Maxine Moffett

Ashoka Fellow
Yaounde, Cameroon
Fellow Since 2012

Citation

This profile was prepared when Maxine Moffett was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
To circumvent the high costs associated with Internet use, Maxine has created an online platform, Bridge Africa, which hosts the websites of individuals, small businesses, and citizen organizations (COs), along with other useful tools, for a small fee. Consumers are then able to access this platform and communicate with others on it by using their mobile phones to send and receive information at the cost of an SMS. In this way, Maxine empowers individuals with affordable access to useful information on the Internet and a mechanism by which they can identify, communicate, and collaborate with others on Bridge Africa in common.

Through Maxine’s organization, Bridge Africa, she trains individuals, small businesses and COs to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in their work, and to develop websites that provide useful information on their services to a national and international audience. She has twenty trainers in all ten regions who act as physical intermediaries to train Cameroonians and get more people connected through Bridge Africa’s online platform. Maxine publicizes the benefits of bridging the digital divide and the need for low-cost Internet access through television and radio shows she hosts.

Bridge Africa’s outreach efforts to improve digital literacy, its promotion of the value of the Internet economy in traditional media forums, and its low-cost solution to Internet access, all contribute towards increased demand for Internet service provision and digital infrastructure. Eventually, this growing demand will spur competition among Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and ultimately lead to improved digital infrastructure and lower Internet costs. Maxine has built a grassroots effort to open up the digital world to small businesses, the citizen sector and consumers and created a lab in which the transition to a digital economy can take place.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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