Innovative women-led enterprises win SEED Gender Equality Awards


Three women-led social and environmental enterprises have been presented with the 2014 SEED Gender Equality Award for leading the way in tackling sustainable development challenges while promoting gender equality, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

Awards ceremony in Nairobi
The SEED Gender Equality Awards were presented on 10 September at the 2014 Africa Awards Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UN Women

The SEED Gender Equality Awards, supported by UN Women and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), were presented on 10 September at the 2014 Africa Awards Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya. The three recipients are:

  • JITA Social Business in Bangladesh, an innovative rural distribution network that provides jobs and a regular income for poor women across Bangladesh, who gain a commission for selling products ranging from solar lamps to food and sanitary items door-to-door;
  • The Women’s Off-season Vegetable Production Group in Nepal, which uses agricultural techniques, notably poly-tunnels and greenhouses, to help improve food security and nutrition while empowering marginalized women through job creation; and
  • The Precious Life Foundation’s Outgrower Project in Zimbabwe, which teaches bio-intensive, organic agricultural techniques to vulnerable women living at its shelter who then pass on their knowledge to their community in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South Region.

“Women’s economic empowerment is central to achieving gender equality,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the event. “With a livelihood and an income of their own, women have increased status, can provide for their families, and become empowered in other parts of their lives as well, such as making decisions about education, housing, food choices, and medical care.”

“We are pleased to be working with SEED and supporting the SEED Gender Equality Awards for the outstanding women-led social and environmental enterprises that are leading the way,” she said.

Each year, the SEED awards recognize enterprises that address sustainable development challenges at the community level. Organizations from 84 countries applied this year and a total of 41 green entrepreneurs were recognized overall. The SEED award includes a $5,000 financial contribution and technical support for the start-up enterprises.

Read the full press release on the UNEP website: