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Africa Teen Geeks founder receives global recognition

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Lindiwe Matlali is founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks South Africa.
Lindiwe Matlali is founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks South Africa.

Africa Teen Geeks (ATG) founder and coding advocate, Lindiwe Matlali, has been recognised as one of the 23 international change-makers that are advancing social innovation.

Matlali, who founded the non-profit organisation that allows access to computing education in townships across SA in 2014, has been awarded the 2020 Social Innovator of the Year Award.

This year’s social innovators recognition, championed by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), honours those innovators that responded to the needs of those disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement, the Schwab Foundation and WEF launched the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs with the goal of aiding social entrepreneurs during the crisis and its aftermath.

The alliance, which consists of over 60 global members, representing over 50 000 social entrepreneurs globally, launched an action agenda outlining ways to support social entrepreneurs as first responders to the COVID-19 crisis.

The honourees were selected by the Schwab Foundation board members in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

Among the list of social innovators are founders and CEOs, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognised experts – who are said to have made deeply meaningful contributions to the world.

Some of their works includes building hospitals in rural India, empowering black communities in Brazil, providing financial resources to communities in Ghana, harnessing artificial intelligence and big data – to promoting equity in education in South Korea, and breaking the glass ceiling in the public sector in Spain.

Matlali says she is profoundly honoured to receive such a prestigious recognition.

“Through my own personal experience as a young person struggling to access resources and observing that same struggle amongst poor communities today, I discovered my passion for computer education and its potential and this is what makes this acknowledgment all the more significant.”

The 2020 Schwab Foundation awards are hosted in partnership with the Motsepe Foundation.

Precious Moloi-Motsepe, co-chair of the Motsepe Foundation, comments: “The 2020 Social Innovators of the Year prove that the complex work of reducing inequality and transforming society is possible by instilling human-centred innovation with principles of equity and justice into the levers of policy, finance and research.” 

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