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Innovation: Africa is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that brings Israeli solar, water and agricultural innovations to rural African villages. Founded in 2008, Innovation: Africa has completed over 140 projects providing light, clean water, food and proper medical care to over 1 million people in communities throughout Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal.
In 2012, Innovation: Africa was granted Special Consultative Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and in 2013, was awarded the United Nations "Innovation Award" for its efficient and sustainable Israeli technology. The organization has also reached an audience of more than 100 million people, with features in the Daily Mail, Forbes, Newsweek and The Jerusalem Post.
Innovation: Africa was founded by Sivan Ya'ari in 2008 and was originally called Jewish Heart for Africa. Ya'ari received her bachelor's degree in Finance and interned for a time with Morgan Stanley. While in her twenties and working with a denim manufacturer, she was sent to Africa on business and was moved by the people she saw suffering from hunger and a lack of clean water. Born in Israel and raised in Nice, France, Ya'ari initially conceived and identified an opportunity as a master's student in International Energy Management and Policy at Columbia University and while working with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). for a more sustainable energy solution, and developed the groundwork for what would become Innovation: Africa. Having worked in Africa for over 18 years and running Innovation: Africa for the past 9 years, Sivan has vast knowledge, understanding and love for the African continent. Through her work, over 1,000,000 lives in Africa have been impacted, thanks to Israeli innovation and multiple awards have been received, including the Innovation Award from the United Nations. Ya'ari has been recognized as one of the "40 Under 40 Most Promising Israelis" by Globes magazine and one of the "50 Most Influential Women in Israel by Forbes Israel. Aside from Innovation: Africa, Ya'ari also is a prominent business woman in Israel, owning multiple businesses and employs 140 women across the country. Ya'ari lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and 3 children.
Israel is a leader in the global innovation sector, from renewable energy to agriculture technologies. Innovation: Africa's mission is to share the knowledge and expertise developed in Israel with off-grid African villages, whose similar climate and natural resources make them a natural fit for Israeli solar, water, and agricultural technologies. Besides drip irrigation, iA has introduced Israeli locks that protect solar panels from theft and Israeli manufactured computers that are durable, compact, low-cost and energy efficient.
Israeli Chief Engineer, Meir Yaacoby, created a custom-design monitoring system that collects data from Innovation: Africa's solar system and sends the information to an online server. This data can be accessed from any computer, anywhere in the world, that allows our team and donors to monitor lives energy produced, consumed and water flow output. That data allows iA to predict problems before they start, and keep the systems strong to ensure that the communities are provided with the energy they need. In 2013, this remote monitoring system won the United Nations "Innovation Award".
Innovation: Africa has completed over 140 projects across seven countries: 87 projects in Uganda, 28 projects in Malawi, 16 projects in Tanzania, 4 in Senegal, 3 in the Congo and 1 project each in Ethiopia and South Africa.In 2017, Innovation: Africa began a partnership with UNICEF Cameroon to bring access to clean water and proper medical care to 4 villages in Cameroon to aid refugees that fled from the Central African Republic and Nigeria. Cameroon will be Innovation: Africa's 8th country. One of Innovation: Africa's most common projects is using solar-powered water pumps and applying Israeli agricultural practices such as drip irrigation
to make agriculture possible in regions of drought. This provides a source of income to farmers and their families who otherwise wouldn't have been able to farm. These solar-powered water pumping systems tap into the vast water that is underground and pumps up to 5,000 gallons of it per day to large tanks, where the water is distributed throughout a village and the drip irrigation process. Innovation: Africa's projects also include lighting for schools, orphanages and medical clinics and refrigerators for vaccines. These solar refrigerators have helped more than 350,000 children get vaccines for diseases like tetanus, tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles. Innovation: Africa's partners include former NBA star, Dikembe Mutombo, who partnered up with the organization to provide electricity for a hospital in his hometown of Kinshasa in the Congo. Overall, Innovation: Africa's projects have helped over 1 million people throughout Africa.
Innovation: Africa also offers a range of educational and social programming in the United States. They hold regular presentations about the challenges facing African development and the power of Israeli technologies to help. They have also has worked with various groups on college campuses. For example, the Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter at MIT raised money in May 2015 for i:A. Innovation: Africa also has a Mitzvah campaign where it partners with B'nei Mitzvah kids and helps them raise money for their projects, which include solar lighting for schools and also solar-powered water pumps.
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- Lan, Shlomit (17 June 2010). באנרגיות חיוביות. Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 13 June 2012.
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