Problem: Period poverty – global phenomenon affecting millions of women and girls whom lack access to safe and hygienic sanitary products and a conducive space to use them. This results in the inability of these women and girls to manage menstruation without shame or stigma, resulting in social exclusion and exacerbating inequality.
Solution: SunnyCotton is a social enterprise and a reusable menstrual pads provider with an innovative business model. Its production processes and materials are locally sourced, providing an eco-friendly, sustainable and cost effective option to a hygienic sanitary product for women and girls.
Goals and objectives: To provide low-cost and sustainable sanitary pads by maximizing product efficiency and enhancing end-user experiences, empowering women and providing decent employment.
Implementation: SunnyCotton pads became commercially available in Thailand in early 2018. Its materials and production processes are locally sourced. By leveraging its own e-commerce platforms and its partners stores to distribute and merchandise its pads, SuttonCotton is able to provide cost-benefits to its users. Marketing and advertisements are conducted via social media and conventional mass media such as television, newspaper, magazines and at cloth pad hand-making workshops.
The reusable pads come in four different sizes: Panty liner (S), Regular (M), Heavy (L) and Night (XL). They have a lifeline of about 5-10 years depending on usage and maintenance. For a longer lifeline, it is advisable that users avoid using harsh detergents, ironing on high heat, intense rubbing and unwashed soiled pads kept for a long duration. The pads comes in a water resistance series are designed with a nylon lining to prevent downward leakages while the all cotton non-water resistance series are more breathable and dry quicker. The pads also come in an eco-friendly hemp series, durable with natural antibacterial properties made of hemp fabric.
SuttonCotton builds partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises.
Achievements: SunnyCotton provides $66 in annual cost savings to its customers. With each purchased pad, about 12-60 pieces of disposable pads are saved, contributing to waste reduction. SunnyCotton provides valuable jobs for village women who build on their traditional sewing and weaving skills. It also empowers women by providing valuable information on sustainable alternatives of feminine hygiene, helping to build their confidence and negate stigmas of isolation.
Ms. Kesinee Jirawanidchakorn
SunnyCotton P.O. Box 104, Talad Kamthiang, Chiang Mai 50304
Phone: +66 834748802
Problem: According to the WorldBank, around 50 million hectares of land in Nigeria is underutilized. Farmcrowdy responds to the increased need for food production to keep up with the needs of a growing population in Nigeria.
Solution: Farmcrowdy is a free platform which links farm sponsors and farmers. It is a one-stop-shop that allows users to be alerted via notifications once a farm is open for sponsorship, allowing users to generate a profit while sponsoring a rural farmer.
Goals and objectives: To increase food production in Nigeria while promoting youth participation in the agriculture sector.
Implementation: Farmcrowdy was founded in 2016 by Onyeka Akumah as Nigeria’s first-ever digital agricultural platform linking farm sponsors with farmers to increase food production. Users could identify a farm of choice and sponsor as many units as they can afford. Followers also have the option to follow a farm that interests them, without paying for it. Farmcrowdy allows you to acquire relevant knowledge through updates, blog posts, and other agriculture-related information.
The company plans to continue expanding their reach in order to continue to empower local farmers, positively impact their lives and their families while boosting food production and sustainability in Nigeria.
Achievements: Since launching in 2016, Farmcrowdy has empowered over 25,000 small-scale farmers across Nigeria and it has been able to utilize over 16,000 acres of farmland, reached over 80,000 in farm sponsorships, reared over 2.8 million chickens and has over 50,000 farm followers. It has won numerous awards in recognition of the impact of this innovation.
2nd Floor, Plot 5A, Block 114, Akiogun Street (Oniru Market Road), Oniru, Lekki Phase 1,Lagos, Nigeria
Phone: +234 909 999 9830
Problem: Kenyan 14 million farmers are faced with farm productivity of only 30% and about $5 billion input loses due to uninformed farming decisions, poor usage of seeds, fertilizers and unprocessed data on environmental, soil and weather factors.
Solution: UjuziSensor is a sensor-based soil testing kit that establishes an everlasting information sharing session between farmers and the first ever consolidated database covering accurate data in the whole farming lifecycle and allows the farmer to have affordable access to precise, accurate, easy-to-understand and actionable farming and market information through their mobile phone.
Goals and objectives: UjuziSensor aims to increase productivity through precision insights, leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence to enhance the efficiency of small holder farmers.
Implementation: UjuziSensor is developed by UjuziKilimo founded in 2014 by 24-year-old Kenyan Brian Bosire, who was raised on a farm and was motivated by the struggles of his parents who dealt with the financial consequences of poor harvest each season after investing time and money. At the age of 19, Bosire invented a simple device for his mother to use, which would allow her to stick the device in the ground and immediately determine which crops could result in maximum yield, the amount of fertilizer needed and optimal seed varieties, so that to decrease the risk involved in the traditional approach to farming.
The device is cost effective, easy to use as testing process takes a field agent about five minutes to read the results and another two minutes for the results to be transmitted to the farmer. The device can assess data from about 10 acres of land. The device utilizes GPS for farm location, weather conditions and soil qualities. Based on the results, UjuziSensor provides advice on fertilizers, seeds and specific crop management to optimize harvest. Precision farming reduces the risk of using the wrong quantities and high cost on fertilizers, enhances soil conservation and increases productivity.
In 2017 10 young field agents were trained in sales, soil testing and other relevant agribusiness skills.
Achievements: UjuziSensor has brought real time farm data to Kenyan farmers, providing targeting services based on analytics resulting in $100 savings on fertilizer and a further $100 in extra income. The device optimizes input usage by 95% and productivity by 80%.
Suite 558, Kilimani, Nairobi,Kenya
Phone: +254 (0) 20 2611 248
Problem: Despite a flourishing tourism industry in the Komodo Islands community, its fishing community is confronted with a multitude of challenges including scare fresh water supply, soaring temperatures and polluted fishing waters as a result of high plastic use.
Solution: Komodo Water is a social enterprise that provides access to clean water and sustainable water management by optimizing and managing the current local water resources, transforming various raw water conditions into fresh and safe drinking water based on an environment sustainable approach. Komodo Water provides water quality by employing suitable and reliable technologies to the serviced communities. The enterprise also provides a much needed additional income source for the local community operating ice makers and a water treatment facility.
Goals and objectives: To provide solar powered fresh water and ice solutions for fishing communities that increases economic output, while protecting the environment. Komodo Water’s ice last longer than normal ice packs, allowing fishermen to go fishing further from areas where they reside.
Implementation: Komodo Water is part of Tinamitra Mandiri Group of companies, established in 2010 with a focus on providing sustainable solutions to development challenges. It seeks to become a leading provider of clean energy and leading player in utilizing alternative and sustainable energy sources while providing sustainable community development initiatives.
Komodo Water employs efficient reverse osmosis machines and icemakers powered by solar technology. It purifies brackish water of TDS 9000 ppm into water with drinking quality of TDS 11-13 ppm certified by Indonesia’s National Health Department. Komodo Water produces and sells 5 tons of drinking water daily. It also makes ice blocks for fishermen, fish sellers, and tourist boats.
Beyond providing clean drinking water, Komodo Water also strives to advance human development of the entire community by supporting community empowerment, ensuring that the community is integrated in the economic value chain of its enterprise. It sponsors entrepreneurship program, community education, and other activities.
It also partners with other actors across the world and provides consultancy services franging rom geo-electrical survey, water drilling, water processing & technology and water business management.
Achievements: Komodo water has provided water security for 2,000+ families, reducing infant and children deaths caused by contaminated water. In addition, it has reduced plastic waste in the sea by 1,000 plastic packs per day and the switch to the use of clean solar energy has reduced diesel fuel consumption by 14,400 liters, avoiding the emission of 9,720kg of CO2.
The enterprise has empowered the community, by providing a lucrative mechanism they can participate in as new business opportunities for retailers and distributors of water and ice. This has earned an additional $ 98,000 annually for the fishermen of the community by improving their handling and transportation processes. The longer lasting ice blocks has led to sales increase of about 50% as the innovative cooling system ensures that the catches last fresher and longer.
It has also enhanced the skills of the community towards the maintenance of the machines and conducting community based development initiatives.
In recognition of its contributions, it has been shortlisted for the 2019 SEED Low Carbon Award for Clean Energy.
PT Tinamitra Mandiri
Manhattan Square Building, Mid Tower, Floor 23 Suite D
Jl. TB. Simatupang Kav. 1S, Cilandak Timur, Pasar Minggu, RT.3/RW.3,
Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta 12540
Problem: 20% of sub-Saharan Africa’s cereal output is lost or wasted due to Aflatoxins - contaminants produced by fungi, harmful to humans and animals as a result of inadequate drying of grains before storage.
Solution: GrainMate is a grain moisture meter - a device that allows farmers and grain purchasers to accurately determine the moisture content of harvested grains before storage to help reduce post-harvest losses. The device measures moisture levels of maize, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, and other grains at an affordable price ($80-100), less than a fourth of similar products in the market.
Goals and objectives: To assist farmers across Africa cut wastage, minimize economic losses, and improve the efficiency of grain value chain.
Implementation: GrainMate was developed by a dynamic team of millennials located in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana that were inspired after a meeting with a team from Feed the Future PHL Innovation Lab and USDA in January 2018. With a combined 25+ years of professional experience in hardware and software design, agronomy, business development and marketing the Sesi Technologies team are passionate about tackling poverty and hunger by empowering African farmers with affordable technology that will assist in increasing productivity of grain produces.
By applying cheap and locally manufactured technology, the team at Sesi Technology develop hardware and software solutions for farmers and other related stakeholders in the agriculture value chain. In May 2018 Sesi Technologies got its first contract to supply 120 units of GrainMate to AMPLIFIES.
The GrainMate device functions by inserting its probe into a bulk sample of grain whose moisture is to be tested. After powering the device, a selection of the grain to be tested is made from a grain selection menu and 5 minutes later a digital readout of moisture, temperature and humidity reading is displaced on its LCD screen. The GrainMate is a lightweight and portable handheld device and provides an accurate reading of relative humidity +/- 2% over given range and temperature +/- 0.2°C.
Supported by a small teams of designers and researchers, Sesi Technologies have made significant improvement on the original device, redesigned its circuit board, built an accompanying mobile app, and employed five local subcontractors to manufacture components that had previously been sourced from China.
Achievements: Thus far, over 300 GrainMate have been purchased, representing over $20,000 in sales and preparations are in progress to scale the technology for use in Nigeria and Kenya. GrainMate has been endorsed by the USAID and World Food Programme. The team and technology have gone to receive considerable media attention and recognition, including exhibitions for the Presidents of Ghana, France and Germany at various fora.
Plot 18, Block 7
Ayeduase New Site
Mr. Isaac Sesi, Co-founder
Phone: +233 (0)50135 9999
Website: https://sesitechnologies.com/ t: @sesitechgh f: @sesitechnologies
Problem: Inefficient agricultural practices and weak value chains in Nigeria results in agricultural yields that are a third of global yield averages and post-harvest losses ranging between 40-60% annually, compounding an already high poverty rate.
Solution: Kitovu is a digital platform that collects, analyzes, and aggregates soil, field and market demand data. These data enables the right soils to be matched to the right soil and crop specific fertilizers, improved seedlings, and agrochemicals, while connecting farm produce to markets; resulting in increased crop yields and reduced post-harvest losses.
Goals and objectives: To assist farmers in Nigeria and across Africa enhance the yield of their farm products, reduce post-harvest losses, minimize economic losses, and improve the efficiency of grain value chain.
Implementation: The solution was developed by Kitovu Technology company, founded in 2016. Kitovu uses data to eliminate guesswork and supply chain inefficiencies in African agriculture, leveraging emerging technology. Its technology provides farmers with soil and crop specific fertilizers which guarantees increased yields since the fertilizers take into account the soils nutrient levels, and the crops nutrient requirements; as well as improved seedlings for optimal yields. Its robust plant health analytics technology enables Kitovu provide farmers with ongoing decision support. The Kitovu platform also provides via its offtake network, a guaranteed markets for farmers, at all times; while also leveraging on farmer data to provide input financing to smallholder farmers.
The mobile app is free for Kitovu’s channel partners who onboard farmers. Suppliers and Produce buyers pay a fee to use the platform. Kitovu takes a 5% commission on the sales.
Achievements: Kitovu has increased farmer’s yield by over 300%. To date, they have worked with over 10,000 farmers across 6 states of Nigeria, working with 157 trained youths as channel partners. Kitovu is a recipient of several national and International Awards; Nigerian Innovation Awards 2016, Total Startupper Awards for Innovation, 2016, Nigerian Agricultural Awards, 2017 (Nominee), The World Bank/ Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research Ideas for Action 2017 competition where they placed first out of 943 teams from 118 countries, as well as the Africa Prize for Innovation 2018 Shortlist. The Kitovu solution was also included in the top 50 global solutions in the 2018 Youth Solutions Report of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth.
Emeka Nwachinemere, CEO and Founder
4B Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority,
Oyo road, Niko, Iseyin, Oyo State
Phone: +2348062148183, +2348182291334, +2347087646430
Problem: Energy consumption depends directly on the conditions of ventilation, temperature and light in our homes. If the house is very warm, we will probably use air conditioning. And if it has few windows, we will rely more on artificial lighting. Currently, the buildings sector accounts for a significant 39 per cent of total energy-related CO2 emissions, according to The 2018 Global Status Report.
Solution: La Casa Uruguaya (The Uruguayan House) is a sustainable and intelligent housing project inspired from bioclimatic architecture and equipped with technology that can increase energy efficiency and accelerate climate action.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to reduce energy consumption while offering a sustainable and accessible lifestyle.
Implementation: With this challenge in mind, a group of students, graduates and professors from the ORT University Uruguay created La Casa Uruguaya (The Uruguayan House), a sustainable and intelligent housing project inspired from bioclimatic architecture and equipped with technology that can reduce energy consumption while offering a sustainable and accessible lifestyle.
The living unit consists of a house inside a box, according to the ORT University Uruguay. The insulation prevents heat and cold from entering. It has two ceilings—one on top of the other—and, between the two, moving parts that can be remotely opened or closed in order to regulate indoor temperature. Windows are strategically located to improve lighting.
The house is self-supplied with solar energy, notifies inhabitants of energy misuses, has a water reuse system, and sensors that help to regulate temperature, humidity or lighting. The unit can be installed in only 15 days and costs between US$50,000 and US$90,000.
Achievements: La Casa Uruguaya won major prizes at the Solar Decathlon Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015, an international academic competition organized by the United States Department of Energy. In 2016, the project received a National Energy Efficiency Award in Uruguay. Currently, the team members market the project in their country and the region.
Bologna s / n between Av. Italia and María Luisa Saldún
Phone: +598 2505 34 62
Problem: The carbon footprint of plastics production is very high due to the manufacturing process. The footprint of carbon determines how much impacts to global warming a certain product. So other technologies seriously affect the natural ecosystem and the planet's carbon cycle, causing a deterioration and increase of the average temperature of the planet.
Solution: Biofase has developed a unique technology for the manufacture of biodegradable products derived from the avocado pit, which is disposable and not edible.
Goals and Objectives: Along with other plastics made from food waste, Biofase’s biopastics could help meet the growing demand for plastics without hampering progress in the fight against hunger.
Implementation: Scott Munguía, a young Mexican chemical engineer, discovered in 2011 that the avocado seed contains a biopolymer similar to the one present in corn, which is used to produce bioplastic. In 2014, he founded Biofase, a company based in Monterrey that commercializes bioplastic products, made of 60 per cent avocado biopolymer and 40 per cent synthetic organic compounds.
The straws and cutlery made from avocado seeds decompose in only 240 days, and there is no need for incineration. This makes them a sustainable alternative for cities or countries that lack incineration facilities in their waste plants.
Unlike other types of bioplastics, this alternative does not use crops suitable for human consumption—such as corn or cassava. The carbon footprint is much less than other plastics and bioplastics, including paper. This is largely due to a phenomenon called bonus of biogenic carbon, which explains that the Avocado tree, when growing, absorbs CO2 of the atmosphere to form its tissues. This phenomenon does not occur in the production of any plastic derived of the oil.
Achievements: Reduces consumption up to 60% plastic derived from oil without need to be treated in a way special or to separate for recycling.
Biofase’s products have a great manufacturing potential. According to Munguía, 300,000 tonnes of avocado seeds are discarded annually in Mexico, an estimated 20 per cent of the global demand for bioplastics.
Prior to the creation of Biofase, all biopolymer products had to be imported from other countries into Mexico. Biofase, through its patented technology, became the only biopolymers producer company in Mexico. Now Biofase lead the production of biopolymer in Latin America, exporting bioplastic products to more than 19 countries.
Scott Munguía, Biofase founder
Phone: +52 800 999 1183
Problem: Annually, 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide and 7 million plastic bags are consumed every minute.70% of them end up in the environment. The one-piece polyethylene shopping bag takes up to 500 years to decompose.
Solution: Solubag is a biodegradable material for the creation of non-polluting that completely dissolve in water in 5 minutes without contamination.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to eliminate single-use plastic bags.
Implementation: Roberto Astete and Cristian Olivares, founders of Chilean start-up Solubag developed the solution in 2014.
Solubags uses limestone instead of oil by-products. It has zero environmental impact compared to other alternatives like oxo-biodegradable bags, which are still made of polyethylene and break into small pieces of toxic plastic.
The chemical formula of Solubags contains polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a material found by Astete and Olivares while analysing biodegradable detergent capsules.
Solubag’s raw material can be extruded in any plastic extrusion machine, which allows it to be scaled very fast.
Achievements: The solution is recognized as the best innovation in Latin America, a prize awarded at the Summit Conference held in March 2018 in Chile.
The innovation is expected to be widely accepted in Chile, where a ban on plastic bags in large businesses came into force in February 2019. Solubag currently produces in China and is considering installing a factory in Tomé, Chile.
Problem: Marine pollution from human activities can be found at all points across the ocean's vast expanse, including at the surface.
Solution: BluePhin is an autonomous robot that can collect floating waste in commercial water bodies, with zero carbon emissions. It is one of the world’s most technologically advanced waste management solutions.
Goals and objectives: The solution collects plastic, algae and other debris to tackle marine pollution in lakes, ponds, canals, marinas, ports and coastlines.
Implementation: The solution was developed by young inventors Irfan Vakkayil, Simran Chowdhry and Anand EP in 2018 and is currently implemented in the UAE. BluePhin Bluephin is powered by Artificial Intelligence.
Bluephin can either be steered by a handheld joystick or run in autonomous mode, either around a set course or within a set perimeter. It runs silently and safely on rechargeable batteries and includes collision avoidance software. It can hold up to a third of a ton of rubbish before it needs to be emptied and it poses no threat to marine life. It takes eight hours for waste management companies to collect one tonne of trash using two boats and labor. Bluephin does it in two hours.
The current vesion of the solution is working prototype and setting up multiple pilot programs both regionally and globally. Currently, the BluePhin team is working with Dubai Municipality and have an MOU with Bee’ah to convert into pilots.
Achievements: The solution offsets more than 10,000 tons in carbon emissions only during testing in comparison to the waste collection operation in water.
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Simran chowdhry, Co-founder
Problem: Almost 80% of Sudan is dry and agriculture depends basically on rainfall, a situation that creates challenges with regard to food security. Recurrent droughts often cause limited productivity in most areas particularly east Sudan where most of the population is threatened by hunger. In some areas the rainfall is within 120 – 150 mm/annum that does not support agriculture. Cultivated lands complete the season and produce a negligible amount of grains. The agricultural fields with crops that produced almost nothing are left for livestock as residues with the disappointment of poor farmers. The land is observed as in desert conditions as figure (1) indicates. The greenfield is the cultivated area which is always a failure.
Solution: In 2008 a group of field development experts in collaboration with the University of Khartoum Consultancy Corporation (UKCC) headed by engineer Adil Khidir planned a dam to be constructed across the watercourse that traverses the field area. The watercourse brings water during the rainy season from the eastern high lands every three weeks and the water disappears in three days.
Goals and Objectives: The objective of the dam is to hold the water for longer period and spreads on both sides of the watercourse.
Implementation: The project was developed in east Sudan, launched in 2009 and maintained to present.
The dam was built as a joint work involving the UKCC, an NGO and the community of farmers and village people. It was only 60 cm high with a one Km arm extending on both sides. The water spreading system spreads the water over 1600 hectares, increases the moisture level in the soil and provides for agricultural success.
The solution achieved food security represented in agriculture, range, livestock and forest products. The community of farmers is managing the project with the assistance of extortionists and community leaders. People produce grains, milk, meat, forest crops and water.
The 1600 hectares were divided among 400 families (4 Ha each) who continued to cultivate the land from 2009 up to the present. Each family produced almost 12 sacks of grains/Ha i.e 40 – 50 sacks per the 4 hectares (see figure 2).
Figure 1. Agriculture fields under 120 – 150 mm/annum
Figure 2. Agriculture fields under crops after the dam construction
Figure 3. Water pools, forests, range and livestock
Achievements: The farmers have their problem of unsecured food being completely solved. Food is secured. The farmers created an artificial water pool at the terminal of the arms where the water collects for livestock watering. Forests and range developed.
The dam construction across the watercourse and its success in achieving food security and natural resources development encouraged the IGAD with its partner the GIZ to construct another dam across another watercourse in the area to secure food.
Partners: UKCC, Plan Sudan, local communities, IGAD, GIZ
UKCC (Eng. nAdil Khider), Plan Sudan, Coordinator Elnour Abdalla Elsiddig, GIZ
Phone:+249 9 114 39339
Problem: Small-scale dairy farmers often living in remote areas don't have access to valuable information about latest prices of milk or cattle, and they may not keep accurate records of important details such as their cows' gestation periods or their livestock's lineage – often resulting in inbreeding and disease.
Solution: iCow is a text-based subscription information service to improve the productivity and earning power of Kenya's 1.6 million farmers and other small holder farmers across Africa in order become climate resilient and food secure.
Goals and Objectives: To harness the power of mobile phones to encourage best practice for dairy farmers and increase milk production.
Implementation: iCow was conceptualised in October 2010 after the founder Su Kahumbu Stephanou an ardent organic farmer, was encouraged to enter the Apps4Africa tech hackathon sponsored by the US State Department. Su was at the time designing a product she had named Mkulima Farmer Information Service and Hotline (Mkulima F.I.S.H), a comprehensive agricultural extension service available to farmers over mobile phone. Building on her experience and interactions with smallholder farmers Su recognised that to be successful, farmers needed access to knowledge on good agricultural practices in both livestock and crop production. She thus set out to develop a service that would enable farmers access the vast amounts of content and verified agricultural knowledge available in the regions agricultural institutions, in a format that would be in line with smallholder production systems, simple, cost effective and real time.
Mkulima F.I.S.H was designed to including content on crops, livestock, soils, farmer health and the environment. Being competitive in nature, Su took on the challenge to enter the hackathon with a component of Mkulima F.I.S.H, the cow gestation calendar, and named her entry iCow.
The gestation calendar was designed to solve the problem of lack of monitoring a cow during its pregnancy. By monitoring each cow adequately farmers reduce the risk of illness and death at birthing as well as increase their chances of a healthy calf and optimally productive mother cow. iCow required farmers register individual cows onto the platform after which they begin to receive reminders on dairy cow best practices and actions needed to increase their productivity.
Achievements: In 2012 iCow won the Vision 2030 Award for Agriculture in Kenya and was a finalist in the same year for the Innovation Prize for Africa.
Cow 2.0 was designed to scale across Africa and released on October 18th 2015. The development supported by Accenture has positioned iCow as a one of a kind solution for smallholder farmers on the continent. 2016 saw a deployment of the platform in both Tanzania and Ethiopia.