New York, NY | November 15, 2023 – data.org today announced with Microsoft the five awardees of the Generative AI Skills Challenge, a global grant to explore, develop, and implement ways for organizations to train, upskill, and reskill the workforce to use generative AI. Representing Nigeria, India, Greece, Chile, and the United States, each of the winning organizations will receive $250,000 to train professionals with the skills necessary to successfully utilize generative AI in an equitable and interdisciplinary way.
Selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants from across 93 countries, the winning proposals represent a variety of locally-driven solutions that have the potential to scale not only across communities and countries—but across the globe. Further, vast networks of workers will benefit from these innovations, ranging from an app to upskill educators in remote settings to a platform that empowers women-led businesses to increase visibility and sales. Awardees were evaluated in a rigorous multi-step process by a team of judges and reviewers around the world who are leaders in the fields of data science and technology, philanthropy, and education.
“The impact that these innovative projects will have on our global workforce is significant. Through our shared commitment to educating and empowering industry professionals with the skills to leverage generative AI, we are going to shape the future of data for social impact and its power to transform communities,” said Danil Mikhailov, Ph.D., executive director of data.org.
In addition to financial support, awardees will receive access to technical resources, technical guidance from Microsoft AI experts, including Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab, and data training. The EY organization plans to host capacity-building workshops and coaching for awardees as part of their global efforts to strengthen the use of generative AI across impact organizations and their beneficiaries. This holistic support will strengthen the awardees’ programmatic approaches, advance their organizational maturity, and plan for the sustainability of their solutions.
“AI is a powerful tool that can help solve the world’s toughest problems – but only if workers everywhere have the skills to use it,” said Kate Behncken, corporate vice president, Microsoft Philanthropies. “Generative AI itself can be a powerful tool to help revolutionize skills training and address the digital and AI skills divide, which is exactly why we’re working with data.org and these organizations – to help support innovation in this area.”
The Generative AI Skills Challenge advances data.org’s commitment to train one million purpose-driven data practitioners by 2032. Each awardee has committed to sharing or open-sourcing their work so other organizations can replicate and scale their solutions.
GIEVA will train and upskill women entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria on the use of generative AI capabilities to create digital livelihoods. They will also build an AI-based platform for women-led businesses to create digital assets and increase sales including creating compelling online product profiles and sales assets optimized for sharing over WhatsApp.
The Myna Mahila Foundation will build on their successful training model for a network of 1,500 women, known as RANI workers. This project will train a portion of the network in generative AI to power a text-based AI platform designed to dispel misconceptions around women’s health. Given the sensitive nature of healthcare, this organization is careful to establish a feedback loop process that includes doctors and medical professionals to ensure that responses combating misconceptions are accurate.
The Tipping Point will work with their partner, 100mentors, to provide in-depth training, thoughtfully curated prompt libraries, and GenAI-enhanced mentoring to 700-900 educators in remote settings. Thus, educators will gain the skills to effectively integrate GenAI into their teaching by using a GenAI based app, which will also be developed during the grant period.
Data Elevates, along with their key partner, CDI Chile will expand on three years of success training Venezuelan migrant women in data skills to create “Avanzando con la AI,” or “Moving Forward with AI,” a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on generative AI. Combining course facilitation with employment training and network events, Data Elevates and CDI Chile will increase economic opportunities for Venezuelan migrant women, while also providing sustainable impact through the MOOC designed for Spanish-speaking populations.
Mississippi AI Collaborative is a multi-stakeholder project to develop an ecosystem leveraging AI in the state of Mississippi. The ecosystem intervention includes an intensive AI curriculum program for teachers, students, and businesses, a “Skill-AI-Thon” to develop AI capabilities, and an apprenticeship program, where Jackson State University students will work with small businesses and nonprofits to leverage AI tools.
data.org is accelerating the power of data to solve some of our greatest global challenges. Launched in 2020 by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Rockefeller Foundation, data.org serves as a platform for partnerships to build the field of data for social impact by widening access to the tools, resources, and talent needed to make sustainable and equitable change.
A global organization, data.org convenes and coordinates across sectors and is committed to supporting and amplifying visionary — but also practical — solutions to drive greater impact, through data.