Google has launched the Global Impact Awards to support organizations using technology and innovative approaches to tackle some of the toughest human challenges. The Award will provide $23 million to seven organizations changing the world, of which four organisations will be working in Africa.
Technology has dramatically improved our lives—from the speed at which we get things done to how we connect with others. Yet innovations in medicine, business and communications have far outpaced tech-enabled advances in the nonprofit sector.
The four innovations from Africa benefiting from the Award include:
Charity: water: Real-time technology to monitor water and ensure it gets to more people
One in nine people across the globe lack access to clean water. At any given time, approximately one-third of water pumps built by NGOs and government groups in remote areas are not functioning. charity: water will use its $5 million Global Impact Award to install remote sensors at 4,000 water points across Africa including in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Central African Republic by 2015, monitoring and recording actual water flow rate to ensure better maintenance of and access to clean water for more than 1 million people.
Consortium for the Barcode of Life: DNA barcoding to identify and protect endangered wildlife, including in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa
More than 2,000 endangered species are protected from illegal trade by UN regulations. Intercepting wildlife transferred across borders is critical to slowing illegal trade, but detection tools are expensive and unavailable. The Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for the Barcode of Life will use its $3 million Global Impact Award to work with researchers in six developing countries to create and implement “DNA barcoding,” a public library of DNA barcode tests that enforcement officials can use as a front-line tool.
GiveDirectly: Mobile technology to put money directly into the hands of the poor in Kenya
Despite assumptions, direct cash transfers are a proven approach to lifting people out of poverty. Research documents substantial positive impacts on a wide range of indicators, including farm profits and infant birth weight. GiveDirectly will use its $2.4 million Global Impact Award to scale its model of direct cash transfers.
World Wildlife Fund: New technologies to advance anti-poaching efforts, including in areas of concern in central and southern Africa
The illegal wildlife trade, estimated to be worth $7-10 billion annually, devastates endangered species, damages ecosystems, and threatens local livelihoods and regional security. World Wildlife Fund will use its $5 million Global Impact Award to adapt and implement specialized sensors and wildlife tagging technology.
Google has over this year been able to support organizations changing the world with more than $100 million in grants, $1 billion in technology and 50,000 hours of Googler volunteering.