Corruption Watch is one of four winners of the Google Impact Challenge South Africa, the first such initiative to take place in this country. The final event took place last night in Johannesburg and with Memeza Shout Crime Prevention, Gradesmatch and RLabs’ Zlto Digital Platform, we were chosen from 12 finalists to receive a prize that will help us build our Bua Mzansi – Know Your Police Station project. This interactive website and app will enhance public participation in policing, and increase transparency in the police service. The Google Impact Challenge asks local innovators how they would make their communities – and beyond – an even better place. The public and a panel of local judges voted for the ideas with the most potential, and Google.org will pair each winner with a package of strategic support, funding and Google volunteers. After several weeks of voting, the 12 finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of judges on the big night. The judges selected three challenge winners from these finalists, and also announced the people’s choice winner. The distinguished judging panel included Basetsana Khumalo, Nomzamo Mbatha, Ferial Haffejee, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Rapelang Rabana, Maps Maponyane, Simphiwe Dana, and Bryan Nelson of Google South Africa. Each of the four winners receives a $250 000 grant and the remaining eight finalists receive a $125 000 grant. All 12 finalists will receive training from Google. Corruption Watch congratulates the other three winners and salutes all entrants, every one of whom has developed or is developing projects that have the real potential to change lives.

Meet the winners

Memeza Shout Crime Prevention (People’s Choice winner)

Bringing safety to vulnerable people through a Public Community Alarm System.

The project will empower our country’s most vulnerable through the distribution of the first ICT based Public Community Alarm System, that links directly to South African Police Services (SAPS) sector vans patrolling the area in cases of emergency. Memeza’s systems have proven to reduce sexual offences by 67% in Diepsloot, and their vision is aligned with the National Development Plan on Safety: “By 2030, people living in South Africa should have no fear of crime. Women, children and those who are Vulnerable should feel protected”.

RLabs (Zlto Digital Platform)

A mobile and blockchain platform that tracks and incentivises positive behaviour in youths.

RLabs launched Zlto in response to the high levels of youth unemployment and the challenges young people faced in accessing job opportunities. Youths actively seeking employment lack the necessary financial resources and work experience that they need to find jobs. Zlto addresses this by enabling youth to gain work experience through community work, which is then validated and stored in a work asset that can be used when applying for jobs.

Gradesmatch

A platform to serve as a comprehensive career guide.

Gradesmatch is a comprehensive career guidance tool that assists learners to unlock their potential. The Gradesmatch technology is a platform-based solution that is designed to map career data for learners, parents and teachers/mentors to help them make well-informed career decisions. Currently, Gradesmatch has impacted over 80,000 learners in South Africa and Namibia and their main goal is to be the primary source of career guidance and financial aid to 125 million learners from 25 African countries by 2023.

Corruption Watch: BUA MZANSI

An online interactive website to enhance public participation and transparency in policing.

Corruption Watch is launching an online interactive website called Bua Mzansi – Know your Police Station. This tool seeks to enhance public participation and transparency in the South African policing sector by allowing the public to report incidents of police corruption, access information on the 1 100+ police stations in the country, and rate their police stations based on their experience. Corruption Watch is working to improve transparency in the policing sector, helping the public mould a corruption-free and accountable police service.

The eight finalists are:

GreenFingers Mobile – a digital solution to enable small and emerging farmers to access the market. The MakerSpace Foundation – the MakerSpace offers tools, technology, training and physical work space to enable people to make things that improve the world around them. Saide’s African Storybook initiative – an offline app to create and publish illustrated digital African storybooks with young children. Quirky 30 NPC – coding a New Future. The Youth Employment Service – a business-driven collaboration with government that offers a disruptive approach to South Africa’s youth unemployment challenge. hearX Group – Ears and Eyes for Education (3E) – a mHealth supported community-based programme. mLab CodeUp! – matching coders to community startups to build prototypes and gain practical work experience. Clothes to Good – helping mothers of children with disabilities to find financial independence in a green eco-system via clothing recycling.