Uganda’s BarefootLaw, Ghana’s Farmerline and Kenya’s Kytabu have been named winners of the King Baudouin African Development Prize, taking home $84,000 each in prize money and access to a wide network of stakeholders who will support them as they grow. BarefootLaw will get $84,000 (Ugx. 300million) of the prize.
This is the first year the King Baudouin Foundation has awarded the prize, which aims to recognise the achievements of young, African tech-entrepreneurs driving social change across the continent.
The three winning startups share the underlying principle of using simple technology to connect people with essential knowledge.
For the first time since its launch in 2012, the Prize awarded to three organisations to recognise the growing number of socially minded tech-entrepreneurs across the continent.
All three organisations share the underlying principle of using simple technology to connect people with essential knowledge.
Each tech-platform enables communities to access and share information in fundamental areas: education (Kytabu), legal rights (BarefootLaw) and agriculture (Farmerline).
BarefootLaw is the first online legal service in East Africa. All of Uganda’s 3,000 lawyers are based in the capital city, leaving the rural population without ready access to services. The free-of-charge platform helps those who are most vulnerable to understand and defend their basic rights.
Smallholder farmers are the backbone of African economies, but many are held back by a lack of readily available information. Farmerline connects over 200,000 farmers with market information, peers and larger organisations. As a result, farmers using the platform have seen profits grow by 50%.
Kytabu developed an innovative textbook content-leasing app for students. The app makes school-reading accessible to 11 million students in Kenya to break down the high rate of students currently without access to textbooks (1 in 10).
The Prize includes an award of €75,000 for each organisation and access to a wide network of stakeholders who will support them as they grow.
BarefootLaw Founder Gerald Abila based in Uganda said: “I am humbled by this award and the recognition of BarefootLaw’s work. In 2013 we set out with the goal to demystify the law and empower people to understand their rights. With most legal support in Uganda based in the capital city, those in rural areas are without access to readily available support.
“Our journey is just starting. With the financial support and mentorship offered through the Prize we will be able to grow and support more people to protect themselves, their families and communities from legal wrongs.”