We completed our first Social Venture Challenge of the year at the African Leadership Academy’s 2017 Baraza in New York City on Saturday, January 7th. This was our third time partnering with ALA to help bring to life their participants’ community-changing ideas for social ventures! While this is among our smaller SVCs, we were impressed, as always, with the quality of ideas and leadership potential that we witnessed. Six teams pitched ideas for social ventures. In the end, we selected four new Social Venture Challenge winners, representing three exciting new social ventures:
Sihaam Mumin is the founder of BeWell, BeYou working in Somaliland to provide menstrual hygiene education in school to girls in an effort to reduce stigma and reduce disruptions to girls’ schedules because of menstruation. Girls currently miss significant periods of time at school, and women at work, because of menstruation, and this education, along with supplies, will help girls be more confident and manage their hygiene needs in a less disruptive way. She is also exploring teaching the girls to make their own reusable sanitary pads, in partnership with an existing regional supplier, to help enhance the sustainability of the project.
Joseph Opoku is the co-founder of Nima Innovation Lab for Girls, a social venture in the Nima slum of Accra, Ghana to introduce human-centered design and entrepreneurship skills in a single-sex environment that will help girls and young women build their economic capacity. He and his co-founders (three of whom are women) had been running a similar program in a co-ed environment and found that women could not stay enrolled because of family disapproval and social pressure; this new program is partnered with Achievers Ghana to help identify young women who will benefit from the program, provide them with training, and have them compete for small grants to help them launch entrepreneurial enterprises. Joseph first found out about Resolution from Resolution Fellow Yangmali Sahadev Rai.
Munyaradzi Chifetete & Mwangala Simataa co-founded Afritrove Milling in Zambia (a new country!) to provide a local solution for mealie meal production. Mealie meal is a staple made of maize for which a national monopoly exists—it has pushed down prices for farmers and artificially inflated prices for consumers. The team is using a local approach to source maize from farmers at better prices, to mill it with local millers, and package and distribute it locally as well. This reduces transportation costs and pollution, increases consumer spending ability on healthier foods like green vegetables and proteins, and keeps money in the local economy.