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Award winning mobile community portal YoungAfricaLive launches in Kenya

Source: WebAfrica
Published by Kelly Levinsohn on Jan 31st, 2012
YoungAfricaLive (YAL), developed by Praekelt Foundation and hosted by Vodafone, has launched in Kenya and is a substantial addition to the award-winning mobile community portal’s presence in East Africa which commenced when YAL Tanzania launched on 1 December 2011.

Launched by Praekelt Foundation in 2009 in South Africa, YoungAfricaLive started out as a way of providing young South Africans with free access to information on love, sex and relationships in a time of prevalent HIV/AIDS in Africa, through their mobile device. It has now developed into a community of young adults who engage with another to gain reliable information, discuss issues, have fun and gain the support and input from their peers.

A 2005 study showed that 60% of Kenya’s unemployed are under 30, and where UNICEF statistics reveal 20% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day. In addition, research published by the World Bank indicates that 6.3% of Kenya’s population of 40.5 million is HIV positive, many of whom are young adults. These results indicate a strong need for support and engagement for and among the youth population of Kenya around HIV/AIDS and unemployment.

In bringing the vibrant mobile community to Kenya, Praekelt Foundation has partnered with leading integrated communications firm, Safaricom which now allows young Kenyans to share and discuss the issues they confront daily, via their mobile phone. Safaricom has invested heavily in bringing Internet access to the Kenyan people. According to government data, nine out of every 10 Kenyans who access the Internet regularly do so through the Safaricom network.

Nzioka Waita, Safaricom’s Director of Corporate Affairs says that “This partnership is key to our digital inclusion agenda. We believe that the best way to improve the utility and therefore take-up of the Internet among the youth of Africa and Kenya in particular, is by having relevant content on it and making it accessible to them. Being in the vanguard of the Internet explosion in Kenya, we have the network to deliver YoungAfricaLive’s socially relevant and well-packaged message to as many young Kenyans as possible.”

Having already launched in South Africa and Tanzania in partnership with Vodacom, YAL South Africa already has close to 1 million unique users while YAL Tanzania has already established a strong presence in the country with a steadily growing user base since 1st December 2011. The Praekelt Foundation and Safaricom hope to achieve the same success in Kenya.

“To follow-up a very successful launch in Tanzania late last year with YoungAfricaLive: Kenya is a great way to start 2012,” says Gustav Praekelt, founder of the Praekelt Foundation. “We are confident that young Kenyans will embrace the mobile platform with the same passion that their South African and Tanzanian counterparts have and use it to create a community that informs, supports and entertains.”

In November 2011 Praekelt Foundation was acknowledged for the success of YoungAfricaLive by winning the regional and global gold awards for Social Impact at the Mobile Marketing Awards for Innovation, Creativity and Leadership in Los Angeles.

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