Google announces Africa Connected finalistsBy Ryan Noik 19 February 2014 | Categories: news
Following its announcement at the beginning of the month that six South Africans had made it into the semi-finals of the Africa Connected competition, Google has now announced the ten finalists, amongst which one is a South African.
From these ten, it will be left up to the public to choose the final five winners via online voting. The five finalists will each win a substantial cash prize of R277 000, and will also be able to work with a Google sponsor over a six-month period to further their online business success.
As part of his entry, the South African finalist, Timothy McGuire, used Google Translate while providing humanitarian relief in Portuguese speaking northern Mozambique. The technology enabled him to communicate with project members building water purification plants. McGuire further availed himself of Google Search and Google Maps to help deal with projects in remote locations.
Best of the rest
Joining McGuire in the roster of finalists are two contestants from Kenya, three from Nigeria and one each from Uganda, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Ghana. More particularly, the full list of the other nine finalists, and their projects, is below:
Steve uses Google Search to inspire underprivileged kids through art and helps to improve their skills, so they can sell their artwork to support their schooling.
Sitawa is an influential blogger on mental health in East Africa, who has used Google Blogger to establish her award winning blog, which is a reference point for people looking for support and information.
Eunice has built a 24-hour accessible ambulance call centre to improve access to health care services, by using the Google API dashboard and Google Maps to record patient information and track patient locations.
Lamine believes in taking African culture to the rest of the world, and that the Internet is the lifeblood to support his mission. YouTube and AdSense has helped SenegalTV to share their unique content around the world while enabling him to employ others.
Nqobizitha uses YouTube to post all his new animation and HD video content on his channel to reach a wide audience. He is self-taught, based on information found with Google Search. He is now able to give people in his home country and beyond an alternative form of entertainment not found on traditional channels.
Christopher Panford, Ghana, Technol Services
Christopher uses Google Maps in his vehicle tracking devices to record the location of vehicles at any point in time. This gives local banks the confidence to provide loans to drivers, thus providing them with a means to earn a living.
Eric is a musician who used YouTube to distribute his content and Google+ to interact with his fans. His music and online popularity have led him to become earn a living from concerts and appearances. He uses his earnings to raise awareness about underprivileged youngsters in the slums of Lagos where he comes from, thereby providing financial aid for the scholars and encouraging school attendance.
Eseoghene used Google products to promote her brand as a young entrepreneur, creating international awareness for her fashion label Hesey Designs. She now runs workshops to train other women on how to generate an income from designing fashion accessories.
Mayowa initially used YouTube to post an appeal in order to raise funds for her initiative, a business school for widowed mothers, giving them the tools to make a living and support their families. Because of getting online she is helping to change lives and give the people who need a second chance in life.
Ready, steady, vote
Anyone who would like to vote for the five winners can do so by visiting the Africa Connected website. The winners will be announced on 1st April at an event in Nairobi, Kenya.
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