The Best of Zambia nominated for 2013 World Summit Award

The story of how thebestofzambia.com got nominated as World Summit Award National Nominee's 2013, with an insight into our long term vision for the website

thebestofzambia.com is a 2013 WSA nominee
thebestofzambia.com is a 2013 World Summit Award nominee!

The World Summit Award examines almost 500 of the world’s best e-content websites and ICT projects from 168 countries. We’re excited to announce that thebestofzambia.com has passed the first round, and has been selected to be one of them!

For this recognition, we have Silumesii to thank

It all began for us on June 27th. We got an email from Silumesii Maboshe of Pencil Case Studios. “I am canvasing the country to submit Zambian applications and content for the World Summit Award. This is a proud moment for me as I’d like to nominate “thebestofzambia.com” in the e-Culture & Tourism category. Would The Best of Zambia approve of this?” What do you think our response was? Apart from a big fat yes, I told Silumesii I was grateful and humbled by his thoughts of us. For the moment, in order to achieve what we do, every member of our team has their heads down. We are thankful for people like Silumesii, who go out of their way to make us aware of opportunities like this. So, Silumesii went on to nominate us, then we completed the further information required for the application, and now, we proudly find ourselves going through to the next round.

Our vision

My, my, we have a big vision! Like many, everything we have done so far has been achieved through a combination of bootstrapping, lucky breaks, almighty risks, personal investment, unexpected blessings, and the support and sideline cheering from some fantastic people. What we have right now, is far from the final picture our team holds firmly in our minds.

Firstly, because we work on the web, our product will never be ‘finished’. It must continuously evolve with changing technologies, target audience needs and culture. Secondly, we are currently working towards our design and development team spending three months reworking the site to bring it up to date. Frankly, this is simply a question of affordability. We will find a way because you have to invest in order to grow. This will be the third major overhaul of the site and the next restructure will include:

  • Making the site mobile (cell phone) and tablet friendly
  • Providing a space for an online marketplace
  • Giving more prominence to events, offers and jobs
  • Enhancing the site navigation so website users have a clearer, easier, and more exciting journey of discovery through the site
  • Embracing new theories on gamification, attraction marketing and website performance
  • A rebrand that will make our image more applicable to other African markets

Now I must stop, before I give away too many inside secrets to the competition! For the moment we are incredibly blessed to have been given the badge of ‘World Summit Award National Nominee 2013’.  This is what Joseph Brown, our CEO had to say about it:

“We believe Africa’s time is now. We know our history, we know our greatness, we know where we are going. Through thebestofzambia.com, we are showing the world that there is more to Africa than what you hear and read about. I want to thank each member of our team. We are ordinary people who are doing incredible things. I want to thank those businesses and service providers without whom we cannot have achieved this recognition. Our promise to you all is we will deliver the best of the web, and tell your story through this website. Being recognised by the World Summit Award is for us only the beginning of the long and glorious journey we are making with the businesses and people we represent.”

The World Summit Award process

Well if that sounded like an OSCAR speech, you wait if we get further! It would be great to proceed through the rounds. If only we had that vision complete when the judges look at our work…. This is what is going to happen next:

  1. In the first round of the international competition, an online jury will valuate the ventures, creating a shortlist of 15-20 projects in each of the eight categories (e-Government and open date, e-health and environment, e-learning and science, e-entertainment and games, e-culture and tourism, e-media and journalism, e-business and commerce, e-inclusion and empowerment).
  2. After this, in a three-day process in late August, the WSA Grand Jury, consisting of international renowned ICT experts and industry leaders, will meet in Tallinn, Estonia. Jury members come from all continents with backgrounds in the creative industries, telecommunication, advertising, journalism and research, and teaching. They will evaluate the submissions from the nominees that passed the online evaluation, selecting the 40 best products.
  3. Finally, the 40 world’s best e-content applications (five products in each of the WSA categories) are selected to present their products in front of an international audience in Colombo, Sri Lanka in October.
  4. At the event, an on sight jury will again evaluate the products and select eight overall winners: The WSA Global Champions 2013.

About the World Summit Award

The World Summit Award (WSA) is an initiative of the United Nations World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) organised by the International Center for New Media (ICNM), Salzburg, Austria. It selects and promotes the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications. WSA demonstrates the local diversity and rich creativity of ICT use and is a global hub for everyone who values the crucial importance of local content, to make today’s information society more inclusive.

To conclude, we’ve shed some light on what we are doing in the next website overhaul. We design for the people of Zambia, and the international audience with an interest in Zambia, all of whom are hungry for accurate, up to date information. Do you have any suggestions for what you want to see on the new website?