Kenyan whiz kids chosen for BBC digital pilot
Two groups of Kenyan tech innovators have been selected to help the BBC reach young African audiences through social and digital platforms.
The young digital specialists from Go Sheng Services and Ongair were chosen from 13 teams from across Africa and the US.
They had all participated at a BBC “hackathon” event held in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
They will be funded to pilot and user test prototypes over six months.
“I am delighted that the first Africa-based BBC Connected Studio event, aimed at driving innovation using local expertise and knowledge, has produced such a high level of creative ideas,” said Dmitry Shishkin, BBC World Service Group digital development editor and judging panellist.
The two teams selected had put the user at the centre of their propositions and had impressed the judges with the distinctiveness of their proposals, he said.
Go Sheng Services, which is an organisation that seeks to preserve Kenya’s Sheng language and culture, came up with the concept of using local languages as a means of connecting with younger audiences.
“It has been a life dream to work with an organisation like the BBC, and I am so pleased that the team’s hard work has paid off,” said Go Sheng team manager Euticus Mola, 24.
Ongair’s idea is to engage with younger African audiences in a way that recognises their needs and interests.
The company has used instant messaging platforms to reach customers and audiences in the past.
“We’re really surprised and excited to go through to the next stage,” said Trevor Kimenye, 30, the Ongair team leader.
During the two-day BBC hackathon, teams presented ideas on how to use technologies to enable users to access content at low cost and identified ways to ensure faster interaction with audiences.
More than half of African browsers currently come to BBC.com using their mobile devices – a proportion that is expected to grow in the future.