First African Google Impact Challenge Kicks off in Kenya

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Google is offering USD 2 million grant to Kenyan nonprofits and social enterprises that have a compelling technology-based project that can improve society on a local or national scale.

The USD 2 million will be shared across four winners and eight runners up in the country. Applicants in what will be the first African Google Impact Challenge (GIC) must be a registered charity in Kenya.

“We believe technology can help local and national organizations to better reach their goals and solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges, and we are eager to back people who are using technology in new ways to make a positive difference in their communities,” said Charles Murito, Country Manager, Google Kenya.

“We also want to highlight the healthy state of social enterprise in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa today, and encourage non-profits to consider how technology and innovation can help them reach their goals,” he added.

Applications are open for the next 6 months. The public will vote for the idea they believe has the most potential, and the judges will select 3 more winners after hearing in-person pitches from a set of finalists. The winning nonprofits and social enterprises will receive cash as well as access to guidance, technical assistance and mentorship from Google, which they are free to take up should they so choose.

The final awards ceremony will be held during the week of 26 November.

The judges include Manu Chandaria, Caroline Mutoko, Amb Tegla Loroupe, Tabitha Karanja, Janet Mawiyoo, Salim Mohammed as well as Charles Murito

Google is also simultaneously rolling out the GIC in Nigeria and South Africa, bringing the total grant offered in the three countries to USD 6 million.

At Google4Nigeria in July 2017, Google.org announced that it is investing USD 20 million in non-profits working across the continent over the next five years.

Many African non-profit organisations are using technology in innovative ways. However, access to funding and technological expertise are often a barrier to other, equally ambitious projects getting off the ground. Google hopes the Impact Challenge will change that and encourage the entire non-profit sector to think big.

GIC judges will review submitted projects based on three criteria:

  1. Impact. How will the proposed project improve lives? How many people will be affected if successful and to what extent? Is the proposal rooted in research that identifies the size of the problem and how the proposed idea will help solve it?
  2. Technology / Innovation.  Does the proposal leverage technology in a new and creative way to tackle the issue it seeks to address?
  3. Scalability. If successful, how easily can this project scale? Can this proposal serve as a model for other efforts?
  4. Feasibility. Does the team have a well-developed, realistic plan to execute on the proposal? Have they identified the right partners for implementation?
  • Community Impact: If successful, can the proposed project create economic opportunity in the area, and make a difference in the lives of underserved populations?
  • Innovation: Does the project present unexpected solutions to the target population’s needs?
  • Scale: Does the project have the potential to help a large part of the target group? Can it serve as a model for other communities? Will its scope grow over time?

Feasibility: Is the project plan well thought-out, and the team well equipped to execute on it?

Other Google Impact Challenges around the world have supported ideas ranging from smart cameras for wildlife conservation to solar lights for off-grid communities to a mobile application that helps to protect women from domestic violence.

Since 2013, Google has run 18 GICs in 15 countries, received more than 10,000 nonprofit applications, made 370 Grants and involved more than 2000 Googlers.

Interested nonprofits and social enterprises in Kenya can apply here or visit: g.co/kenyachallenge

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