During the Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum on Africa, the Schwab Foundation announced its African "Social Entrepreneurs of the Year" (press release).

SEOY11_Africa 
Dondo Aleke Dondo – Juhudi Kilimo – Kenya
Juhudi Kilimo finances productive, income generating assets for small-scale farmers in Kenya. Juhudi Kilimo begins working with prospective borrowers nearly 6 months in advance to provide financial literacy training and animal husbandry assistance. In addition to offering loans for rural farmers to invest in productive assets such as cows, agricultural equipment, and transport, Juhudi Kilimo offers compulsory asset insurance and life insurance to the borrower at a small cost (approximately 5% of total loan). Juhudi Kilimo has provided asset financing to over 7,500 smallholder farmers, roughly half of which are women. In 2010, Juhudi Kilimo financed 1,834 cows that produced on average 20 liters per day. At an average price of 20Ksh per liter, farmers earn 22 mil Ksh (275 USD) / month more, doubling or tripling the income of the farmer.

Rotich Juliana Rotich – Ushahidi– Kenya
Ushahidi is a non-profit technology company, started in 2008 in the midst of Kenyan election violence, which seeks to build tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories. Ushahidi specializes in developing free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. Through these tools, Ushahidi has strengthened democracy, such as verifying election results across Brazil, has facilitated market efficiency such as mapping bio-gas markets prices and production across six countries in Africa, and it has helped aid workers in Haiti and Japan reach those affected by natural disasters.

Rooyen Olivia van Rooyen – The Kuyasa Fund – South Africa
Kuyasa, since 2000, has been using microfinance as a tool to improve housing conditions for low income households in the Western and Eastern Cape, through community savings groups and by granting loans to individuals qualifying for the government housing subsidies. Its clients are mostly women in informal employment with household incomes of less than ZAR 3,500 per month and 60% of its clients earn less than ZAR 1,500 per month.  By combining savings, loans and the government subsidy, houses built in its projects average 60 square metres, almost doubling the subsidy housing norm.

Abigail Noble

 

Editors Note
Abigail Noble, Head of Africa, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship