Lusaka, 14th October 2020 –United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today awarded an innovation grant to ten sustainable youth-led enterprises in sustainable waste management in Lusaka and Ndola. The innovation grant aims to promote sustainable waste management practices that improve the welfare of the waste collectors, provides employment opportunities to the youth and women and promotes a circular economy through recycling of waste. The call innovation is part of UNDP Accelerator Lab Network global initiative that was launched in 2019 with support from key Cooperating Partners including Germany, Qatar and Italy. Through long-standing partnerships with national governments, AccLabs are creating a new capability for decision-makers to explore, experiment, and grow portfolios of mutually reinforcing solutions to tackle 21st century complex challenges from multiple angles to accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and Leave On One Behind.
Speaking during the virtual Innovation Award Ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative, Lionel Laurens said that 187 entrepreneurs applied for the Call, which ran from June to August this year. The 10 selected youth innovations are awarded USD 4,000 each to address sustainable waste management challenges in Ndola and Lusaka districts and will be enrolled into a mentorship programme to sharpen their business skills. The recipients include 6 entrepreneurs from Lusaka, 4 from Ndola whilst five of them are female-led initiatives.
In encouraging the winners, the UNDP Resident Representative said, “I want to encourage the selected 10 to take advantage of this opportunity to develop their business initiatives. Make every use of the mentorship support that you will receive from the experienced business consultants to walk the initial steps of this journey with you. UNDP has demonstrated its trust in you and your vision by choosing to invest resources to start up your businesses, and now it is up to you to turn your ideas into prosperous enterprises that will contribute to the development of Zambia”.
In appreciating UNDP for initiating the call to support innovations in waste management, Mr. Edgar Mulwanda, the Public Health Director from Lusaka City Council (LCC) reiterated the need to tackle waste from a sustainability perspective. This involves reduction, reusing and recycling of waste, which are incorporated in the LCC strategic focus. He expressed happiness at the prospect of the innovators helping to accelerate progress towards the 2030 vision of the Council. The multi-faceted challenges in waste management have grave impacts on human health and the environment, causing diseases such as cholera, dysentery and pollution, as well as water, air, soil or land contamination, proliferation of pests and vermin and the loss of aesthetic beauty.
The Innovation Call, which was open to Zambian youths aged between 18 – 35, with 50% allocation to women in Lusaka and Ndola. The Call focused on solutions to the challenge of waste recycling, with demonstrable capacity of their entrepreneur to continue their activities beyond the life of the funding made available.
In thanking UNDP on behalf of all awarded entrepreneurs, Lizzy Banda of Sunshine Group Zambia, one of the ten awardees said the award was going to go a long way in ensuring attainment of their dreams.