UN Announces SEED Award Winners 2011 With Focus on African Entrepreneurs
Women Win Recognition for Innovative Businesses
Nairobi, 15 December 2011 From a company that transforms groundnut shells into fuel briquettes in Gambia, to an enterprise that has developed solar ovens in Burkina Faso, to an initiative that trains and employs street youth to collect waste materials in Ghana, which they then transform into handmade designer products, to a business in Kenya where women produce aloe-based skin care products, these are just some the 35 winners of the 2011 SEED Awards, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.
And this year, in addition to the general SEED Awards, a special Gender Equity Award was announced as part of SEED’s partnership with UN Women. This award is part of an initiative that will not only fulfil the general criteria of the Awards but in addition is women-led, or owned, and prioritises gender equality or women’s empowerment as a core objective.
As last year, in addition to seeking innovative start-ups throughout the developing world, the 2011 SEED Awards have a special focus on Africa, placing particular emphasis on initiatives from Burkina Faso, Cameron, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. This focus is part of a larger project linked with UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, which is funded largely by the European Union’s Green Economy and Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship in Africa.
The annual international SEED Awards, which is part of the SEED Initiative, recognise inspiring social and environmental entrepreneurs whose grassroots businesses in developing countries can help to meet sustainable development challenges.
The SEED Initiative — hosted at the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) — is a global partnership for action on the Green Economy. By helping entrepreneurs to scale-up their activities, the SEED Initiative aims to boost local economies, tackle poverty and improve livelihoods, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.
The Award winners will receive from SEED a package of individually-tailored support for their businesses, access to relevant expertise and technical assistance, and profiling at national and international level at conferences and through the SEED’s partners and associates.
All the SEED winners will be honoured at a high-level award ceremony in South Africa which will form part of the SEED Green Economy Symposium at the end of March 2012.
The 2011 call for proposals saw applications from 76 countries, representing the collaborative efforts of non-governmental organisations, women and youth groups, labour organisations, public authorities, international agencies and academia.
Most of the applications were in the agricultural and rural development sectors, as well as in energy and climate change, ecosystem management, and biodiversity. Many entries at the same time addressed micro-enterprise development, IT applications, and education and training.
The winners were selected by the independent SEED International Jury of experts.
The 2011 SEED Gender Equality Award Winner