Google has announced the 12 finalists of the first Google Impact Challenge in Kenya. Lewa Wildlife Marathon was named the winner of the Public Vote, while African Prisons Project, Startup Lions and Ujuzi Kilimo Solutions won the Judges’ Vote.

The Google Impact Challenge sought to identify and fund the most innovative social enterprises using technology to improve society on a local or national scale.

The four winners won KES 25 million each while the eight other finalists received KES 12.5 million each. They included AfriScout, Creatives Garage, GiveDirectly Kenya, Global Minimum InLab, M-Shule, NairoBits, Sauti and The Somo Project.

Google will also provide support and training to the 12 nonprofits to scale their projects.

The challenge was launched in May 2018 in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and during the six-month campaign period, over 5000 entries were submitted from the three countries, with over 1000 entries from Kenya.

“Google celebrates the nonprofits that took part in the Google Impact Challenge, especially for the way that their work is fuelling social and economic change in their communities. This Challenge is part of our ongoing commitment to invest and build initiatives relevant for Africans’ everyday lives,” said Charles Murito, Country Manager, Google Kenya.

Her Excellency Rachel Ruto, Patron of the Google Impact Challenge, lauded Kenyans for the creative entries they submitted for consideration.

“The Google Impact Challenge has bridged the gap between Kenyans who have great ideas and no means to implement and scale them. I am grateful that created this avenue for innovative Kenyans to put forward their ideas for social impact,” said Her Excellency, Rachel Ruto, EGH, Spouse to the Deputy President, Founder, Joyful Women Organization and Global Champion of Economic Empowerment.