THE DECADE OF TRANSFORMATION

At Orange Corners we believe in building a better world through entrepreneurship. We believe in young people with dreams, visions and the determination to take action and contribute to a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive society. In the light of SDG action day, the following feature celebrates some of the many Orange Corners entrepreneurs that are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

#togetherfortheSDGs

REMOVING STIGMAS AROUND MENTAL HEALTH  – SDG 3

Name: Nashwa Mohammed from Fadfada, OC Sudan

Theme: Good health and Wellbeing, SDG 3

Worldwide, mental health is still a subject persistently surrounded by negative stigma across cultures and communities. This October we once again observed the annual Mental Health Awareness day. During this day, global efforts are made to raise awareness on mental health in order to break these stigmas. Along with other barriers, they prevent mental health sufferers around the world from seeking professional counselling.

Especially in low- and middle-income countries, access to mental health services is relatively limited. Nashwa Mohammed from Orange Corners Sudan observed these barriers in her own environment in her home country of Sudan. In 2016 she launched the Positive Affirmations campaign for female empowerment; an annual 30-40 day online campaign that aims to improve the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of Sudanese women. During this campaign she discovered that not only stigma creates an obstacle to seeking mental health but also that accessibility and visibility of mental health professionals is lacking.

This inspired Nashwa to create her own her startup Fadfada, aimed at psychological and psychotherapeutic counselling. Her startup aims to lower the barriers to seeking mental health by increasing accessibility and reducing stigma as reflected in the name. “Fadfada” is the Arabic word for ‘venting’. Through this approach Nashwa hopes to normalise mental health support by signaling that seeking counseling can be seen as a form of venting, but to a professional therapist.

Fadfada offers accessible and affordable psychological counseling with accredited therapists through phone calls. Moreover, Fadfada educates and raises awareness through intensive use of social media. The startup also operates offline in the form of support groups and awareness events and campaigns.

Through its efforts Fadfada is contributing to multiple SDGs, but mainly works towards creating good health and wellbeing. Furthermore, Fadfada reduces inequalities and provides decent work and economic growth through its decentralized affordable mental health services. Finally, the startup aims to promote gender equality by creating job opportunities for female psychologists.

Even though Fadfada has only started operating since March 2019 amid the Sudanese revolution, the startup has already had many impressive achievements. To date, they have completed 221 online counseling sessions with 93 clients. They have also increased access to mental health services by creating support groups for victims, and survivors of the Sudanese revolution by creating discounts to mental health services for university students, providing free services for frontline medical workers and sexual harassment victims. Awareness has also been raised through two seminars on psychological wellbeing and its social media activity. Finally, Fadfada taken the lead in the organisation of Mental Health Day in Sudan 2019.

The stigma surrounding mental health is an widespread, but with the strides of startups like Fadfada we are certain overcoming these is close on the horizon!

STRIVING FOR RESPONSIBLE WATER CONSUMPTION – SDG 11

Who: Sarah Ladouy, founder of Rais’EAU

Theme: SDG 6: Access to water, SDG 11: Sustainable Consumption and production patterns and SDG 12

Access to water is a persistent issue that the current pandemic has once again laid bare. Around the world, one in three people do not have access to drinkable water. Furthermore, two in five people are not able to wash their hands with clean water to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other viruses. Yet simultaneously, billions of liters of water are wasted daily.

This paradox is a topic for high debate and at many universities. Sara Ladouy, an entrepreneur from Orange Corners Morocco included this topic in her PhD research for her master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, specialising in water and energy. While researching solar desalination, Sara discovered an innovative way to increase the production of solar distillation systems, which allows solar stills to distill more wastewater. This led to her filing her first patent in the field of water and marked the start of her journey in the pursuit of responsible water consumption by creating the Rais’EAU.

Rais’EAU is a startup that fights water wastage through production sale and installation of its technologies aimed at recycling wastewater in households and public spaces in an environmentally friendly and cost efficient manner. Through its operations, Rais’EAU is contributing to the creation of responsible consumption and production patterns, access to water and sanitation and inclusive and resilient cities.
The recycling of wasted water at the source provides an affordable and effective solution to save drinking water, limit water consumption and reduce wastewater in need of treatment and disposal. Rais’EAU achieves this through its technology that recycles wastewater from places like sinks and reuses it in an environmentally responsible manner. During the current pandemic, Rais’EAU is contributing by aiming to save water in public toilets by recycling the water from washbasins where water traffic is high. The startup hereby contributes to SDG 6, 11 and 12.

Currently, Rais’EAU is at the start of its success and still in the phase of creation with one patent pending. However, they are already serving B2C clients and have nearly landed their first B2B client. With 4 MVPs, one product ready to market and many simple technologies still in the pipeline Rais’EAU has a bright future ahead. Having already saved 500 M3 of drinkable water in less than 9 months we are certain of the future impact towards more sustainable water consumption!

We applaud Sara for creating such an innovative way to tackle this global issue and contributing directly to her environment. We wish her a lot of luck in her future endeavors with this project!

COMBATTING MALNUTRICIAN AND MORE – SDG 2

Who: Nkechinyere Idinmachi, founder of Machi Earth Foods

Theme: Food security and Nutrition, SDG 2

Over the years, there has been progress made in fighting hunger and malnutrition in the Africa region. Commonly regarded as a problem that mainly concerns children, the Africa region’s adult population also face a malnutrition burden in the form of anaemia, diabetes or food allergies.

Nkechi Idinmachi wanted to make a real change as she faced this problem herself and founded Machi Earth Foods, an agro-business and innovative, allergy-free food manufacturing company that promotes good nutrition, tackles malnutrition and supports food security in Nigeria, through the processing of Africa’s valuable, but relegated food crops, namely Bambara and Egusi. Machi foods produces a range of protein dense, delicious food products for people of all ages. Customers include healthy-living enthusiasts, vegans, children and adults with common food allergies and dietary restrictions.

Her motivation for starting this business were the numerous food allergies her son was facing. In order to be able to provide him with all necessary nutrients required for his growth, she spent over a year researching local Nigerian foods and their nutritional values. In addition, she took a course from Stanford school of Medicine on Child Nutrition and Cooking. During this time, she shared her findings and recipes for baby food on her online platform – Baby Chef Nigeria which eventually led to the birth of Machi Earth Foods and it’s 11,000 member community.

The Machi Foods team is made up of experts in Food Science and Technology, Digital Marketing and Nutrition. Aside from their commitment to the eradication of malnutrition and food insecurity , they also aim to improve the means of livelihood of smallholder farmers by providing decent jobs for stay-at-home parents who join their distribution channel. They hereby contribute to several SDG’s.

Working with extremely limited resources, from a cottage factory using mostly manual labor, Machi Foods has developed 8 products and recorded an 80% return purchase rate. In the last 6 months, the company has recorded tremendous success, as Nkechi received a nomination for the Entrepreneurship Africa Prize for Innovation and won the National finals to represent Nigeria at the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2020.

She is also passionate about helping women find their purpose and founded marketing communications which coaches women to start and scale their businesses byequipping them with digitalskills required to reach their target market and make sales.

Adittionally Nkechi is a One Young World Ambassador and a Dutch MFA Enterprise for Peace Scholar.

We are incredibly proud to have Nkechi as part of Orange Corners and we wish her and team the best of luck with all future projects!

BRIDGING THE TECH GAP IN IRAQ – SDG 4

Who: Mohammed Hamdoon, founder of Zoode 
Theme: Quality Education, Economic productivity and upgrading tech capabilities SDG 4, SDG 8.2 and SDG 9.5

Did you know that approximately 40% of computer science graduates in Iraq faced unemployment despite the regional and global rising trend of shortage of tech specialists?

Mohammed Hamdoon faced this exact problem as he could not find a proper job in the tech sector for at least 2 years post-graduation. After being able to work in the industry he decided he wanted to help out other tech graduates who struggled to find a job in the tech field and started to develop Zoode.

Zoode is a platform that helps users to gain programming skills by concluding tailored tasks and challenges which measure and improve their dexterity and efficiency in coding. It also tracks their development and helps them acquire lacking skills, while giving visibility to what’s most required in the market. The platform also functions as a tech talent pool of developers, easily accessible to employers with specific needs and assignments. It speeds up their recruiting processes by relying on a platform that measures coding skills in an efficient and proven way.

The development of this platform contributes to driving sustainable development in Iraq by tailoring tech education and attempting to bridge the gap in the labor market (SDG 4) and it also actively contributes to SDG 8.2 and SDG 9.5 by upgrading the technological capabilities of the tech industry in Iraq and achieving higher levels of economic productivity.

Currently, Mohammed and his team are still in the process of finalising the platform and are planning to launch it by the end of October 2020. In spite of not being able to work through the online platform directly, Zoode has successfully taken several steps offline to connect tech professionals and -students to employers. One of their first success stories is Fatima Oday, a female tech student who, thanks to Zoode has had great kick-start into the tech labor market. The Zoode team considers this a great accomplishment, as it’s even more challenging for women to find jobs in the tech field.

We think they are doing a great job and encourage them to continue bridging the tech gap in Iraq!

LOVE OUR CITY KLEAN – Keitumetsi & Jeffrey Magwaza

Who: Keitumetsi and Zwelihle Magwaza, Azeezah Nakhooda

Theme: Climate Action, SDG 13

Love Our City Klean (LOCK) is a waste management company focused on education and awareness. The aim is to create an integrated waste management plan in the inner city while creating jobs, education, zero-waste to landfill in Johannesburg by 2025 and environmental awareness.

Co-founders Keitumetsi and Zwelihle Magwaza are creatives from Johannesburg with a passion for the environment, a believe in collaboration and love for and community building.

“Our company initiates projects and activities to spread awareness about recycling in the city and keeping it clean, while working together as a community. By doing creative things, we aim to bring back our neighborhoods to the state we want to see them in. The Spring Klean project was initiated in 2019 with a range of activities identified and focus projects to start with. We took part in the Makersway Project in the Makers valley. We organised community klean ups, had public space workshops, created a competition and a story for the afterschool programs in the valley.”

This year the company has upscaled with new partners and a collaboration with Victoria Yards, turning them to a first ZeroWaste to Landfill retail space in Johannesburg. The team is building a true recycling hub in ‘the makers valley’, one of their communities. Here people are educated about separating waste and bring in their waste to be recycled. In return, people receive points that can be spend in the community swap shop. The shop is run by Sbonelo.

We salute you team, keep building for a better world!

THE WASHKING OF GHANA – SDG 6

Who: Dieudonne Kwame Agudah of WashKing
Theme: Health & Sanitation, SDG 6

Whereas the topic of fecal is somewhat under-discussed, proper sanitation is a huge environmental and sanitary challenge in Africa.

UNICEF estimates that 62% of Africans lack access to adequate sanitation. In Ghana only 15% of people have access to good sanitation. Time for the Washking to step in.

Dieudonne Kwame Agudah is a social entrepreneur, an environmentalist and an adventurer with love for learning new things. But above all: he is on a mission to empower more than 400.000 underserved and low-income people with access to improved sanitation facilities.

WASHKing is a social sanitation enterprise providing low-income and underserved communities with access to sustainable sanitation products at an affordable price. Their eco-friendly, accessible and smart biodigester toilets aim to end open defecation and improve poor sanitation challenges in low-income urban communities in Ghana. WASHKing produces, supplies and installs high-quality biodigester toilets, made of a sub-structure known as biodigester and privy, using locally available materials and trained artisans. The technology uses an on-site toilet treatment system which separates effluent and turns it into safe water for agriculture or landscaping. Flexible payment terms, training on hygiene and after-sales services, and technical and vocational education and training on high-in-demand skills along the sanitation value chain complement the package. WASHKing brings a unique and innovative solution that integrates measures of environmental, social and economic benefits and produces related positive impacts simultaneously.

The Washking team is aiming for the moon, but with currently over 500 toilets built annually and over 40 jobs created we fully believe they have what it takes to make a difference.