In August 2013, Google launched a competition, calling creative people and innovators to share the stories of how the web has transformed their lives and the opportunities they have created. They received over 2,200 submissions from 35 countries. 6 months later, we’re pleased to announce that 5 winners have emerged.
The winners were picked by a panel of judges after a shortlist of public votes. The winners will go home with $25,000 each and they will have an opportunity to work with a Google sponsor over the next 6 months.
At the award ceremony in Nairobi, the organizers had this to say about the incentive for the competition:
“There are over 1 billion people living in Sub-Saharan Africa and currently 16% of them are online. With Africa Connected, we wanted to celebrate how the web is changing lives in Africa, and show how it is contributing to the socio-economic development of the continent. Selecting the shortlist was no easy task: each winner shares a unique perspective of how they have used the internet to solve a problem, earn a living, or create opportunities, not just for themselves, but also for others around them”
“Even though there are only five winners of the contest, there are many more powerful and inspiring stories out there. To start, there are 21 other inspiring success stories already hosted on the Africa Connected website; www.africaconnected.com. We encourage you to watch and learn from them”.
Meet the winners
Sitawa Wafula (Kenya)
Sitawa used Google Blogger to establish an award winning blog on mental health in East Africa. Sitawa wants to build a physical resource centre where people can access information online and get much-needed help to manage their conditions.
Watch Sitawa’s video here:
Eseoghene Odiete (Nigeria) After graduating from university, Eseoghene learned how to create handbags using Google Search and YouTube. With the help of contacts found via Search, over 100 blogs have featured her vibrant designs.
She dreams of building an international brand that promotes African designs. Eseoghene also runs training classes for other women who want to start businesses.
Watch Eseoghene’s video here:
Christopher Panford (Ghana) Christopher runs a transport company helping Ghanaian drivers access vehicle loans, which they use to earn a living. He uses Google Maps to constantly monitor the location of vehicles under bank loans.
Watch Christopher’s video here:
Eric Obuh (Nigeria)
Eric (aka Vocal Slender) used to be a dump site scavenger, in order to pay for studio time to record his music. After being discovered by the BBC in ‘Welcome to Lagos’, he became known around the world. Since then, Eric has recorded songs which he shares with new audiences on YouTube. He also uses Google+ and YouTube to raise awareness about underprivileged youngsters in the slums of Lagos, helping to raise scholarship money, and encouraging kids to stay in school.
Watch Eric’s video here:
Eunice Namirembe (Uganda)
Eunice runs The Medical Concierge Group which helps Ugandan communities access quality healthcare and information. Physician Eunice has built a 24-hour ambulance call centre by using the Google Cloud console and Google Maps to record patient information and track patient locations. With these tools, Eunice and her team are able to help connect more Ugandans to medical services, thus saving lives in the process.
Watch Eunice’s video here:
The remaining five success stories were also rewarded with awards of $10,000 each to help grow their ventures. The recipients of this award are Tim McGuire (South Africa), Nqobizitha Mlilo (Zimbabwe), Mayowa Adegbile (Nigeria), Lamine Mbengue (Senegal) and Steve Kyenze (Kenya).
Congratulations to the winners from BellaNaija!