Eco-inclusive enterprises awarded for community impact (Africa)
July 20, 2021
A company in Botswana that trains farmers to use bees to stop elephants
destroying their farms, a Zambian business which promotes sustainable
bee-farming, and a Malawian start-up which turns leftovers into cooking gas
have won the SEED Awards for Climate Adaptation.
SEED was founded as part of a global partnership between the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In Botswana, local entrepreneur Mavis Nduchwa founded Kalahari Honey to
restore the balance between humans, wildlife and the environment. The
company gives farmers beehives and trains them to create a live fence of
bees around their farms to deter local elephant populations.
Not only does this reduce conflict between humans and wildlife, it gives
farmers an added income as they can sell their bee products back to
Kalahari Honey, which markets to customers globally. It also increases
pollination through the propagation of bee colonies and the introduction of
more indigenous, drought-resistant plant species reverses the ongoing
The company currently works with 500 rural farmers, but under SEED’s expert
provision it aims to work with an additional 1,500 farmers over the next
year and expand the capacity of its processing factory.
In Zambia, entrepreneur Harry Malichi set up Wuchi Wami to train farmers in
sustainable beekeeping. The company packages, brands, markets and
distributes local raw and organic honey from its registered cooperative
made up of 2,500 farmers.
It uses modern beehives made from easy-to-plant pine, rather than the local
miombo trees, which are destroyed in traditional beehive production. This
type of beekeeping is less labour-intensive, enabling women, youths and
orphans to farm honey.
Deforestation is further reduced by providing an alternative income source
for women and men engaged in charcoal burning. Under SEED’s guidance, the
enterprise plans to increase the number of smallholder farmers in its
cooperative to 10 000 in the coming year.
EcoGen, founded by Clement Kandodo in Malawi in 2019, provides advanced
biowaste bins and biodigesters for households to recycle their leftover
food and agricultural waste, turning it into biogas for cooking and organic
fertiliser. The provision of renewable cooking gas, especially to rural
customers relying on wood fuel, takes the pressure off local forest
Organic fertiliser increases yields and incomes of smallholder farmers,
enhancing their climate resilience. SEED will help EcoGen scale its
services to provide 4 000 households and institutions with access to
renewable biogas energy by 2023.
Yves Wantens, general representative of the government of Flanders in the
United States commented: “When it comes to the impacts of climate change,
countries like Malawi, Zambia and Botswana are on the front line. They are
the ones who will feel the effects of a rise in global temperature most
That is why we are so proud to support the SEED Awards, which recognise and
scale the impact of eco-inclusive enterprises across these local
communities. As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, MSMEs are at the
forefront of enabling green recovery and delivering on SDGs, for the good
of the wider community and the planet.” The government of Flanders is the
primary sponsor of the SEED Climate Adaptation Awards.
The SEED awards ceremony, which took place at the UN’s High-level Political
Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will also see SEED present its
‘Green Recovery Snapshot’ findings, which calls on governments, donors, and
financial providers to increase targeted support for MSMEs as they
stimulate economic growth in a post-Covid world.
MSMEs are responsible for creating seven out of ten jobs across emerging
markets, and green and social MSMEs deliver environmental and social impact
through their activities, products, and services, making them essential
actors in achieving a green recovery.
Winners of the SEED Awards will be awarded matching grants of between €10
000 and €15 000 and will receive tailored one-to-one advisory services for
up to a year to scale their operations, as part of the renowned SEED
In line with the principle of ‘awarding the best and moving the rest’, 39
runners-up will also be supported through the SEED Catalyser programme, to
refine their business models and optimise their impacts while advancing
their investment readiness.
SEED’s director of operations, Rainer Agster, added: “The calibre of SEED
Award entries this year was outstanding, and we extend our congratulations
to all nine winners and 39 runners-up. “We hope the enterprises identified
and promoted by the SEED Awards will be a source of inspiration for
aspiring entrepreneurs across emerging economies.
“Through the SEED Awards, we will support 48 enterprises in 2021, and
through our other programmes, several hundreds more. For each of those,
however, there are thousands more eco-inclusive enterprises furthering SDGs
which can be amplified with the right support.
Therefore, we strongly encourage policy makers and financial actors to take
a closer look at these eco-inclusive businesses and start or scale support
programmes for them.” Of the 2021 SEED Awards cohort, 69 percent of
enterprise leaders are 18-35 years-old and 52 percent are female-led
Since their inception in 2005, the SEED Awards have awarded 311 enterprises
in 40 countries and have facilitated the disbursement of over EUR 1 million
Each individual SEED enterprise has saved an average of 7,300 tonnes of
carbon dioxide, generated more than 9,399 kWh of renewable energy, and
created 28,4 jobs, out of which 32 percent are offered to people at the
bottom of the pyramid.