African innovators win UAE's global sustainability awards

23 Jan 2019, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


The Zayed Sustainability Prize recognises and rewards the achievements of those who are driving impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed, with winners of 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize

The Zayed Sustainability Prize has announced three innovators that are impacting lives in African countries as winners for its 2019 global sustainability award. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Zayed Sustainability Prize – which is an initiative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the innovators won in three out of the five categories of the award.

Established in 2008, the annual award recognises and rewards the achievements of those who are driving impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions across five categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools. At the latest awards ceremony, which held on January 14, 2019, Tanzania’s Sanku, South Africa-based African Leadership Academy, and BBOXX Ltd were recognised winners in the Food, Energy, and High Schools categories, respectively.

The Zayed Sustainability Prize said it received over 2,000 submissions from 130 countries, with the highest number of applications from Africa. The organisation said these African innovations and technologies addressed real-life social, environmental, health and economic challenges, as well as reflected the aspirations of a new generation of innovators within the continent.

“In a world of changing climate, and a rapidly growing population, developing sustainable solutions to meet rising food demand and provide energy access to people in remote areas is a global priority,” said Lamya Fawwaz, Director of the Zayed Sustainability Prize. “These worthy winners among many strong candidates, are perfect examples of how to meet the Prize’s criteria of being innovative, inspirational and offering tangible impact within communities.”

Sanku reportedly won for its ability to reach out to communities that are vulnerable to malnutrition by equipping and incentivising small-scale, local millers to fortify their flour with nutrients that are scientifically proven to improve health.

“16,000 children die everyday from illnesses that are absolutely preventable” said Felix Brooks-Church, co-founder and CEO of Sanku. “We have a solution, and so we have the duty to keep fighting in order to reduce that number to zero.”

London-based BBOXX Ltd has successfully deployed a plug-and-play solar device – called the BBOXX – across a number of African countries, offering their customers on-grid experience in off-grid settings. The company has so far installed over 150,000 solar systems across 35 countries many of which are in Africa and has connected over 675,000 people globally with clean, affordable energy solutions.

The African Leadership Academy created a water treatment machine, called "The Living Machine," which treats greywater. The school is also looking to implement solar power that will cut electricity costs and increase savings to fund additional renewable energy projects, across the continent.

“I am immensely pleased with the announcement," said Jesse Forrester, Project Lead of African Leadership Academy’s Living Machine Project. "Being recognised as the winners of the Global High Schools Category, for Sub-Saharan Africa, is a testament to the belief that we are stronger together.”

In the other categories, Singapore-headquartered ECOSOFTT was awarded in the Water category for its decentralised community water management standard, which outlines a set of solutions for source management, water use, water recycling and discharge. In the Health category, U.S.-based ‘We Care Solar’ received the award for its Solar Suitcase, a portable maternity device to assist with childbirth and related medical services in off-grid rural areas.

Winners in each category of the Zayed Sustainability Prize received $600,000 in prize funds to enhance and develop their existing solution. In the Global High Schools category, six schools from six world regions received up to $100,000 each, to create or enhance a school or local community project.

Over the years, the Zayed Sustainability Prize said 66 winners of its awards have directly and indirectly impacted the lives of over 318 million people.


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