The Orange Africa and Middle East Social Entrepreneur Prize (POESAM), celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, has announced six winners for 2020, including Weeglo, a technology firm whose project offers an online learning solution specific to the Liberian education system.
Weeglo, which clinched the third place for the POESAM, is a software development company founded in Liberia in 2019, with a mission to make technology a way of life in Africa and a vision to better people’s lives through the use of technology.
Founded by Thomas Guwor, Weeglo aims to provide access to quality education in a way that will be cost-effective, reliable, equitable, sustainable, and innovative through the introduction of a cross-platform e-learning solution for the education system in Liberia. The platform enables schools manage everything including classroom activities, grading system, registration, payment system, online testing, live video meetings, live video teaching and more. It will allow students, teachers, administrators, educators and parents to interact as well as access educational resources such as the national curriculum, course guides, course notes, lesson plans, schedules, eBooks, e-libraries, and other supplementary digital learning resources from their personal mobile and computer devices. The project is divided into three phases. Phase I of this project has been rolled out and in active use, with over 7000 downloads in Google Play Store.
The International Grand Prix has historically rewarded three prize winners with prizes ranging from €10,000 (3rd place) to €25,000 (1st place), Orange said in a press release on Monday, November 9. For this year’s edition, Orange has added two new prizes: The International Women’s Prize with a value of €20,000, supported by the Orange Group Diversity and Inclusion unit; and the Special 10th Anniversary Prize with a value of €10,000. In addition, a project was also awarded the special, “Jury’s Favourite” prize, making a total of six prizes awarded by the POESAM International Grand Prix jury.
After a round of domestic competitions in the 17 African Orange subsidiaries, during which 41 winners were identified and supported, 18 finalists were selected to enter the international competition which took place at the AfricaTech Festival, the biggest technology fair in Africa. At the end of the presentations, the jury, comprising experts on social entrepreneurship in Africa, met to decide on the winners of the 10th edition of POESAM.
The big winners
The e-ceremony took place during the AfricaTech Festival, which is taking place online from 9 to 12 November 2020. It was chaired by Ms Elizabeth Tchoungui, Orange Group Director of CSR, Diversity and Solidarity and Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation, and Mr Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East & Africa, who announced the winners.
For the International Grand Prix, the first prize was awarded to Ahkili (Tunisia), an innovative psychological assistance telephone hotline covering the whole of North Africa, available seven days a week to facilitate contact with qualified psychologists without having to make an appointment. Teliman (Mali) the first Malian on-demand motorbike taxi service in Bamako, clinched the second prize; while the third prize was awarded to Weeglo (Liberia).
For the International Women’s Prize, the winning project was Ahmini (Tunisia), a digital platform to facilitate access for rural women to the Tunisian welfare and healthcare system.
For the Special 10th Anniversary Prize, the winner was Toto Riibô (Burkina Faso), a Burkinabé service for ordering and delivery of meals cooked by women stallholders in the streets of Ouagadougou.
Also, this year, one particular project caught the eye of the international jury, who decided to award it the Jury’s Favourite Prize. The winner was SOBATIC (Burkina Faso), an organisation that provides training and also designs IT tools for people with impaired vision.
Ten years of responsible innovation in Africa
Since 2011, the prizes awarded have been in recognition of innovative projects and start-ups associated with the use of mobile phones that have an impact on society, by improving the quality of life of people in Africa and the Middle East in the fields of education, healthcare, agriculture, or mobile payment, e-commerce or even sustainable development.
The outcome has been very positive, the Orange release said. Since its creation, more than 30 international prizewinners have shared a total of €500,000 and 75 people have benefited from 6 months of coaching and mentoring offered by Orange and its partners. The impact of social and technological entrepreneurship is now undeniable. It has been responsible for so much progress in the fields of education, healthcare, financial inclusion and environmental protection. Through POESAM and the new prizes, Orange has restated its commitment to entrepreneurs who have a positive impact on Africa and the Middle East. This approach is further evidence of Orange’s commitment. Its responsibility is to provide positive support for the social, societal and environmental traditions created by its historic position as a multi-services operator.