SA’s Afri-Fi has been announced as the runner-up in the Mozilla Equal Rating Innovation Challenge and walks away with USD$75 000 in funding.
Afri-Fi is the extension of Project Isizwe which has granted 2.9 million users access to 500MB of free WiFi daily.
“The team has proven how their solution for a free internet is supporting thriving communities in South Africa,” said one of the jury members, Marlon Parker, the Founder of Reconstructed Living Labs, on behalf of the jury in a press release.
“Their approach towards community building, partnerships, developing local community entrepreneurs and inclusivity, with a goal of connecting some of the most marginalised communities, are all key factors in why they deserve this recognition and are leading the free internet movement in Southern Africa,” said Parker.
The final shortlist consisted of five entries, chosen by a panel of judges which included Mozilla Foundation’s executive chair Mitchell Baker as well as Startup Chile’s executive director Rocio Fonseca, among others.
Afri-Fi flew SA’s flag high at the Mozilla Equal Rating Innovation Challenge
The challenge saw 100 submissions from more than 27 countries. Additionally, it offered rewards to the total value of USD$ 250 000 in funding as well as mentorship to be able to bring these internet solutions to the public.
The COO of Project Isizwe, Tim Genders, commented on placing second in the challenge. “Our next steps are to make free WiFi scalable and self-sustaining through an advertising model. We want to make free WiFi the new medium to get messages out to communities.”
The former communications technology minister of Nigeria, Omobola Johnson also commented on Project Isizwe’s success. “I was particularly delighted to see strong African representation in the semi-finalists.”
“The solutions were contextually innovative and they all emphasised a strong need to collaborate; big companies, local governments, rural communities, telcos, all working together to implement solutions where each of them come out a winner,” Johnson concluded.
Featured image via APO