African Waste Entrepreneurs

Scoop Numerous SEED Awards

Zero Waste to Landfill at Boeing's New Dreamliner FacilityThe Shea Economic Empowerment Program in Ghana is among this year’s SEED Award winners. The organisation aims to improve the livelihoods of shea nut producers through training and access to technology
19 April 2011

A Symposium focused on the policies needed to accelerate the transition to a ‘Green Economy’ has seen over 200 participants meet with the 30 global winners of the Strategic Entrepreneurial Economic Development Initiative (SEED) awards.

According to SEED the awards recognise inspirational social and environmental entrepreneurs whose businesses can help meet sustainable development challenges, boost local economies and alleviate poverty.

By helping entrepreneurs to scale-up their activities, SEED says that it aims to refocus policies towards promoting Green Economic initiatives such as waste management, transport and renewable energy.

The latest winners largely come from Africa, placing particular emphasis on initiatives from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa. Together with Egypt, these are pilot countries in a joint project between SEED and UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative which is funded largely by the European Union.

Among the winners were a bamboo bicycle project in Ghana that makes use of the country’s vast bamboo supplies, and a Ugandan enterprise manufacturing stationary from agricultural waste.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “Governments and public policymakers can learn a lot from how these entrepreneurs have catalysed creative solutions to local challenges and in doing so generated livelihoods, employment, environmental benefits and ways of eradicating poverty within and outside their communities.”

Winners from Africa’s waste industry include:

Kenya flagKenya:

Papyrus Reeds, Our Future Hope: A sustainable enterprise that harvests and processes papyrus reeds and crafts them into high-quality baskets, purses, carpets, chairs, sleeping mats and blankets, using the waste as natural manure. Community-based youth organisations and a local research institution implement the initiative.

  • EcoPost – Fencing posts from recycled post-consumer waste plastic: International and national NGOs have launched this unique initiative to recycle waste plastic into aesthetic, durable and environmentally-friendly fencing posts and consequently reduce plastic litter on streets and open fields. By providing an alternative fencing product to traditional wood, EcoPost contributes towards the conservation of forests.

rwanda flagRwanda:

Production and distribution of pressurized biogas in gas cylinders: This initiative has been developed by a private company, an international NGO and government organizations to produce and store pressurised biogas for cooking made from urban, domestic and industrial wastes. Environmental benefits are achieved by offering an alternative firing material to firewood and charcoal.

south africa flagSouth Africa:

Resentse Sinqobile Trust, trading as Zondi BuyBack Initiative: A local NGO and government institutions have teamed up to establish this comprehensive buyback centre to recycle, reshape and sell household waste such as cans and plastic. Natural resource protection, the reduction of litter, increased employment opportunities and an educational program are among the impressive results of this initiative.

  • Reclaiming Livelihoods – Mooi River Waste Reclaiming: This initiative led by a community-based organization, an international NGO and a government department has a high impact on local waste pickers who earn an income from recycling waste. By formalising the workforce and providing shelter, protective clothes and technical equipment, attractive job opportunities are created.
Uganda flagUganda:

Oribags Innovations (U) Ltd: A private enterprise initiated by a research institution and local NGO to manufacture hand-made paper bags, printing paper and jewellery from agricultural wastes including wheat straw, elephant grass and other natural fibres. Oribags offers an eco-friendly alternative to polythene bags and empowers women entrepreneurs.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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