African social entrepreneurs honoured

9 May 2013

South African entrepreneur and founder of interactive mobile learning tool Afroes, Anne Githuku-Shongwe, was one of five Africans honoured with social entrepreneur of the year awards at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Thursday.

Githuku-Shongwe is one of 21 social entrepreneurs from around the world taking part in the meeting in Cape Town to provide an on-the-ground perspective on sustainability and social innovation.

Afroes is based on interactive mobile learning strategies designed to teach Africa’s youth about entrepreneurship, leadership and empowerment.

It achieves this through mobile games for social change, such as the award-winning Moraba, which addresses difficult questions on gender-based violence, and Haki, a game series built for Kenya by Kenyans to promote national cohesion.

The four other winners were Frederick Day from Buffalo Bicycle Company, a purpose- built African bicycle designed for African terrain; Njideka Harry from Nigerian skills development organisation Youth for Technology Foundation; Chuck Slaughter from Living Goods, a health organisation to assist micro-entrepreneurs in Uganda; and Andrew Youn from the One Acre Fund in Kenya, a farming initiative to provide rural farmers with training and services.

“Social entrepreneurs are an integral community of the World Economic Forum and an increasingly sought after one,” WEF senior director and head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, David Aikman, said in a statement.

The Schwab Foundation confers the awards and collaborates with social entrepreneurs on shaping global, regional and industry agendas in driving sustainable social innovation along with other WEF stakeholders.

It was founded by World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, and his wife Hilde in 2000.

Selected social entrepreneurs of the Schwab Foundation network participate in World Economic Forum events, allowing opportunities for them to connect with business, political and media leaders.

“Many governments are starting to rethink the way they deliver goods and services that improve social outcomes,” Aikman said.

“To improve education and health standards, and eradicate poverty, we need entrepreneurial solutions,” said Schwab Foundation chairperson and co-founder, Hilde Schwab.

“Governmental plans and actions have to be complemented by innovative ideas taking into account local conditions.”

SAinfo reporter