Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Solar Sister, is a solar entrepreneur program, spreading solar powered lamps across Uganda. It is a market based program, with revenues from sales of solar lamps providing the engine for economic growth. Using the power of the market to achieve a social goal of distribution of clean energy technology, Solar Sister uses the special place that women have as procurers and managers of fuel use to take on the social, environmental and economic impacts of energy poverty. Women are primarily responsible for gathering, purchasing and using household energy: wood, coal, kerosene or gas. Smoke from using these fuels indoors causes serious long term health problems. As an energy executive, Katherine Lucey, founder of Solar Sister, participated in many large-scale implementations to expand the energy network in developing countries, but as she worked, she noticed that many individual rural residents were not being served. The technology (solar lamps) was available, but there was no distribution network in place. In 2009, she started Solar Sister, a network of women representatives who sell solar lighting to their friends and families and encourage other women to become sellers as well, in an Avon-type women’s business model.
Solar Sister sells two different models of solar lamps (a basic model, and a larger one that also recharges cellphones). The lamps can replace both kerosene lights and long trips into urban areas to get phones recharged.
They are currently solidifying their model in Uganda, but there are plans to take into other countries. She also wants to offer more household appliances like solar radios, stoves and water filters. Go to their website http://www.solarsister.org/ to learn more and help support this great project.
Friday, May 27, 2011
He is now pursuing his reflexion more widely to other ‘furniture’ pieces that carry symbolically the burdens of vital political issues such as political power, food, energy into the privacy of the African home and psyche. The striking and beautiful ‘objects’ he creates also convey, however, a positive reflection on the transformative power of art and the resilience and creativity of African civilian societies.
Born in 1975, in Maputo, Mozambique, Gonçalo Mabunda has been working full time as an artist since 1997 after having trained in Mozambique and South Africa. He has been honoured by the Clinton Global International Initiative Awards, was commissioned by the prestigious glass-maker Daum to create a series of glass sculptures, and was part of the collective show for the re-opening of the Museum of Art and Design New York. Awe inspiring stuff.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Preppy meets philanthropy in a new international clothing line being launched by Nelson Mandela’s foundation. 46664 (four, double six, six four) takes its name from the prison number (prisoner number 466 of 1964) given to Mr Mandela when he was incarcerated for life on Robben Island, off Cape Town, South Africa. Mr Mandela gave his prison number to the organisation as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices he was prepared to make for a humanitarian and social justice cause he passionately believed in.
In creating 46664 initially as a global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign, Mr Mandela realised that to reach the youth all over the world specifically, he needed to engage the support of the people who most appeal to them. This has been seen most visibly through the high-profile 46664 concerts of the past few years and the appointment of 46664 ambassadors.
46664 Apparel is a new clothing venture focused on raising funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s charitable efforts in addition to strengthening South Africa’s lagging textile and clothing industry. With the launch, the foundation joins a small but growing club of socially conscious sartorialists, such as Edun, a line founded by Bono and his wife in an effort to bring a steady, sustainable manufacturing industry to Africa.
The 46664 line features brightly coloured men’s sportswear and intricately patterned, African-influenced women’s wear, all designed by Seardel, South Africa’s biggest textile and clothing manufacturer. Clothing will be available online soon.
Monday, May 16, 2011
to help communities around the world to rebuild their local food systems in order to eat better, protect the environment and maintain cultural diversity.
They are currently embarking on an ambitious project to create food gardens across Africa, assiting them in their work to cultivate more sustainable and healthy regions. The challenge to create a thousand gardens in schools, villages and on the outskirts of cities. New gardens will first be created in countries where the Slow Food network is most active today - including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Morocco - before reaching across continent.
The food gardens will be cultivated using sustainable methods such as composting, natural treatments for pests, rational water use, planting local varieties and intercropping fruit trees, vegetables and medicinal herbs. The focus is on helping farmers and communities to recover local crops with less need for external inputs, rather than just handing over seeds and fertilizers. The gardens will also work to restore prestige to small farmers, an occupation now often shunned by young people in Africa as in many other parts of the world.
Each garden will be managed by the communities themselves in collaboration with Slow Food representatives, local partner organizations such Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) and African graduates of the Slow Food founded University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity is coordinating the project and managing funds and donations.
You can help by adopting a garden which will cover the costs of equipment, training, coordination, educational material in local languages and technical assistance.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
There is no question that Cape Town is one (hopefully soon to be) the most creative city in the world. I am constantly inspired at the innovation and resourcefulness that comes out of one city. It has managed to stay true to its Africaness but incredibly progressive, edgy and contemporary at the same time. Cape Town’s bid to be World Design Capital 2014 forms part of a broader vision to position Cape Town as a leading global city – a hub of creativity, knowledge, innovation and excellence. Cape Town’s bid concept, “Live Design, Transform Life”, focuses strongly on socially responsive design.
The World Design Capital title is awarded bi-annually by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to give global prominence to cities that use design for their social, economic and cultural development. Founded in 1957 and active in 50 countries, ICSID has awarded the World Design Capital designation three times – to Torino, Italy (2008); Seoul, South Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (designated for 2012).
The World Design Capital title is awarded in advance, allowing winning cities sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events for their designated year. Cape Town will know in June if the bid is successful. Show your support by joining the facebook page.