Three Kenyan businesses win in New York

27 July 2017 Author :   Protus Nabongo

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Three Kenyan businesses are among the 15 winners of this year's Switch Africa Green Seed Awards, announced on Sunday July 23  in New York, USA.

Banana-stem bags, charcoal briquettes from coconut waste and essential oils produced by local communities are among the 15 winners of this year's Switch Africa Green Seed Awards.

Roy Kanai of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said Kenya's Horizon Business Ventures was feted for training and employing seed collection groups to process and market seed oil to local and international cosmetics companies.

Another Kenyan firm, ICOSEED which  turns leftover banana stems into fabric for bags, purses and table mats and helps farmers earn money by producing the fabric and sewing of products was also recognised.

Kencoco, also from Kenya, produces and sells charcoal briquettes from recycled coconut waste and charcoal dust, and resells clean cooking stoves. The products are a low-cost alternative to environmentally damaging fuels such as firewood, kerosene and wood charcoal.

The results were announced yesterday during the High-Level Political Forum in New York.

The SEED awards are part of a global programme that recognizes innovative, environmentally friendly start-ups in developing countries, and helps them grow their businesses and lead by example.

Founded in 2002 by the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the SAG-SEED Award provides winners with tailored business and financial advice, help with marketing and publicity, and introductions to funding bodies, policy makers and other avenues of support.

Winners also join a network of more than 200 previous SAG-SEED alumni from 38 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Kanai said the 15 winning enterprises were selected by an independent Jury of international experts out of more than 300 applications. Their activities cover agriculture, waste management, energy, manufacturing, biodiversity conservation and tourism.

Other winners include GCCoffee in Uganda which buys coffee at a premium, then sells it at a price that can cover a donation to the organization Conservation Through Public Health.

Uganda's Masupa Enterprises's briquettes are made from leaves, paper, fruit peels and other waste, and sold together with affordable cook stoves.

Coopérative Sahel Vert encourages the generation and use of clean biogas and organic fertiliser by constructing and maintaining biodigesters in rural areas.

This helps the environment and the sale of surplus agricultural production and organic fertilisers provides extra income.

Lagazel in Burkina Faso makes and sells sustainable solar lamps for households without electricity. Local production provides jobs and solar lamps fight climate change and make for healthier living conditions.

WASHKing in Ghana produces, installs biodigester toilets out of eco-friendly materials for low-income urban households. They also provide training on how to use them and an after-sales services.

Ekasi Energy in South Africa, produces biomass cooking fuel and clean cooking appliances for informal settlements with little or no grid power. These reduce health threats caused by burning wood, charcoal and paraffin, which are usually used for cooking.

Themba Phakama, also of South Africa, is a voluntary association of informal waste pickers providing tricycles and safety gear to its members. The tricycles are used as an alternative to the stolen shopping used by many informal waste pickers.

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