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Former Liberian Salvation Army student earns 'incredible' award

Former Liberian Salvation Army student earns 'incredible' award

Former Liberian Salvation Army student earns 'incredible' award

Smiles all around: Weeglo intern Sylvester Gbelley. left), Weeglo founder Thomas Guwor and volunteers Diana West, Agatha Togba and Adeen Juwillie.

By Darryl Whitecross and IHQ Communications

Thomas Guwor, an alumnus of The Salvation Army William Booth High School in Liberia, has won third place in the 10th annual Orange Africa and Middle East Social Venture international grand prix.

At a virtual awards ceremony during the Africa Tech Festival, Thomas was awarded a prize on behalf of his company Weeglo, for innovation in its e-learning platform. The festival is the biggest technology fair in Africa, with awards sponsored by international mobile telephone network, Orange.

Weego’s software has been successfully piloted across The Salvation Army’s schools in Liberia, including William Booth High School in the capital Monrovia, making it possible to continue providing learning opportunities to thousands of students during the west African country’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Thomas said it was an honour for Weeglo to receive such an “incredible” award. He said Weeglo’s entry needed to go two phases before qualifying for the international phase – a local selection process and national judging.

Sara Buchanan, who oversees the Orange Social Venture Prize in Liberia, said each Orange affiliate sent the business plans of its top three national winners to Orange Groups. “This year, 42 were sent out of 1300 projects,” Sara said. “Weeglo, our national third-prize winner then went on to win the third prize overall for the Orange Social Venture Prize International competition.”

Since 2011, the prizes have recognised innovative projects and start-ups associated with the use of mobile telephony. Each has had an impact on society, by improving the quality of life of people in Africa and the Middle East in the fields of education, healthcare and agriculture or mobile payment, e-commerce and sustainable development.

Weeglo said that, out of about 30 projects submitted nationally, Weeglo made it to the top 10 before being awarded third prize. Those three winners were then qualified to enter the international competition. After series of presentations, Weeglo again made it to the top three.

Weeglo, which Thomas founded in 2019, aimed to provide access to quality education in a way that is cost-effective, reliable, equitable and sustainable.

The platform enables schools to control all aspects of a blended learning management and delivery system including classroom activities, grading system, registration, online testing, live video meetings and teaching, and more. It allows students, teachers, administrators, educators and parents to interact as well as to access educational resources such as the national curriculum, course guides, course notes, lesson plans, schedules, e-books and other supplementary digital learning resources.

Materials are made available through a person’s mobile and computer devices. More than 7000 downloads of the Weeglo software have been registered from the Google Play Store alone.

The Salvation Army’s Director for Education in Liberia, David Massaquoi, said Thomas’ award was “well earned”.

“Thomas’s vision for education in Liberia and Africa created the impactful Weeglo project, an education innovation that provides remote learning solutions specifically tailored for schools in Liberia,” David said. “The Salvation Army is proud to have piloted this project at no cost. As the alma mater of this brilliant, award-winning software developer, we are extremely proud of his success story and contribution to education.”

David commended Thomas for “giving back to our school system” and the Liberian education sector during “these times of tremendous need”.

From a report by Liberia and Sierra Leone Command and IHQ Communications

 

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