As the Olympic games continue in London, we’re reminded of the thrill that comes with cheering uncontrollably when a favorite athlete grabs the gold, shatters a record and brings tears of joy to a nation’s collective eye. Around here, our 2011 Google.org grantees give us that same feeling of exhilaration and pride. They’re hurdling over challenges in education for girls and minorities, empowering people through technology and fighting modern day slavery. Along the way they’ve also been grabbing awards, receiving recognition and inspiring individuals.
We recently checked up on the stats from last year’s grantees and the records are undeniable. Here’s a quick rundown of some of their top highlights from over the past year:
9,000 health workers connected in the developing world
Switchboard uses mobile phones to connect isolated health workers with urban practitioners and government support. They’ve already connected health practitioners in Ghana and Liberia, and this year over 9,000 workers in Tanzania will join Switchboard’s partner Vodacom to form the largest mobile network of health workers in the developing world.
30 new scholarships and 30 after school programs for underserved kids
In 2012, African leadership incubator Akili Dada will award 30 new scholarships to high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds to join their development program — nearly doubling the number of women receiving funding. U.S.-based Citizen Schools also has a spirit of 30, partnering with 30 schools this year to provide a longer and strong learning day for over 5,000 low-income kids across eight states.
2,200 new people with dignified digital work
Thanks to Samasource’s mission to provide digital work in marginalized areas, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean, over 2,200 new workers have escaped poverty through computer-based microwork since 2011. Samasource recently made product updates to its microwork platform, increasing capacity for work types and improving quality management tools. CEO and founder was noted in Fast Company’s round-up of extraordinary women changing the world.
1,124 girls getting excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
Girlstart empowers girls to excel in science, math, engineering and technology through its After School and Summer Camp programs. Its After School offering was found by SEDL researchers to be the most robust STEM program for girls in the U.S. and this year’s programs will reach a record number of girls.
3 Olympians bringing attention to slave labor
Slavery Footprint works to fight human trafficking and forced labor via increased awareness of its role in today’s society. Its website, which calculates the number of slaves working for you, received a Cannes Lions Bronze Cyber Lion award and has been visited by millions around the world. They also recently announced that three Olympic athletes will be advocating against forced labor in this year’s games — as it’s important to remember that almost every part of society is touched by this issue.
230 geeks signed up to get governments tech-savvy
How many tech geeks does it take to change the world? When Code for America launched a first-of-its kind accelerator to support new civic startups, they received applications from over 230 entrepreneurs with ideas for how to upgrade government via tech. Its fellowship program, “peace corps for geeks,” similarly inspires a new tech-centric type of public service and will announce its newest fellows this fall.
100 new African student leaders
The African Leadership Academy identifies young students from across the continent with leadership potential, an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for Africa and a track record of community service. This year 100 new scholars will arrive on campus to begin their studies and 10 young African women with a passion for technology and science will work to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges.
4,000 lives changed through student loans
A year ago, Vittana celebrated its first 1,000 loans to support 1,000 marginalized students as they work to build a better future. Now, Vittana loans have changed the lives of over 4,000 students and they’re on track to help 4,000 more by the end of 2012. As Jessa Arzaga, a 19 year student studying in the Philippines, remarked, "The best treasure in life is education — no one can take it away from you."
Here’s three cheers for all of our 2011 grantees. They all deserve gold in our book.
Posted by Kate Parker, communications manager, Google.org