Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will honor the winners of the first Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls at the department’s headquarters on Friday.
The award seeks to identify and support innovative ideas that hold the promise of transforming the lives around the world and is funded by The Rockefeller Foundation through the Secretary’s International Fund for Women and Girls.
The Secretary’s Innovation Award is presented to Kickstart for two interconnected product innovations. First, Kickstart is enabling poverty alleviation for women through a small-scale irrigation product designed for women farmers. The MoneyMaker Hip Pump is a simple irrigation tool that is low-cost, manually powered, lightweight, and portable. It allows women farmers to grow high value fruits and vegetables and sell them throughout the year, even in the dry season when there are few other crops on the market and the prices are high. The second innovation of this project is the Mobile Layaway service that enables poor women farmers to purchase a pump through micro-payments over time. This innovative financial savings model could be applied to any capital product being sold at the base of the pyramid.
Accepting the award is Kickstart Tanzania’s Country Manager, Anne Atieno Otieno. She has overseen implementation of innovative outreach approaches, private sector agro-dealer engagement strategies, and appropriate technology introductions that have resulted in more than 40,000 smallholder families in Tanzania moving out of poverty.
Samasource is a social enterprise that connects people living in poverty with life-changing work opportunities via the Internet. Samasource provides women and youth with the skills and resources to deliver in-demand digital services to companies in the US and abroad. In three years, Samasource has paid more than $1.5 million in real wages to over 2,000 trained workers in places where most people survive on less than $3 a day. They have completed over 6 million tasks for clients in an effort to combat the almost 70% unemployment rate faced by people living in impoverished world regions. The Secretary’s Innovation Award will allow Samasource not only to directly increase incomes and employment rates for Kenyan women, but also to address the deeper systemic issues within an economy that suffers from the lack of an employed and empowered female workforce.
Leilah Janah, the founder of Samasource, is accepting the award on behalf of Samasource Kenya and Jen Cantwell, Samasource’s East Africa Managing Director. Janah was a founding director of Incentives for Global Health, she has been a management consultant, and she has worked at the World Bank.
The Secretary’s Innovation Award is given to Chintan in support of its work to reduce ecological footprints and increase environmental justice amongst the informal sector through green jobs, advocacy and organizing. Chintan, an Indian non-profit, implements grassroots work on the ground, which includes solid waste handling, plastics recycling, training and organizing wastepickers and eliminating child labor from recycling. Chintan also undertakes research and advocacy, locally and internationally.
Bharati Chaturvedi is Chintan’s founder. Her own work has been on solid waste management and recycling. She has been part of several national and global projects, such as the UNHABITAT’s 2010 report on Solid Waste in the Worlds Cities and the European Union’s ISSOWAMA project. Bharati is part of various Indian government committees for policy making. She writes a column for the Hindustan Times and she is the recipient of the 2009 Johns Hopkins Alumni “Knowledge for the World Award.”