Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Internet.org's Innovation Challenge in Africa winners announced

Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative with the goal of bringing Internet access and the benefits of connectivity to the two-thirds of the world that doesn‘t have them. It is presenting two $150 000 Innovation Challenge award prizes: one each to the leading app, website, service, or idea that best meets the needs of the designated population categories – Education and Economic Empowerment; as well as four additional $50 000 Impact awards within each category.

According to Internet.org, only 28% of the population across the African continent has access to the Internet. To bring more people in Africa online, the Internet needs to be accessible, affordable, and educational, it says.

“We need to help people understand the possibilities available to them online. Each of the submissions we received has a part in creating a more connected world,” the initiative indicates.

The winners are:

Education
    Innovation Challenge award winner
Started in Ghana, Esoko makes it easier for businesses, governments, NGOs, and others to connect with farmers. Through its web and mobile apps, Esoko enables two-way data flows that allow smallholder farmers to access vital agricultural information and markets, and businesses to gain better visibility into their supply chains. The name Esoko comes from “e” representing electronic and soko meaning market in Swahili. Esoko has since spread its services to eight additional markets across Africa.

    Impact award winner
mPedigree Goldkeys from Ghana is an anti-counterfeiting, tracking, and tracing solution that uses consumers’ mobile phones as a verification tool. In Uganda and Kenya, this service is being used to help farmers determine whether they are buying original or counterfeit seeds. They have since spread their services to Nigeria and Egypt for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agro-inputs like seeds and pesticides, and electrical components.

    Impact award winner
Nigeria’s SaferMom provides pregnant and new mothers with simple tools to help make informed health decisions via SMS, voice services, and its mobile app. SaferMom uses a chain of community health partners and mobile technology to track the health of pregnant moms and new-born babies, immunisation schedules for babies, nutrition, and behavioural routines based on their foetal development stages and antenatal care. This service is available in the English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Pidgin languages.

Economic Empowerment

    Innovation Challenge award winner
Founded in South Africa, Hyperion Development is a social enterprise that has built the first online course platform for computer science education supported by the largest online community of software developers in Africa. Hyperion Development allows anyone to take online courses in coding with a personal computer or mobile phone; even without a broadband connection, which fewer than 1% of Africans are said to have.

    Impact award winner
Launched in Ghana, Mutti by mPharma is a drug affordability service that enables patients to access high-quality medicine at lower prices with flexible payment terms through micro-payments. Mutti means medicine in Bemba, a Zambian language. They also operate in Nigeria, Zambia, and Cote D’Ivoire, targeting three main chronic conditions: hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

    Impact award winner
Nigeria’s Tuteria connects people seeking to learn with people around them who can teach. Tuteria provides an online platform which allows users to find, evaluate, book, and pay for lessons with competent local tutors, coaches, instructors, and mentors.

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