“This is real. Turning banana fiber into wealth.” This is the welcoming phrase of Safe!Pad’s (previously GreenPads) brand new website. The story behind this project is absolutely worth reading.
In the annual conference of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit on March 18th 2016 in Winterthur, Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, especially mentioned the cewas Middle East programme as a innovative and exemplary initiative to mitigate the water and humanitarian crisis in the region. As Mr. Burkhalter explained, the cewas training programme fosters entrepreneurial solutions for local water problems, offering also possibilities for employment for the popublation affected by the crisis.
The Middle East, especially the neighbouring countries of war-struck Syria, has recently come into focus of cewas, the world’s first start-up incubator focused on water and sanitation issues. Besides the devastating civil war, the region is also the most water scarce region of the world in dire need of new, sustainable solutions to manage dwindling resources under difficult conditions. In the coming years, cewas will run a large training and start-up support programme for the water and sanitations sector in Lebanon, Jordan, Kurdistan Iraq and Palestine to offer innovative solutions and employment opportunities in the region.
cewas is currently preparing for its 6th start-up programme commencing in August 2016 in Willisau, Switzerland to support young, innovative graduates with fresh start-up ideas for the water sector. Besides its programme in Switzerland, cewas has also been active in supporting water start-ups across the world, namely in India, Southern Africa and South America.
Congratulations to the cewas start-up SedaConsult which won the Swiss Environmental Prize 2015 in the category “youth promotion”. The start-up is awarded with CHF 10’000 for its aim to improve the transparency, integrity and sustainability of the textile industry.
The cewas subsidiary “cewas Middle East” updated the design of its online presence and added further contents. The offers to entrepreneurs from Arab countries are awesome: Start-up programmes in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan; plus access to trainings and tools in the fields of water and sanitation.
“The jury awarded MoSan with the Award for Social Entrepreneurship 2016. The Zurich company developed a toilet that separates urin from faeces and thereby can prevent the spread of diseases. The verdict of the Jury: a simple but effective solution that can help billions of people who do not have access to toilets, yet. The mobile toilet could also be used in refugee camps.”
The Integrity Management Toolbox, co-developed by cewas and Water Integrity Network, supports water sector organizations like utilities, small and medium-sized enterprises and public institutions in making integrity a part of their strategic plans, business models, and daily practices to reduce corruption risks and improve performance.
The online IM Toolbox provides:
The Toolbox is NOW ONLINE.
The cewas Open Working days are the best opportunity to get to know the team of cewas and learn about the current projects. Every two weeks, everyone is kindly invited to meet the cewas Team at the Willisau Office. The team of cewas is looking forward to fruitful discussions.
Lawrence Afere from Nigeria is the winner of the first cewas Start-up Competition. His business idea “Green Pads” convinced both the jury and the audience. As a banana farmer Lawrence was looking for opportunities to use the banana leaves and stems. He came up with the idea of producing pulp and thereof sanitary pads for the Nigerian market. It’s a win win win solution. It financially supports banana farmers, increases resource efficiency, and improves the hygiene situation of women in Nigeria. The lack of affordable sanitary pads in Nigeria currently leads to stigmatization of menstruating women. Usually, girls would not go to school when menstruating. Some girls even drop out of the school system due to poor attendance. So, the jury saw a great potential for “Green Pads” to improve the situation of low income women and girls in Nigeria.
“Green Pads” received a scholarship to participate in the upcoming Start-up program plus CHF 5000.- to launch the business. But Lawrence’s was not the only great idea the jury was introduced to. There were six finalists chosen from more than 170 applications. Both the pitches and business ideas presented were very good. So, the jury spontaneously awarded another Start-up with a scholarship. Ruginia Duffy will join the Start-up program to further develop “Aqualere”. It’s a service company focussing on the set-up of constructed wetlands for water purification in remote settlements of Eastern European countries.
Soon you can learn more about these two and other Start-ups in the program.