As Kenya nears its jubilee year of independence this December, Google has launched a doodle competition dubbed Doodle 4 Google in a move that will see the kids use their artistic talents to design the best doodle and stand a chance to win for themselves and their schools prizes worth over Ksh 1.6 million (about $19,000) in school fees and grants.
Open to all students aged 6-18 attending standard 1-8, high school or secondary school in Kenya, the top doodle will be displayed as Google.co.ke homepage logo to be seen by millions worldwide.
According to Farzana Khubchandani, Head of Marketing Google Kenya speaking to TechMoran, Google is this year, in celebration of Kenya’s Jubilee year, challenging students across the country to design a unique “doodle” using the theme “My Kenya”.
“The overall winning entry will be displayed for 24 hours on the Google Kenya homepage while the winner will receive an award of Ksh 800,000 (about $9,500) worth of school fees, a Ksh 800,000 (about $9,500) technology grant for their school and an Android tablet device for themselves and their teacher,” she added.
The competition will have over 200 Semifinalists selected from standard 1-8 and secondary from froms 1-4 across the country.
30 Finalists will then be selected by an expert panel of judges, then 10 top entries again selected from the three class groups of Standard 1-4, Standard 5-8 and secondary school form 1-4. Out of the ten, 3 national finalists will be selected by a round of public voting online and finally 1 National Winner will be selected by Google’s official Google doodle team.
Those interested should complete entry forms not later than Friday, June 14. The winner will be announced July 26. Kenya’s local judges include Caroline Mutoko, a female radio personality and an AMREF Goodwill Ambassador; Churchill (Daniel Ndambuki), Kenya’s top comedian and a pioneer of the “laugh industry” in Kenya; Farzana Khubchandani, Country Marketing Manager for Google Kenya and Juliani Musik, an award winning entertainer and an ambassador of positive change in Kenya.
The doodle logo competition is not being introduced in Kenyan for the first time. In 2010, 12 year-old Priyanka Shah’s I love football doodle won the local Doodle 4 Google competition which she said has helped strengthen her faith and build confidence in her art skills.
Though this year’s doodle is an open competition, the creation of doodles is a responsibility of a team of talented doodlers and engineers who on holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists design doodles to match the day.
However, the doodle idea wasn’t conceived in a closed door meeting.
In 1998, even before Google’s incorporation, Google founders Larry and Sergey placed a stick figure drawing behind the second “o” in the word, Google as a comical message to Google users that the founders were “out of office”. That first doodle gave birth to a new way of celebrating notable events and people.
Two years later in 2000, Larry and Sergey asked the then current webmaster Dennis Hwang to produce a doodle for Bastille Day. It was so well received worldwide that Dennis was appointed Google’s chief doodler and doodles started showing up more and more regularly on the Google homepage.
Google also recently celebrated the late prof. Wangari Maathai with a special doodle for her environmental conservation efforts.
At the moment, the doodler’s team has created over 1500 doodles for Google homepages around the world. The chance for kids in the Kenyan school system to design a doodle to be featured on Google’s homepage is no mean feat.