NGOs with a plan vie for share of Google's R28m

18 November 2018 - 00:00 By NIVASHNI NAIR


A home alarm linked directly to police, a clothes recycling project that offers financial help to mothers of children with disabilities and an app that publishes illustrated digital African storybooks. These are some of the projects vying for a share of R28m in the Google Impact Challenge.
Twelve of the 1,300 South African non-profit organisations (NPOs) that entered the first challenge have to persuade the voting public, as well as judges Basetsana Kumalo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Nomzamo Mbatha, Ferial Haffajee, Maps Maponyane, Simphiwe Dana, Rapelang Rabana and Google SA's Bryan Nelson, that their project deserves funding.
"South African NPOs are using technology to amplify their impact, from mobilising volunteers to addressing big economic opportunity, education, technology and innovation in SA. Access to funding and technological know-how are often a barrier to ambitious projects getting off the ground," said Google SA spokesperson Mich Atagana.
Thuli Mthethwa was a victim of crime in 2012 and had no way to alert her neighbours or the police. She has developed an alarm to link the community to the police, fire department and hospital.
The Memeza community policing alarm has been set up in the area north of Sandton, Johannesburg. It is linked to patrolling police vans and alerts neighbours. A personal alarm can also be carried.
The SA Institute for Distance Education has a website and app that features storybooks in more than 160 African languages.
"On the website you can translate and create your own storybooks. The books are openly licensed, which means you can download, copy, adapt or translate them for free, and without the need to ask permission. You can also print books from the website and distribute them," said the institute's Tessa Welch.
Between 2014 and 2017, the website and app reached 43,820 teachers and 940,226 children, she said.
"In 2018, over 80,000 storybooks have been downloaded per month."
Clothes to Good pays people to recycle their clothes through its social impact programmes.
"The clothes are recycled in a fully inclusive recycling facility where they are sorted, washed and baled and sold to registered micro-businesses, which include mothers of children with disabilities," said founder Jesse Naidoo.
Unusable clothes are converted into educational resources and toys for early childhood development kits that are distributed to families of children with disabilities and to under-resourced crèches.
The winners will be announced later this month.

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