All Projects

Creating new forms of interaction between governments & citizens

GEM - Going the Extra Mile

Project type Innovation 

Country South Africa 

Support £35,000

“GEM is helping to establish a sustainable online relationship between civil society and the public and private sectors to work hand-in-hand towards a common goal; social development.” — GEM


GEMS earned by 250 volunteers by planting 2400 trees during the first pilot


users by July 2015

Start date
July 2014
End date
August 2015
Period: 14 months


Can citizen-led local governance be encouraged through an innovative digital reward system?

Going the Extra Mile aims to find out whether an incentive system can really support communities in leading their own development and brokering partnerships with local government.


Going the Extra Mile (GEM) incentivises ordinary people to engage in community improvement projects by using an alternative payment system of mobile rewards, or GEMs. One GEM is equal to one South African Rand, and GEMs are earned by participating in Going the Extra Mile’s supported projects – anything from community clean ups to the building of a vegetable garden.

Once earned, GEMs can be spent in a variety of shops, supermarkets and online stores who have signed up to be corporate sponsors. So far, sponsors have provided mobile airtime, prepaid electricity, grocery vouchers and movie tickets in exchange for GEMs.

The Going the Extra Mile team hopes that by bringing together government, the private sector and technical partners to work on community projects, it can build trust and establish meaningful and sustainable links between local government and citizens.


Going the Extra Mile is a non-profit organization which started in 2012.

This project was an nominee of the SEED Innovation initiative, won at the 2013 Rize Mzansi and received Runner-Up at the Global Innovation Competition 2014.