Sub-Saharan Africa

Mame Diene

For generations, African women have been soothing and nourishing their skin with shea butter - a moisturising paste derived from the revered shea nut. Senegal has an abundance of shea trees, but lacks the infrastructure to capitalise on this so-called 'African gold'. Most of Senegal's shea nuts are processed at low grades or sent abroad to be manufactured by foreign companies.

Jife Williams & Adeola Asabia

The government of Lagos state in Nigeria is constantly striving to meet the sanitation needs of the area’s rapidly expanding population, projected to increase from 18 million today to 23 million by 2015. Recognizing a critical social need and a market poised for accelerated growth, Jife Williams founded MN Environmental Services in 2008. The company aims to build 57 sanitation facilities in Lagos state by 2014.

Laura Mc Seveney-Sprague

With the world’s highest HIV/AIDS rate, Swaziland has 15,000 HIV-positive children under 15 and 130,000 who are orphaned or vulnerable to abandonment, neglect, extreme poverty and abuse. To care for, raise and educate these children and babies, Laura Mc Seveney-Sprague created Gaĕa, named after the Greek mother goddess. Currently in the planning stages, by 2014 Laura is looking for Gaĕa to become a multi-functional site with a nursery and clinic for abandoned babies; children’s homes; a pre-school, hospital and training center; and a sustainable farm.

Sara Katebalirwe

Anne Githuku-Shongwe

Audrey Dlamini

Born in Swaziland, trained as a doctor in Kenya, and working in Ghana, Audrey Dlamini has witnessed the side-effects of widespread dangerous skin and beauty treatments across the African continent. Now, she's started a business to respond to African women's skincare needs using the goodness of shea butter, so-called "African Gold", as a basic ingredient.

Sara Abera

Fine garments and earthenware are part of the rich cultural heritage in Africa, but craftsmen are often underprivileged and exploited. Sara Abera's project for a handicraft production company aims to change that by supplying quality items to high-end markets in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Lucie Avoaka

In Africa, quality medical care - especially preventive care - can be expensive and difficult to find. Lucie Avoaka's Santa Maria Medical Centre aims to change that by providing a range of medical services at prices which are adapted to the client's budget.

Ann Kihengu

In Tanzania, a mere 11% of the population has access to electricity and the most widespread solution for lighting is kerosene lamps, which are hazardous, smoky, and costly in fuel. Children who study by them frequently develop poor eyesight and respiratory problems from the smoke. Worse still, in 2009, a fire sparked by a kerosene lamp in Idodi Secondary School caused the death of 12 young girls. Yet the lamps persist and 92% of the population spends an astonishing 30% or more of their income on kerosene.

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