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AWIEF Awards [photo/aptantech.com]

Two Kenyan women entrepreneurs are finalists in the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) Awards that celebrates women leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa.

Ms Mary Inzofu founder of Njia Empowerment Organization and Charlot Magayi the creator of Mukuru Clean Stoves are finalists in the Empowerment Award Category and will battle it out with Nambula Kachumi of WeCreate Zambia.

Njia Empowerment Organization (NEO) was born out of childhood experiences and societal discrimination its founder underwent through. Focused on empowering visually impaired women and girls through the educational initiative for production, livelihood improvement and advocacy.

Mukuru Clean Stoves is a social enterprise that designs, produces and distributes improved, reliable and affordable cookstoves for low-income households. The cookstoves are usually made using locally sourced recycled waste metal. The idea came to birth after the founder, then a teenage mother in slum set up, experienced an accident when a traditional stove burned her two-year-old daughter.

22 women founders and entrepreneurs have been selected as finalists, from different African countries, across 8 different categories. 

The AWIEF Awards winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 30 October 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Women-owned businesses are a vital part of our African economy and the women of Africa are our most valuable, untapped resource,” said Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“Each year the entries to the AWIEF Awards grow in number, and this response signifies the importance of recognizing and celebrating women in Africa for their achievements and contribution to Africa’s economic and sustainable development,” she said.

AWIEF is celebrating the five-year anniversary of its benchmarking Annual Conference and Expo this year.

“Women-owned businesses are growing on the continent and are a vital part of Africa’s future and contributing to the fact that seven out of 10 of the fastest-growing economies in the world, are to be found in Africa. Africa is rising and we must make sure the women of the continent, the backbone of our communities and our families, are given the opportunities to rise as well,” said Ochem.

“Our finalists were rigorously assessed in terms of the sustainability of their businesses, as well as the documented or prospective impact on community development and the economy,” explained Ochem.

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Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]

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