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SA’s Praekelt Foundation scoops international mobile marketing award

The Praekelt Foundation has been named the first South African winner of the Social Impact Category of the 2011 Mobile Marketing Awards for Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, held in Los Angeles.

The foundation, which “builds open source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty” was honoured for its YoungAfricaLive project.

The project, hosted on the Vodafone Live mobile web platform, is essentially a mobile community where people can discuss “critical issues facing Africa’s youth”.

According to the foundation, these include “love, sex, relationships and HIV/AIDS”.

YoungAfricaLive, which reportedly has over 600 000 active users, was up against the likes of Giorgio Armani and R/GA’s Acqua di Gio Armani Drops for Life App, Waterfall Mobile’s Waiting for ‘Superman’ Social Action Campaign and Busday and TELiBrahma’s Busday gets buzzier project for the award.

“We’re really thrilled at the recognition given to YoungAfricaLive by this award,” said Praekelt Foundation’s Creative Director, Jonathan MacKay who was in LA to accept the award.

“We faced some intense competition from some really strong international projects doing great work,” added MacKay.

“But the fact that YoungAfricaLive is recognised as having the most potent social impact is a real boost to the project, a credit to our partners and, really, an accolade that deserves to be shared with the whole YoungAfricaLive community whose passionate participation makes it the success that it is.”

The Mobile Marketing Awards for Innovation rates itself as representing “the best-of –the-best in mobile marketing across the globe”.

The award follows fast in the wake of another Praekelt Foundation product being awarded the Tech4Africa Innovation Award.

TxtAlert, a reminder system for people on chronic medication won the award, which was created “to encourage innovation in solving uniquely African problems whilst also encouraging global thinking”

YoungLiveAfrica, meanwhile, continues to grow. Most recently it added, Ummeli — which the Praekelt Foundation calls “Africa’s first mobile career opportunities social network — to YoungLiveAfrica’s portfolio”.

Since its launch, Ummeli has reportedly attracted more than 20 000 active users, “all aiming to take advantage of a supportive community of young job seekers that can offer advice, suggestions, ideas exchange, connections and information on jobs, bursaries and grants”.