PSC wins the 2009 Lotus Award for Best Philanthropy Solution

December 18 2008

The 2009 Edition of the Lotus Awards were announced today and PSC won for the Best Philanthropy Solution! Here is a brief overview of the winning solution:

Africa Challenge S.A. (ACSA), has joined with Zain, Africa’s most successful pan-African mobile network, to create the Zain Africa Challenge (ZAC).  ZAC, the first-ever televised academic competition among students at African universities across the continent, is a major undertaking for ACSA.

The Zain Africa Challenge (ZAC) is an event that celebrates higher education in the continent of Africa.  ZAC unites students and creates a forum for like-minded individuals and educators to meet and collaborate.

A great benefit of the ZAC is the social networking that begins as students from many nations intermix and compete.  These future leaders come to respect peers from neighboring countries that have often had poor relations. The leaders are learning the value of networking, education, and collaboration.

The collaboration tools of Notes/Domino and Lotus Sametime allowed the local staff in Africa to work closely with the worldwide authors and editors, providing better localization of the content. The result is a product that is more responsive and accurate to the people of Africa. In fact, the real-time collaboration tools of Lotus Sametime changed the entire process and has reduced costs and transformed the ZAC cultural for the better.

In the end, automating this process with Lotus Notes/Domino, the ZAC was conducted flawlessly for students from 100+ universities across Africa and will reach an estimates 250 million people with the televised events.

Some specifics about the application:
For the third season of Zain Africa Challenge, Universities in Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone join those in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Each country holds it’s own national qualifying tournaments, with the top 32 teams competing in the International Championships & Festival in Kampala, Uganda in Feburary 2009. The additional countries were added to the Notes/Domino application without significant investment, allowing the production team to focus on the content.

The collaboration tools of Notes/Domino and Lotus Sametime allowed the local staff in Africa to work closely with the worldwide authors and editors, providing better localization of the content. The result is a product that is more responsive and accurate to the people of Africa. In fact, the real-time collaboration tools of Lotus Sametime changed the entire process and has reduced costs and transformed the ZAC cultural for the better.

In the end, automating this process with Lotus Notes/Domino, the ZAC was conducted flawlessly for students from 100+ universities across Africa and will reach an estimates 250 million people with the televised events.

and more on the philanthropy side of the project:
In a region where basic human needs are met by few, thoughtful corporations are investing their time and money to build a generation of educated leaders to lay the foundation for a better future.

The Zain Africa Challenge (ZAC) is an event that celebrates higher education in the continent of Africa.  ZAC unites students and creates a forum for likeminded individuals and educators to meet and collaborate.

At a practical level, universities and the student participants are provided over $1,000,000 (USD) in annual grants.  These funds are used to further the educational process and build leaders.

A great benefit of the ZAC is the social networking that begins as students from many nations intermix and compete.  These future leaders come to respect peers from neighboring countries that have often had poor relations. The leaders are learning the value of networking, education, and collaboration.

Even more important, however, is the television broadcast of this event.  By demonstrating the power of a domestic higher education to the populous, ZAC students bring hope to even more young minds.

Hope is an essential part of change in Africa.

I am so proud of the PSC team, including Alex, Luis, Ross, Eric, and others. My partner-in-crime in this project is Sri .. he and I have worked so many hours to make this solution become reality. I am so personally involved in this project. I started working with the folks who manage ZAC many years - they were my first customer when I was 20 years old. So this win is very personal. Being part of an effort to bring education and networking opportunities to Africa is a dream come true. Thank you to IBM for recognizing the efforts of everyone involved.

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