Anne Githuku-Shongwe

Organization: 
Afroes Transformational Games
Year founded: 
2009
Country: 
South Africa
Website: 

Afroes develops mobile phone games that engage and inspire social action among young people across South Africa and Kenya.

Focus: Education, Technology
Geographic Area of Impact: Kenya, South Africa
Model: Hybrid Not-for-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 150,000 (2012)
Annual Budget: US$ 220,000 (2012)
Percent Earned Revenue: 75%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013

Background
While Africa’s growth rates soar in select countries offering fresh hope for better lives, the reality of the daily lives of the majority youth population is different. African youth present an interesting paradox to the continent's future. On the one hand the mobile revolution has created massive potential to engage, inform and educate youth. Yet on the other hand, these 400 million connected, disempowered and jobless youth are considered a threat to the stability of countries and a burden to states. Some of their main challenges are limited jobs - on average 72% of youth in African countries are unemployed - and economic opportunities, lack of access to education, skills and information necessary to empower them to make the right choices. But perhaps an even more fundamental challenge is the dominant mindset of disempowerment, hopelessness, apathy that these socio-economic conditions engender among many of the unemployed, low-income and poorly educated youth.

Innovation and Activities
Afroes aims to change mindsets of young Africans by developing leadership and problem solving skills through innovative and engaging digital games. Afroes has designed and implemented several social change games including: MORABA, an award winning mobile-game that addresses difficult questions on Gender-based Violence; ChampChase, which addresses issues of child abuse and child protection; and HAKI, a game series built for Kenya by Kenyans to address civil rights issues facing the society. The Afroes value proposition is uniquely designed for the African mobile market to create compelling and relevant interactive content but also to ensure deep reach into the hands and pockets of the target user.

As Afroes builds relevant content for the youth market, it sought creative approaches to overcome content distribution challenges and ensure adoption. Building on previous projects, Afroes has further developed the concept of community-based youth representatives for distribution and data-gathering. The Afroes Mobiv8 Network is a growing team of community-based sales reps who are contracted to ensure distribution of the mobile learning content in the greater community where they are based as well as to gather data and insights.

Afroes also offers tailored content for a fee to companies and organizations eager to reach the youth market in an innovative and engaging way. One example is a partnership with an African bank to develop a digital game to teach financial literacy. This business-to-business model has been the main source of Afroes revenue to date. Another source of revenue has been in-game advertising through Nokia with HAKI in Kenya. Elsewhere, Afroes has begun the process of licensing its mobile content to Ministries of Education and NGOs in Africa but now also in other regions of the world.

The Entrepreneur
Anne is the Founder and CEO of Afroes Transformational Multi-Media & Consulting. Anne is committed to Africa’s agenda for transformation in partnership with Africa’s citizens and global partners. She has a proven track record in providing innovative strategy and policy solutions to countries, including high-level advisory services to Governments and their Cabinets. Prior to establishing Afroes, Anne has worked as an International Development professional with over 20 years of social and economic development experience working with the United Nations and Management Consulting firms across Africa, Asia and the United States. Following her departure after 15 years with the United Nations, Anne was selected to co-author and facilitate the development of the Long-term Strategy for Africa’s Conference of Ministers of Public Service in October 2008. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Lawrence University, New York, a Masters degree in International Development from The American University, Washington DC and a post-graduate Certificate in Management Development from Jones International University in conjunction with the UNDP.