Maps Maponyane joins panel of Google's 'Idols'

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TV personality, Maps Maponyane has been announced as one of the judges for the South African debut of the Google Impact Challenge. Nicknamed the "Idols" of Non-Profit Organisations by the Public Policy and Government Relations Southern African, Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, the annual competition will feature a pool of 12 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) who are afforded the opportunity to launch a tech-based solution to problems within their communities.

Maponyane shared his eagerness to be part of the competition as a judge. As someone involved in the social entrepreneurial space, running an NGO such as Bursary Network.com, has allowed him firsthand experience in the NGO space. "I'm really looking forward to how people can change a thought pattern that I may have had about something and give me that real aha moment and make me think that's exactly what we need and that is easily accessible for people to use and change their lives."

Mgwili-Sibanda explained that the panel was selected for the reach of people they are exposed to who are in different backgrounds. "The judges were selected specifically because they are leaders in their various fields and they are people who are not only influential but they are also interested in humanitarian work," said Mgwili-Sibanda.

Motivated by a recent Samsung competition where he encouraged entrants to explain how they would use a cell phone to better someone else's life, Maponyane encouraged people to enter Google Impact Challenge. "Think out the box, put your feet in the person that you're trying to impact and really think about whether it's practical for them to use your innovation. And, keep it simple."

From the entrants of the competition, 12 will be chosen by the judging panel including other big names such as business woman, Basetsana Khumalo; actress, Nomzamo Mbatha and Simphiwe Dana. Of that 12, four winners will receive $250 000 and support from Google. The eight runner ups will receive $125 000. All entrants must have a registered NGO.

There will also be a public voting category opening November 5, the winner in this category is part of the top four that will receive the $250 000 and support from Google. Entrants are encouraged to enter even if their projects are new ventures that are still in their infancy. The competition is only open to South African audiences. The support received will include mentorship and access to other NGOs affiliated with Google South Africa.

Mgwili-Sibanda noted that in the past years, NGOs have been experiencing difficulties with funding, creating an issue where millions of South Africans cannot access necessary services either from government or NGOs. "So what we are doing here is providing a pot of money, resources and mentorship on how they can use their own technologies, their own programs and reach more people."

Former winners of the international competition include Centrepoint, an initiative that aims to not only create a space to rehabilitate homeless youth but monitors their journey in changing their lives Applicants can apply at: https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/southafrica2018

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