finalists underwent online Community voting in early March and the winners will be announced on 29 March 2017 during RightsCon Brussels 2017.  Each of the five semi-finalist will receive funds ranging in value from US$10,000 - US$125,000 as well intensive mentorship from Mozilla experts to refine and implement their concepts. We at AFRINIC and the FIRE Africa programme are extremely proud of how far these projects have come and of the inventive solutions that they are providing to Africa's communities.

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