Problem: Soil has the potential to help mitigate the effects of climate change by sequestering carbon. Hugely under-recognized and under-utilized as a storehouse for carbon, the soil has long been excluded from climate change discussions simply because it has historically been very difficult to know how much carbon is held in the soil.
Solution: Until recently, measuring soil carbon levels efficiently and reliably was only possible in a laboratory and with the use of sophisticated equipment. But now a new tool has made it possible to measure, monitor and verify soil carbon levels in the field.
Goals and Objectives: Effectively monitoring soil carbon content and quality in agricultural systems can help decision-makers develop soil protection strategies to mitigate the greenhouse gas effect caused by the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
Implementation: The solution is developed by researchers from the International Potato Center and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). The portable device uses laser-induced optical techniques: Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and Laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (LIFS), to measure soil carbon levels and can be used to improve planning and governance of different agro-ecosystems.
LIFS system was developed and patented by EMBRAPA-Agricultural Instrumentation. EMBRAPA and CIP have tested the devices in numerous agro-ecosystems of Brazil and southern Peru to confirm their accuracy, reliability, and ease of use.
Partners: The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA)
The International Potato Center
Tel. +511 3496017
Address: Avenida La Molina 1895, La Molina
Apartado Postal 1558, Lima, Peru
Problem: Agriculture in Africa faces challenges such as overreliance on rain-fed agriculture, outdated farming technologies and minimal youth inclusion in the sector.
Solution: The Greenhouses sensor is a simple solar powered gadget integrated into modern greenhouses that automate irrigation by allowing to monitor temperature, humidity, soil moisture and most importantly regulate the water supply which is channeled through drip lines and link them up to the farmer’s mobile phone.
Goals and Objectives: The new technology dubbed Smart Mobile Farming to ensure low costs for managing the greenhouse is aimed at conserving water and provision of virtual greenhouse maintenance. The aim of the solution is to help farmers juggle between farming and other chores and at the same time help to keep the water bills low, especially for urban smart farmers.
Implementation: The solution is developed and implemented by Illuminum Greenhouses, Kenya, an Agri-Tech greenhouse and drip installation company in Kenya working with smallholder farmers to improve productivity and increase efficiency through the use of new modern technologies.
Greenhouse farmers can now monitor temperature and soil conditions while far away thanks to an automated sensor gadget that communicates about the greenhouse conditions to the farmer through their mobile phones. They can be able to open and close their irrigation system as well as query and get alerts on their current greenhouse status i.e Temperature, Humidity and Soil Moisture content via SMS. This can be done from anywhere and any time of day just by sending a simple SMS to their greenhouse. This means that a farmer doesn’t require to be available to monitor their greenhouse and execute the action as the sensor gadgets identify the problem and fix it.
The greenhouse automation system works by measuring and monitoring specific conditions needed for optimum growth of plants. This is done by electronic sensors that continuously monitor these set parameters and if exceeded rectifies the situation and notifies the farmer via an SMS alert. This data collected by the sensors is also dynamically updated to an online server for analyses to provide information such as graphs e.g temperature against time. These graphs are stored for up to a year so as to assist the farmer to plan for the next season as he/she will be able to know which months have the appropriate optimum conditions for growth.
This system is powered by solar panels thus green and can work in rural areas where electricity is a challenge. It has an 18Watt Solar panel and a battery which is charged by the panel during the day and then provides the system with the required power during the night. The battery can go for 5 days without any charge making it a very durable system.
Achievements: So far, Illuminum Greenhouses has built about 1,200 greenhouses across East Africa, with 5,500 Smallholder farmers using their technology (€7500).
Budget: The automated system currently goes for Ksh. 35,600 due to the high costs of electronic components and assembly here in Kenya. It is expected that these devices will be fabricated soon in bulk and retail as low as Ksh. 15,000 (USD150) to make it affordable to all smallholder farmers. Installation charges are only Ksh. 2,300(USD23). However, the system is designed to be very easy to install from the box to enable anyone to install. This shall be the cost of a complete system comprising of the Main Unit, Watergate valve, temperature sensor, humidity sensor, and soil moisture sensor.
Also, the system shall be based on the number of sensors a farmer acquires with the very basic system consisting of the Main Unit, a water gate valve and a soil moisture sensor costing only Ksh.8,900.(USD 89).
Address: Bishop Magua Centre, Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya
Phone: +254732613501, +254732613531
Problem: Droughts had pushed the Ngwate Ngutuike Self Help Group in Masii, Machakos County to extreme poverty, forcing them to find alternative ways to survive as relief from the government and other relief agencies couldn’t sustain them.
Solution: Sand dams (some times called more general groundwater dams) store water under the ground. A sand dam is a small dam built above ground and into the riverbed of a seasonal sand river.
Objectives and goals: Sand accumulates upstream of the dam, resulting in additional groundwater storage capacity. Similar to sand dam a subsurface dam obstructs the groundwater flow of an aquifer and stores water below ground level. Sand and subsurface dams are suitable for rural areas with the semi-arid climate in order to store only seasonal available water to be used in dry periods for livestock, minor irrigation as well as for domestic use. The solution also contributes to the reduction of contamination by livestock and other animals since water is under sand and filtration of water flowing through the riverbed sand improves water quality
Implementation: The solution is implemented by the Utooni Development Organization (UDO), a non-governmental organization, based on the early works of Utooni Development Project, a community-based self-help group formed by Joshua Mukusya in 1978. Its vision is to build peaceful, healthy and happy interlinked self-sufficient communities through justified sustainable development. The solution has been tested and implemented in three Kenyan counties, benefitting 4,795 households.
Practical implementation steps include:
Mr. Kevin Kamuya, Program Manager
Machakos, Eastern Province, Kenya
Problem: Kenya has 5.4 million hectares of arable land, but only 17% of this land is suitable for rainfed agriculture; leaving the remainder in need of irrigation and pumping technology. Petrol, electric, and manual treadle pumps are presently available in the market, but the effectiveness of these technologies is constrained by high input costs and labor inefficiencies.
Solution: RainMaker2 is an affordable, practical and smart solar-powered irrigation solution.
Goals and Objectives: With just the power of the sun, smallholder farmers can increase their agricultural productivity and incomes, while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Implementation: The solution is developed by the SunCulture, aspired to tackle the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform the world with the RainMaker2. The revolutionary ClimateSmart™ technology enables this by using Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to analyze data from a variety of sensors and give farmers simple and accurate advice via SMS on how they can improve their practices without aggravating the environment, through excessive water usage, for example. The RainMaker2 with ClimateSmart™ meets and exceeds the SDG of availability and sustainable management of water for all. It analyses the weather and soil on the IoT platform to give guidance on how much to irrigate and monitor pump power consumption to see if the farmer could benefit from more efficient methods (e.g., drip irrigation), thus reducing the impact agriculture has on the earth’s freshwater resources while simultaneously improving yields for the farmer through precision agriculture. SunCulture’s RainMaker2 with ClimateSmart™ has the potential to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in a changing climate.
Achievements: The solar powered irrigation system allows to achieve higher yields at lower costs, can lift up to 3,000 liters per hour, optimize performance in any weather condition, send SMS alerts for weather-based irrigation timing and dry run protection, and even power lights, radio, phone charger and many other 12V and 24V appliances.
236 Owashika Road off Isaac Gathanju Road, Lavington
Phone: +254700327002 or +254742963700
Solution: A Multistripe Laser Triangulation (MLT) scanner has been adapted to scan and accurately show large soil pores (macropores). Using the MLT scanner allows soil hydrologists to predict water movement by comparing soil when it’s dry to when it is saturated with water.
Goals and Objectives: Predicting water movement in soil is important for understanding recharge rates of aquifers, making the management of this resource potentially more effective and efficient. This is especially important for agriculturalists in areas that are plagued by drought. The tool could also help scientists and farmers better understand water runoff, soil erosion, how sediment is added to the land (i.e. deposition), and sedimentation of surface water reservoirs. In addition, it could predict how nutrients are transported within the soil.
Implementation: The International Potato Center (CIP) has worked with Rutgers University and the University of Kansas to develop a tool to predict how water moves through the soil. The scanner was originally developed for engineering purposes and was adapted its use to study soil pores and preferential flow.
The MLT offers advantages to researchers in the field of soil hydrology. The MLT scanner is better at detecting and mapping the soil macroporosity when the soil is dry versus when it is saturated with water. Using math to account for the difference between the two states of the soil, one can make predictions about water movement.
Address: Avenida La Molina 1895, La Molina
Apartado Postal 1558, Lima, Peru
Phone: +511 3496017
Solution: The Manual Precision Seed Planter and Fertilizer is a hand/foot-powered planter designed for use by women practicing Conservation Agriculture. Precise quantities of seed and fertilizer are dropped by hand into two funnels, which deposit the seeds into two separate holes in the soil.
Goals and Objectives: The planter is able to plant maize seeds and precise quantities of fertilizer through the surface mulch in all soil types and conditions.
Implementation: The solutions are developed by Triple W Engineering Ltd to improve the poor performance of other Conservation Agriculture planting tools that averaged $80 USD in cost.
This tool will plant through the surface mulch in dry and moist soils. In use, the tool is rocked backward and forward as foot and hand pressure is applied. Prior to dropping a seed, the tool is pushed forward and this creates and maintains the tapered slot in the ground.
One person operates the tool and drops a controlled amount of fertilizer using a small plastic container whose capacity has previously been calibrated for the field and crop requirements.
Details of the Planting Spears: The slots created by two spears maintain a space between seed and fertilizer and prevent direct contact. The spears are made from high carbon steel and resist abrasive wear in sandy soils. The ends of the tubes are flared to ensure the seed and fertilizer are directed into the ground.
The space between the spears increases gradually to reduce friction in the center and prevent blockage by soils when wet. The ends of the delivery tubes are curved to ensure the seeds/fertilizer fall into the holes.
The system delivers both seed and fertilizer to a suitable depth in the moist layer. Using hand dropping ensures that precise amounts of both seed and fertilizer are placed in the optimum positions for most efficient utilization.
Achievements: The resulting precision of seed and fertilizer placement requires about half the normal recommended quantities of seed and fertilizer to be used, allowing for considerable economic savings for smallholder farmers.
Proposed Budget: The Manual Precision Seed planter can be manufactured locally by metal workers for roughly $15 USD.
Mr.Thomas Brian Muckle
Jua Kali Intermediate Technology
Problem: The current excessive application of agro-inputs that costs sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over US $90 billion in health due to human over-exposure and more than US $35 billion on food importation to mitigate threats of food security on the continent.
Solution: The FiKapSy – short for ‘Flying Knapsack System” is a drone system: a spray boom with rotors for crop dusting precision dispersal of agro-inputs.
Goals and objectives: The solution aims to reduce the degradation of the environment and the over-exposure of (mostly) farmers to the harmful synthetic compounds that cause occupational poisoning currently affecting more than 1.1 million practitioners in developing countries like Nigeria.
Implementation: The solution is developed by AMIntegrated Aerial, that builds drones for the task of crop dusting open field farms in rural Africa. For the first time ever while conducting drudgery service of crop dusting, mechanization in rural farms can offer these farmers aerial views of their farms along with other vital information.
Such information may include the size of a farm; condition of crops; surrounding threats. It gives farmers inexpensive insight into expansion potentials beyond their recurrently cultivated areas for some, in over 20 years. Money can then be confidently spent to clear and cultivate farther reaching ends of their lands with informed decisions.
Introduction of this inexpensive drone innovative mechanization displaces today's dependency on the failed use of heavy duty, expensive farm tractors for the purpose of agro-input dispersal in developing economies like Nigeria.
Achievements: The solution can help increase utilization of the 874 million hectares of arable land available on the continent from a mere 32% to over 60% in 3 years while reducing soil degradation from the chemical over-application per hectare by 30%.
The solution can help not just African states but countries in other emerging economies looking to tackle food insecurity, chemical proliferation or simply increasing crop yield by providing a more targeted application process of agro-inputs.
Mr. Ndubisi Arinze Eze
Ikate Bus Stop
Lagos-Epe Express Road
Problem: On 10 September 2016, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 Richter scale hit Kagera Region on the shores of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. A total population of 117,721 were severely affected by the earthquake. 17 people died and 440 people were injured. 26,000 houses were damaged rendering over 117,000 people homeless or living in temporary accommodation. As in other disasters, women and children, people living with disabilities were more affected due to loss of privacy and protective space caused by damaged houses. Nearly 70% of primary schools’ students and 36% secondary school students’ access to education was disrupted due to damage to classrooms and lack of toilet facilities in schools.
Solution: The project is a South Africa – Tanzania project initiated to contribute to rehabilitation and reconstruction of schools and health facilities post the September 2016 earthquake which destroyed houses, displaced people and left several communities vulnerable in Kagera, Tanzania. The goal of this project is to restore the learning environment and provide basic health services to the affected communities. It is a South-South Cooperation initiative, launched with the aim to contribute to rehabilitation and reconstruction of schools and health facilities post the September 2016 earthquake which destroyed houses, displaced people and left several communities vulnerable in Kagera, Tanzania. The goal of this project is to restore the learning environment and provide basic health services to the affected communities. The project supports reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged public infrastructure offered by the government such as schools and health facilities. South Africa has committed itself to continue to support regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve crises, promote peace and security, strengthen regional integration, significantly increase intra-African trade and champion sustainable development in Africa; and continue to promote mutually beneficial South-South cooperation by utilizing engagements with formations and groupings of the South. Based on the commitment above, South Africa has committed to making a financial contribution towards relief efforts in Tanzania related to the rehabilitation of destroyed and damaged infrastructure critical to service delivery such as schools and health facilities. South African expert artisans, engineers and Disaster Management institutions are utilised as far as possible in order to contribute to capacity building and technical and skills transfer to the Tanzanian engineers and artisans.
Provider Country: South Africa
Beneficiary Country: Tanzania, South Africa
Supported by: South Africa, UNDP South Africa
Implementing Agency: Government of Tanzania, Government of South Africa
Project Status: Ongoing
Project Period: Ongoing
UNDP South Africa
Problem: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is not a new issue but it is probably more prevalent than most of us think. IPV is a leading cause of death and disability for women worldwide. Around the world, 35% of women are estimated to have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their life. Georgia and South Africa are not the exception in the high IPV prevalence. In South African official statistics reports one in five women experienced physical violence by any partner. When IPV occurs, the survivor or perpetrator’s friends, neighbours, or family members often witness or suspect what is happening. These bystanders can play an important role in IPV prevention and reduction, offering help to a survivor or helping to impose consequences on the perpetrator. Frequently, however, bystanders look the other way, and survivors are left unsupported.
Solution: The initiative aims to focus on changing the behaviour of bystanders to address or respond to IPV. UNDP Georgia and South Africa, in collaboration with UN Women in both countries, focus on changing the behaviour of bystanders to address or respond to IPV. The initiative aims to equip bystanders with information, skills and tools to enable them to report or act against IPV and to also identify early signs of IPV before it happens and to stop it from happening. This joint study is a great opportunity for two very different countries with a common challenge to learn from each other. In 2017 and 2018, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and the UNDP country teams in Georgia and South Africa and their partners collaborated to apply a behavioural approach to encouraging bystanders’ actions against IPV. The exploratory research indicated that survivors in both countries do not receive sufficient emotional support and they need greater support to access services.
Provider Country: South Africa, Georgia
Beneficiary Country: South Africa, Georgia
Supported by: UNDP South Africa, UNDP Georgia, UN Women
Implementing Agency: UNDP South Africa
Project Status: Ongoing
Project Period: Ongoing
UNDP South Africa
UNDP South Africa
Problem: Rwanda holds the world record for the percentage of females in parliament (61%)and since 2018 Rwanda achieved parity at cabinet level. Despite this impressive report record on female political empowerment, gender-based Violence (GBV) among women and girls remains challenge. At least two in five women (41.2%) experienced physical violence by the age of 15, while more than one in five women (22%) have experienced sexual violence. Estimates show that up to 93% of the victims of physical and psychological abuse were women. The National Gender Status report (2018) indicates that Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a key issue affecting gender equality progress. For example, the Rwanda Demographic Health Survey (RDHS) 2014/15 revealed that 14% of women reported being victims of physical violence within one year preceding the survey. Similarly, sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) prevalence rates are high, with average annual cases reaching 8000. However, SGBV is often not reported, and victims do not receive legal or other assistance.
Solution: The project supports Rwanda to implement systemic approaches to fight GBV and promote gender throughout the country. UNDP Rwanda is one of eight country offices of UNDP in the world that currently hold a Gold Certification in the Gender Equality Seal Initiative! UNDP in Rwanda earned the Gold standard through the implementation of numerous gender-equality promoting activities, both internally and externally which contributed to addressing gender equality gaps. Among the areas where UNDP provided substantive support over the past two decades is the fight against GBV in Rwanda through comprehensive support to the legislative and institutional frameworks as well as programmatic interventions. UNDP Rwanda is the first Country in Africa to implement the egdner equality seal in its three dimensions, the UNDP CO, the public sector and the private sector to ensure that that the laws and policies adopted are effectively implemented at the workplace particularly since many of the previous GBV interventions focused at the community level. In this light, UNDP Rwanda facilitated an exchange visit by a delegation from Ivory Coast, focusing on sharing experiences in fighting sexual based violence. Currently, UNDP is partnering with the Government of Rwanda and the private sector to implement the Gender Equality Seal initiative in the private sector and the public sector which among the six pillars will tackle fighting gender based violence at the workplace. As of today, 38 companies have signed up to join the initiative and 10 of them have started the implementation. UNDP Rwanda is also planning to export this initiative to the media sector where it was proved that around 70% of women journalists face GBV including in newsrooms.
Provider Country: UNDP Rwanda
Beneficiary Country: Rwanda
Supported by: UNDP Rwanda
Implementing Agency: Gender Monitoring Office
Project Status: Ongoing
Project Period: 2018-2023
Governance Team Leader,
Problem: Lack of education and awareness about the environment and SDGs among general masses.
Solution: The Zayed Green Challenge App is an Innovative Knowledge Based Mobile Application, functioning as an innovative educational tool in an entertainment mode to promote awareness and knowledge of the environment and the SDGs in both English & Arabic languages.
Goals and Objectives: The ultimate goal of the solution is to educate and create awareness about the environment and SDGs in a fun and engaging manner, that will appeal to all ages and cross-sections of society. By testing one’s knowledge and raising appreciation of a healthy environment which is the cornerstone of a sustainable future, the Zayed Foundation is taking forward the call to celebrate the precious resources of our Earth while also pledging to keep it sustainable for the coming generations. This is to fulfil the aim of promoting sustainable development through achievement of SDGs, especially Goal 4 that calls for ensuring inclusive and quality education for all as it is the key to build the human capacity and create awareness that will allow many other SDGs to be achieved.
Implementation: The solution is developed by the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment in 2017.
The Zayed Green Challenge App is an engaging game app that innovatively incentivizes knowledge and awareness of the environment and SDGs through fun games with exciting prizes and encourages lifelong learning among all ages and cross-sections of society, empowering them to respond and act positively to the pressing environmental sustainability challenges.
On 6th December, 2017, UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3) in Nairobi, Kenya, the Zayed Green Challenge app chosen three winners to reward with cash prizes of US$ 100, 50 and 25 respectively.
The application is available for free download via Android and iOS app stores.
Achievements: Incentivized mass participation by people from all age groups and different sections of the society including Schools and University students, working populations from private and public sectors and general public, thereby, enabling dissemination of knowledge about the environment and SDGs.
Available for free download, internationally, the Zayed Green Challenge smart app has reached 99 countries with a total downloads of 6,649.
Budget: USD 30,000
United Arab Emirates
Dr. Meshgan Al Awar, Secretary General, Zayed International Foundation for the Environment
Tel: +971 4 3163130│Mobile: + 971 50 4537733
This pilot project aims to promote an innovative concept that can encourage the youngest people to adhere to social entrepreneurship. The project also seeks to illustrate the transformative power of socially innovative companies.
Due to conditions such as insularity, size and income, São Tomé and Príncipe faces several development challenges. Although average annual GDP growth has exceeded 4% since 2012, poverty has not decreased significantly. Unemployment rates (19.7% for women and 9.3% for men by 2015) show a gender imbalance that needs to be addressed. At the same time, the unemployment rate among young people between the ages of 15 and 24 (23% in 2015) is much higher than the national average (13%). However, entrepreneurship among young people is underdeveloped for structural reasons related to the lack of available skills and funding, and the predominance of a culture that promotes the security of public functions over other, less stable livelihood options.
The pilot project "Promoting social entrepreneurship among young people" aims to promote actions that encourage young people to become social entrepreneurs, with particular attention to activities related to the green economy. The project also aims to demonstrate the transformative power of socially innovative companies that seek both financial profit and social benefits through a communication strategy geared particularly to decision-makers from the government, business community and development professionals.
Initially, the project will develop national awareness and leadership to promote a business-oriented approach to social development through a complete package of services (training, financing, peer-to-peer, market access, business laboratories) for the target group (young people interested in social entrepreneurship). These activities will be supported by the establishment of strategic partnerships with international entities specializing in supporting social entrepreneurship (such as Ashoka and Impact Hub).
Secondly, the project will support new and existing social entrepreneurs in developing skills in networks, resource mobilization, maximizing the use of information technologies, as well as in planning, starting and managing business. This stage will also include financial support for on-the-job training and the provision of small grants for potential entrepreneurs of community-based youth organizations, based on targeted local development (focusing on priority areas such as renewable energy or waste management).
To extend its reach and maximize target group engagement, the initiative will be mainly channeled through mobile caravans, mobile structures that will visit rural and urban youth centers. Two types of caravans are planned: the blue caravan, aimed at promoting activities related to the environment, and the green caravan, dedicated to services to support social entrepreneurship. The pilot project will cover the two most populous districts of the country (Água Grande and Mé-Zóchi), which concentrate around 60% of the population of São Tomé. Subsequently, based on the lessons learned, the initiative could be extended to other districts and replicated among other target groups (unemployed adults or women's groups).
South-South Cooperation will play a key role in the project, in terms of training and support in the management of social affairs, whether through access to instructional services or tutoring, in a group or individually, or through virtual sharing of knowledge.
Country of origin of the solution: São Tomé and Príncipe
Recipient country: São Tomé and Príncipe
Supported by: UNDP
Implementing agency: UNDP São Tomé and Príncipe, and Ministry of Youth and Sports of São Tomé and Príncipe
Project development stage: Ongoing
Project implementation period: Between 2018 and 2019
Sabina Fernandes dos Ramos
UNDP São Tomé and Príncipe