Three UK charities have been selected by a judging panel including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Sir Richard Branson and Jilly Forster to receive a Global Impact Award for their innovative technology projects.
SolarAid, Integrity Action and CDI Apps for Good will each take home £500,000, as well as mentoring from Google staff to deliver their projects.
A fourth finalist, the Zoological Society of London, was chosen by the public to receive the final £500,000 award. Google also revealed that the remaining six finalists would each receive £100,000 to further hone and deliver on their projects.
The aim of Google's Global Impact Awards is to support entrepreneurial non-profits using technology to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems, such as sexual violence, youth unemployment and wildlife protection.
Although Google has run a Global Impact Awards before, this was the company’s first country-specific Challenge.
“I've been blown away by the ambition and vision of Britain's social entrepreneurs,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google Giving.
“The 10 finalists in our first ever Global Impact Challenge have bold projects, nimble teams and innovative approaches to cracking some of society’s most serious issues. They’re sparking a new wave of excitement to change the world.”
One of the winners, SolarAid, enables widespread access to low-cost, safe solar lighting in off-grid African communities currently reliant on kerosene lighting. The charity said that the prize money would allow it to train a new generation of solar distributors and get an extra 144,000 solar lights into rural Tanzania.
Integrity Action works to improve public infrastructure and services in war-torn countries through an online and mobile platform for citizens to report on development projects. Over the next 18 months, Integrity Action will train over 2,000 community monitors in seven countries and help citizens fix 50 percent of problems in public services and infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, Apps For Good will help to transform computing education by engaging youth in the hands-on creation of apps, and The Zoological Society of London will use camera traps equipped with automated sensors to better protect threatened wildlife.
“I’ve spent my working life appealing to social conscience as well as to financial motivations,” said Jilly Forster, judge and founder of Forster Communications.
“It’s a big task to raise the profile of ‘tech for good’ among social entrepreneurs, but one that can reap transformational results, as our 10 Global Impact Challenge finalists have demonstrated.”