First African Google Impact Challenge Kicks Off In Kenya


Google is offering USD 2 million grant to Kenyan nonprofit making  and social enterprises with  a compelling technology-based project that can improve society on a local or national scale.The grant 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  reach their goals better  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 six months. The public will vote for the idea they believe has the most potential, and the judges will select three more winners after hearing in-person pitches from a set of finalists. The winning organizations 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 in 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, 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  the  following  criteria:

  • 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?
  • Technology / Innovation: Does the proposal leverage on technology in a new and creative way to tackle the issue it seeks to address?
  • Scalability: If successful, how easily can this project scale? Can this proposal serve as a model for other efforts?
  • Feasibility: Does the team have a well-developed, realistic plan to execute the proposal? Have they identified the right partners for implementation?

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  applications from non-profit  organizations, made 370 Grants and involved more than 2000 Googlers.






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