SA’s Jamii Life & Kenya’s Wazi will share £50,000 Skoll Venture Awards after being named joint winners at the 2020 Skoll Venture Awards. The two will each take home £22,000 in grant funding.
Jamii Life, founded by Zeenith Ebrahim, is a social venture that aims to redesign home care delivery in South Africa through technology, specialized health worker training and a flexible service model.
Jamii Life provides a technology platform for patients, families, and home caregivers to provide exceptional care, and their mission is to increase accessibility to quality care eventually across the whole of Africa.
Jamii Life also won a £6,000 Audience Choice award, voted for by attendees of the live-streamed pitch event.
According to Zeenith, ‘We are so grateful to the Skoll Centre for taking us on this journey. We’re excited about the opportunity to partner with the Skoll team as we work to grow our impact and to transform the care system for the elderly. In addition, the prize money will be catalytic to our ability to impact the lives of people that can’t care for themselves and to empowering health worker with relevant skills.’
The second winner is Kenya’s Wazi, a digital mental health service connecting individuals in Nairobi, Kenya with therapy services through their mobile phones.
Co-founder Alex Royea who suffered from mild depression, which led to his long-held passion for increasing mental health access and eventually the founding of Wazi in October 2018 said, ‘We’re really excited to use this money to continue pushing mental healthcare for anyone, no matter where they are.’
‘The award will help Wazi make our platform more accessible and effective for broader groups of people who are currently not receiving the mental health care they need. This includes availability through more channels to improve scalability, and investment into building out tools to better measure how people are doing with the end goal of connecting them to the most appropriate help.’
Jamii Life and Wazi were among four social enterprises started in Oxford that pitched their venture ideas to a panel of judges at the Skoll Venture Awards on 12 June 2020.
Run by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, the annual awards give financial support to fledgling social ventures that have been started by University of Oxford students, alumni and staff, and get to the root of some of the significant issues affecting our world. The largest early stage social-impact awards at the University, since 2012 they have granted over £200,000 to 15 social ventures.
This year’s ventures were chosen from among 66 eligible applications from around the University. The other finalists were:
Medboda – providing verifiable and affordable pharmaceuticals directly to patients in Kenya, co-founded by Skoll Scholar Dr Diana Wangari and Oxford MBA alum Nick Andreou.
Solare Energy – a social impact start-up that democratizes access to technology for independent solar installers in Africa, co-founded by Oxford MBA alum Max Boit and Mike Rosenburg.
All finalists have a thorough understanding of the problem being tackled and how their venture addresses the key underlying drivers of that problem. It’s a pleasure to run the Skoll Venture Awards, which is here to support social ventures that accelerate systemic change.’
Dr Peter Drobac, Director of the Skoll Centre, comments: ‘The Skoll Centre exists to help ventures like these succeed in creating lasting positive change in the world. The number of applications and the pool of ventures and talent we’ve seen during this year’s awards was really extraordinary.’