Founded in South Africa in 2007, Praekelt Foundation is a social-impact technology organisation with a simple mission – create technologies to improve the lives of people in emerging economies. We design and build open source, scalable platforms that allow anyone with a mobile device to access vital information and essential services – putting wellbeing in the palm of their hands.
Over the last ten years, our projects have reached more than 100 million people in over 36 countries, solving problems in the fields of health, education, finances, gender equality, and citizen engagement.
Private sector expertise, development experience
Praekelt Foundation is the offspring of a digital marketing agency. This allows us to merge private sector expertise in digital communications with experience in international development. We’re not a family foundation giving out grants; our
work is funded by international development agencies, NGOs and social enterprises.
We use open source technologies. We believe real change can only be achieved through collaboration, so we want our achievements on one project to be able to help someone else on another. This also gives our technologies a much longer lifespan than the projects we build them for. You’re welcome.
Fixed on mobile
Cellphones are ubiquitous in the developing world. So for us, mobile isn’t an afterthought. It’s the way to reach people. We start with the most accessible mobile channels, like SMS, USSD and Voice, and work our way up to mobi sites and apps for entry-level smartphones.
Our projects are built for scale from the start; we create massive platforms that reach millions of people, wherever they are. In addition, our platforms are built to integrate with existing large-scale systems. Because no one who ever wanted to change the world ever said “Think small”.
People first. People last. People in the middle.
Finally, we believe when you’re using technology to help people, those people probably have some pretty good ideas about how they’d like to be helped. So we don’t just design with our users in mind. We actually design with our users to understand the challenge and come up with the best solution.
Nine Years of Innovation
Innovation isn’t always complicated. One of our earliest and most direct successes, TxtAlert uses simple text messages to remind people to take their medication. More than that, it also empowers them to schedule and plan appointments and take their health into their own hands.
Youth Engagement Portal
A free-to-access mobile site created by Praekelt Foundation, YoungAfricaLive connected 2 million young people to each other to discuss sex, love and relationships in the time of HIV and AIDS. Now, this model of engagement is providing
young people in four countries with an opportunity to chat, learn and make better decisions.
Vumi, our open source mobile messaging platform, allows organisations across the world to send essential information, monitor elections, track service delivery and give citizens a voice. With more than 100 million messages sent to almost
20 million people, Vumi is used by an ever-increasing number of organisations across the world.
Working with the National Department of Health in South Africa, we’ve created a mobile health platform which links every
pregnant woman in South Africa to national health services and gives them a voice. With over 700,000
users in South Africa and more than 95% of clinics participating, the MomConnect model has just recently expanded to Nigeria and Uganda.
The Free Basics Incubator
Co-founded by Facebook, the Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics is a programme to empower 100 social change organisations to deliver content and services via mobile. In the next year, we’re opening up our content
management system to allow any organisation to use the tools we’re developing for this programme.
We’re embarking on a new era of development that combines everything we’ve learned and built until now. We’re creating a single platform that unifies multiple technologies to create a locally-installed, integrated mobile infrastructure. An infrastructure that will allow millions of people to access and influence national-scale programmes and systems.
What's Important to Us
We have an amazing team of people working at Praekelt Foundation. We work hard to keep hiring people who are smarter than us or who bring new skills to the team, so we can continue to learn from each other. Whilst recruitment is obviously important for our growth, keeping our team happy and motivated is something that drives us all. We have a fairly flat hierarchy and as we're a growing business, there is plenty of room for you to grow within the company or find a new niche for yourself which enables you to further develop your interests and skills.
Flexible work environment
We have offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Abuja, New York and London with additional team members in Netherlands, Berlin, Glasgow and Hyderabad. Our team have the choice of working from home or from the office - we work hard to create an inspiring work space in our offices because we want you to have the opportunity to interact with colleagues, but ultimately the choice is yours how you'd like to work.
We're passionate about technology and see it as a way to amplify all that we do. Our tech team is constantly researching and testing new tools and processes, and using open source with the ability to rapidly iterate and test. We compete head to head with traditional IT vendors and platforms.
Our Hiring Process
We are still a relatively small team, so we believe it's particularly important to take the time needed to make sure we find new team members that will fit in well with the team and our ways of working. We don't use external recruiters, preferring to rely on personal referrals, head-hunting and direct advertising. We prefer not to rush our hiring process to ensure that we have time to really get to you well and to give you time to get to know us and be comfortable that Praekelt Foundation really is the right company for you. Once you've joined us, we hope you'll build a long career with us, so we believe that time spent upfront is a good investment.