Sahara Group Foundation Announces 20 African Social Innovators for its 2023 Fellowship Programme
Sahara Group Foundation, the corporate social sustainability vehicle for leading energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Sahara Group, has announced the 20 African social innovators who will be part of its 2023 Sahara Impact Fund Fellowship programme. The programme, which is in partnership with LEAP Africa, a youth-focused leadership development nonprofit organization and Impact Amplifier, a South African-based advisory firm, aims to support and empower African social innovators and entrepreneurs who are addressing the environmental and social challenges affecting our society.
The 20 Fellows were selected from over three hundred applications from nineteen African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. They have demonstrated their commitment and potential to create positive and sustainable impact in their communities and beyond, with a focus on increasing access to energy and promoting sustainable environments.
The Fellows will undergo a 12-month capacity building and investment readiness programme that will expose them to modules that support business expansion, mentorship, peer support and networking opportunities. They will also have the chance to pitch their solutions to potential investors and partners at the end of the programme. Additionally, outstanding Fellows will receive seed funding of $5000 to help scale their business models.
The 2023 Sahara Impact Fund Fellowship programme is the third cohort of the initiative, which was launched in 2020. The previous cohorts have supported 40 social innovators from across Africa, who have gone on to achieve remarkable milestones in their respective fields.
Speaking at the induction ceremony of the new Fellows, Ejiro Gray, Director, Sahara Group Foundation stated that “We are thrilled to kick off the third Cohort of our Sahara Impact Fund Fellowship programme with this new set of inspiring social entrepreneurs and innovators who are committed to accelerating Africa’s development with their bold and innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit”.
In her congratulatory message to the 20 inducted Fellows, Ejiro Gray commended the Fellows for choosing to create business models that support the growth of our society. She asked them to take advantage of the Fellowship courses, workshops, mentorship, peer support, and networking opportunities, to build themselves and their social enterprises, to deliver widespread sustainable impact.
In her remarks to the newly inducted Fellows, the Executive Director, LEAP Africa, Kehinde Ayeni, stated “that the most promising leaders are those who dare to challenge the status quo and envision a brighter future for the African continent”. She congratulated the Fellows for coming out successfully following a competitive application process and challenged them to leverage the Fellowship towards shaping Africa’s future.
Also addressing the Fellows at the induction ceremony was Sahara Group Project Associate Nnamdi Ehirim. He congratulated the new Fellows and urged them to immerse themselves in the Fellowship, as it possesses the potential to transform their mindsets positively and equip them with the proven methodologies required to help strengthen their business models.
The 20 Fellows of the 2023 Sahara Impact Fund Fellowship programme are:
- Stanley Anigbogu from Nigeria is developing a solar-powered cold storage system for smallholder farmers to reduce post-harvest losses and increase income.
- Oluwaseyi Moejoh from Nigeria, is creating a platform that connects rural women to clean energy products and services, empowering them to become energy entrepreneurs and agents of change in their communities.
- Kehinde Fashola from Nigeria is producing affordable and eco-friendly sanitary pads made from banana fibre for low-income girls and women, improving their menstrual hygiene and dignity.
- Emmanuella Azegba from Nigeria, is transforming waste plastic into durable and aesthetic furniture for schools, homes and offices, creating jobs and reducing environmental pollution.
- Muideen Adegoke from Nigeria, is providing access to safe drinking water for rural communities through solar-powered water kiosks that also offer digital services such as mobile money and internet access.
- Chidozie Igweilo from Nigeria is designing and manufacturing low-cost prosthetic limbs for amputees using 3D printing technology, enhancing their mobility and quality of life.
- Joshua Attat from Nigeria, is building a network of solar-powered micro-grids that provide reliable and affordable electricity to rural households and businesses, stimulating economic development and social inclusion.
- Osato El-Osemwingie from Nigeria is developing a smart irrigation system that uses artificial intelligence and sensors to optimize water usage and crop yield for smallholder farmers, saving water and increasing food security.
- Paul Nnaluo from Nigeria, is creating a digital platform that connects farmers to buyers and provides them with access to finance, market information and agronomic advice, improving their productivity and profitability.
- Patience Alifo from Ghana is empowering women in rural areas to produce and sell high-quality shea butter products, enhancing their income and livelihoods.
- Philipo Kitungano from Tanzania, is innovating a biogas digester that converts organic waste into clean cooking gas and organic fertilizer, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving soil health.
- Erick Mbeva from Kenya, is developing a mobile app that connects smallholder farmers to vetted agro-dealers, enabling them to access quality inputs, credit and extension services at affordable prices.
- Joyce Rugano from Kenya, is creating a platform that connects waste collectors to recyclers, facilitating efficient waste management and recycling, while creating income opportunities for waste collectors.
- Jolis Nduwimana from Burundi, who is producing eco-friendly briquettes made from agricultural waste, providing an alternative source of energy for households and industries, while reducing deforestation and air pollution.
- Kachigo Zulu from Zambia, who is manufacturing reusable menstrual cups made from medical-grade silicone, providing a safe, comfortable and cost-effective solution for menstrual hygiene management.
- Andrew Mpashi from Zambia is creating a platform that connects small-scale farmers to solar-powered irrigation systems, enabling them to grow crops all year round and increase their income and resilience to climate change.
- Timothy Munthali from Malawi, is developing a solar-powered cold chain system that preserves fish and other perishable goods, reducing food waste and increasing food security and income for fishers and traders.
- Ainomugisha Shifira from Uganda, who is producing organic honey and beeswax products, while empowering rural women and youth to engage in beekeeping as a source of income and environmental conservation.
- Tukwatanise Bonnita from Uganda, is creating a platform that connects rural farmers to solar-powered water pumps, enabling them to access water for irrigation and domestic use, while reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and improving their livelihoods.
- Muofhe Ratshikombo from South Africa, is developing a mobile app that connects consumers to local organic farmers, enabling them to access fresh and healthy food, while supporting small-scale farmers and reducing food miles.