"Across the African continent, only 28% of the population has access to the internet. To bring more people in Africa online, the internet needs to be accessible, affordable and educational. We need to help people understand the possibilities available to them online. Each of the submissions we received has a part in creating a more connected world," the company said in a release.
Internet.org presented two $150,000 Innovation Challenge award prizes: one each to the leading app, website, service or idea that best meets the needs of the designated population categories – Education and Economic Empowerment, as well as four additional $50,000 Impact Awards within each category.
The challenge was judged by:
• Ike Eze, head, PocketMoni and executive director, strategy and corporate development, eTranzact
• Ime Archibong, director of product partnerships, Facebook
• Rob LeBlanc, chief investment officer, The Amethu Project
• Terryanne Chebet, founder, Keyara Organics
The winners are...
Esoko (Innovation Challenge Award winner): Started in Ghana, Esoko makes it easier for businesses, governments, NGOs and others to connect with farmers. Through its web and mobile apps, Esoko enables two-way data flows that allow smallholder farmers to access vital agricultural information and markets, and businesses to gain better visibility into their supply chains. The name Esoko comes from 'e' representing electronic and 'soko' meaning market in Swahili. Esoko has since spread its services to eight additional markets across Africa.
mPedigree Goldkeys (Impact Award winner): mPedigree Goldkeys from Ghana is an anti-counterfeiting, tracking and tracing solution that uses consumers’ mobile phones as a verification tool. In Uganda and Kenya, this service is being used to help farmers determine whether they are buying original counterfeit seeds. They have since spread their services to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Egypt for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agro-inputs like seeds and pesticides, and electrical components.
SaferMom (Impact Award winner): Nigeria’s SaferMom provides pregnant and new mothers with simple tools to help make informed health decisions via sms, voice services and its mobile app. SaferMom uses a chain of community health partners and mobile technology to track the health of pregnant moms and newborn babies, immunisation schedules for babies, nutrition and behavioral routines based on their fetal development stages and antenatal care. This service is available in the English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin languages.
Hyperion Development (Innovation Challenge Award winner): Founded in South Africa, Hyperion Development is a social enterprise that has built the first online course platform for computer science education supported by the largest online community of software developers in Africa. Hyperion Development allows anyone to take online courses in coding with a personal computer or mobile phone; even without a broadband connection, which fewer than 1% of Africans have.
Mutti (Impact Award winner): Launched in Ghana, Mutti by mPharma is a drug affordability service that enables patients to access high quality medicine at lower prices with flexible payment terms through micro-payments. Mutti means medicine in Bemba, a Zambian language. They also operate in Nigeria, Zambia and Cote D’Ivoire, targeting three main chronic conditions: hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Tuteria (Impact Award winner): Nigeria’s Tuteria connects people seeking to learn with people around them who can teach. Tuteria provides an online platform which allows users to find, evaluate, book and pay for lessons with competent local tutors, coaches, instructors and mentors.