Google announced the five winners of the Africa Connected competition at an event in Nairobi, graced by world tech leaders on April 1st 2014. The competition was organized to reward young Africans who explore Internet space to their advantage Google said in a statement. Google said each of the winners, including two Nigerians, were rewarded with the sum of $25,000. There were also consolation prizes of $10,000 each to five other participants, it added. Commenting on the competition, Google’s Lead for the Africa Connected initiative, Affiong Osuchukwu, said, “There are over one billion people living in sub-Saharan Africa and currently 16 per cent of them are online. “With Africa Connected, we want to celebrate how the web is changing lives in Africa, and show how it is contributing to the socioeconomic 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.”
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.
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.
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. This assures banks that their loans are protected, while Christopher empowers more drivers.
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 a documentary they produced entitled ‘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.
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.
Are you a student leader? Do you want to make impact on campus? If the answer is yes, Google is now receiving applications for the 2014 Google Student Ambassador Program in Sub Sahara Africa. Google Student Ambassadors (GSAs) are leaders on campus whose mission is to use technology to make a difference, not only in their universities, but also in their communities across the region. They train other students on how to use Google tools, like Google Apps for Education, Google Maps, Adwords, YouTube and more. GSAs are helping to improve the way technology is used by university students, not only in their academics but also in their daily lives.
GSAs in Sub Sahara Africa have made it to the finals in global competitions such the Google Online Marketing Challenge and Google Cloud Developer Challenge. Check out the gStudents SSA Community today to get a sense of what these inspiring young people are all about and the impact they make. Do you think you have what it takes? You can find more information on the Google Ambassador Program and other student opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa on our Google for Education website.
Apply now to the program: the deadline is May 30th, 2014.