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Two Kenyans win UN award for innovative social start-ups

The 2015 SEED Awards had a special focus on Africa, with 25 awards given to enterprises in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. PHOTO | COURTESY
The 2015 SEED Awards had a special focus on Africa, with 25 awards given to enterprises in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Two Kenyan entrepreneurs have won United Nations agencies-sponsored awards for their innovative social start-ups.

The Kidogo Early Childhood Centres and Botanic Treasures were recognised for being innovative businesses that help to meet sustainable development challenges.

The SEED awards are sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Botanic Treasures, one of the 25 SEED award winners for 2015, uses traditional farming techniques of small farmers to grow the highly beneficial Moringa oleifera tree, process the plant and market health food products nationally and internationally.

Over 1,000 individuals are employed across the value chain, providing economic stability for rural communities.

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The Kidogo Early Childhood Centres was selected in the gender equality award category for offering high-quality, affordable and safe childcare options for families living in urban slums, allowing mothers and caregivers to work and attend school.

The centers employ local women while supporting a local micro-financing programme that provides local women with a packaged business idea to start or grow their own micro-businesses in child care.

“Innovative enterprises like theirs demonstrate the tangible benefits of a low-carbon, resource-efficient approach to economic growth to communities, investors and partners. Their work exemplifies the green economy transition that will help realise the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate agenda to be agreed on this year,” said Achim Steiner, a UN under-secretary general and Unep executive director.

The 2015 SEED Awards had a special focus on Africa, with 25 awards given to enterprises in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. A further two SEED Gender Equality Awards go to women-led enterprises that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment as their core objectives.Contributions came from 55 countries.

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