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Sustainable Development Award Winners Celebrated at UN

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By Santo D. Banerjee

NEW YORK(IDN) – Tanzania-based WomenChoice Industries and Mukuru Clean Stoves of Kenya are the global winners of the SDGs and Her Competition that seeks to increase knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their potential impact on women, as well as to encourage private sector partners and share best practices and innovative ideas.

They were celebrated at a side-event on September 24, 2018 during the high-level week of the UN General Assembly. The contest – co-sponsored by the World Bank Group, UNDP, UN Women, and the Wharton School Zicklin Center – showcases women micro-entrepreneurs who are helping to achieve the SDGs through their businesses.

The first-place winner Tanzania-based WomenChoice Industries, owned by Lucy Odiwa, produces reusable sanitary pads, post-partum maternity pads, and child and adult diapers, and also promotes menstrual health hygiene management in schools. The lack of menstrual health hygiene management products and knowledge often hinders the ability of low-income women and girls to work and attend school, says Odiwa. Her business is helping Tanzania to achieve SDG target 3.7 (women’s health) and SDG target 4.1 (girls’ access to education).

The second-place winner Mukuru Clean Stoves of Kenya, owned by Charlot Magayi, recycles waste metals to produce improved, reliable, and affordable cookstoves to reduce indoor air pollution, a major health challenge in the developing world. Her business addresses SDG 8 (decent work), SDG 1 (end poverty), and SDG 3 (good health).

“We know that the world cannot achieve the SDGs without full participation of women in societies and economies,” said World Bank Group Senior Vice President Mahmoud Mohieldin. “By organizing such a competition, the SDGs and Her Initiative creates a unique opportunity for women entrepreneurs to showcase their contribution to the SDGs and inspires other entrepreneurs around the world to do their part by sharing best practices and innovative ideas.”

UN Women Executive Director, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said: “These inspiring SDG and Her participants show us why women entrepreneurs are such critical players.” When they thrive, women entrepreneurs create jobs for themselves and others. They also generate products and services that enrich society as a whole.

“They are vibrant leaders in the private sector and drivers of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. UN Women looks forward to working collaboratively with these pathbreaking initiatives and companies in the years to come,” she added.

“Without gender equality and women’s empowerment we will not achieve the SDGs,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Development Policy Bureau stated. “Women entrepreneurs contribute greatly to their families, communities and economies. The winners of this competition are perfect examples of how women innovate and provide solutions that open doors for other women and girls to pursue their aspirations,” he added.

Over 1,200 entries from 88 countries were submitted for the SDGs and Her competition. While nearly half of the entries were from Sub-Saharan Africa, submissions were received from every region of the world, including Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 September 2018]

Photo: Winners of the ‘SDGs and Her Competition’ awards: Lucy Odiwa, owner of Tanzania-based WomenChoice Industries (right); and Mukuru Clean Stoves of Kenya owner, Charlot Magay (left). Credit: Sumaya Agha/UNDP

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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Tags: Africa, SDG1 (end poverty), SDG 3 (good health), SDG 4 (girls’ access to education), SDG 8 (decent work), United Nations, UN Insider.





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