AfricaCom 2011 awards: Safaricom bags two awards

By James Ratemo in Cape Town, South Africa, jratemo@gmail.com

Kenya’s leading telecom, Safaricom, has won two AfricaCom 2011 awards for innovative technology and life changing solutions in Africa.

The company bagged Changing Lives Awards, for the successful Kenyans for Kenya fundraising initiative and Best ICT Solution Provider for Enterprise Markets in Africa for its tele-presence technology in Kenyan courts.
Receiving the awards on Wednesday night in Cape Town South Africa, Safaricom’s Communications Director, Nzioka Waitta expressed his joy to the Nation saying the company bagged the Changing Lives Awards for the very successful drought fighting initiative that was Kenyans use MPESA’s pay bill service to fundraise for the drought stricken in northern Kenya.

The Kenyans for Kenya project aimed at raising Sh500m in four weeks to feed approximately four million Kenyans facing starvation.

Using MPESA, Kenyans were able to make donations, starting at Sh10 to raise funds that w2ould go towards the Kenya Red Cross Appeal. Transaction fees were waived. Withing four weeks, the amount raised was three times more thatn wahat Kenya Red cross Society had been able to raise in six months through their initial global appeal.

Safaricom has been approached by OXFAM’s regional office to spearhead an Africa for African’s initiative.
Safaricom’s tele justice, a two way interactive video for conducting judicial proceedings, allows judges to monitor behaviour individuals on probation, permits crime victims to testify at parole hearings without travelling to a meeting where an inmate is present, and provides an alternative to inmates’ travelling to court for parole hearings.

The solution is based on the Cisco Tele-presence technology which Safaricom proposed and was commissioned to deploy on a pilot basis for the Kenya appellate Court between Nairobi and Mombasa.

The Appellate court is a circuit Court that has historically experienced huge backlogs due to the constraints of Appeal Court judges having to travel between the cities to hear cases.

The Tele justice project enables Appeal Court Judges seated in Nairobi to hear and rule on cases filede at the court of appeal in Mombasa, which is around 500km away, in real time over high resolution video conferencing.

Over 500 cases that formed a large backlog of cases have been heard at the Mombasa Court of appeal. This is due to increased availability of judges to hear cases over the tele-presence technology.

Orange crowned for best new service: Surf and Pay. Surf and Pay is a 3G Wi-Fi router with embedded billing software which allows businesses to charge end users for connecting to the Internet at their cyber cafe, hotel or restaurant.

With this solution, one gets an administrator’s account for managing all the features through a user friendly interface. It allows one to create user names and passwords, create own pricelist, choose way to charge end users, limit down load speed or volume per user, print vouchers, monitor online and active Internet users in real time and obtain daily, weekly or monthly reports.

Ericsson bagged the rural telecoms award for increasing accessibility of services in rural and under-served Africa with MTN South Africa crowned for best network improvement.

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