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Meet the 2019 Awardees


christelle-kwizera

UN Region: Africa

Christelle Kwizera
Rwanda

Kwizera founded the company Water Access Rwanda, to provide reliable and affordable access to piped safe water in rural and semi-urban communities in Rwanda using their flagship solution, INUMA Groundwater Solar Kiosks, while also professionally maintaining safe water microgrid systems.

Kwizera’s business supports the following SDGs:
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic growth
Goal 13: Climate action

“We provide safe purified water at an affordable rate. This liberates time and money that can be used for other income generating activities, allow kids time to focus on education and women more time to engage in economic and political activities, thus positively impacting progress towards the SDGs.”


Lina-Khalifeh

UN Region: Asia-Pacific

Lina Khalifeh
Jordan

Khalifeh founded SheFighter, the first self-defense studio for women in the Middle East, which has expanded globally to empower women and girls to stand up for themselves by providing physical training as well as awareness seminars that address topics such as violence against women.

Khalifeh’s business supports the following SDGs:
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
Goal 5: Gender Equality
Goal 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

“SheFighter is all about empowering women to stand strong in society to demand their rights. As you empower the body, the mind will be empowered. The problem with some cultures is that women themselves believe they don’t deserve those rights, which makes it a huge challenge to change the way they think about themselves and their rights. By teaching women and girls self-defense they will start feeling more confident, secure and healthy at the same time.”


zoya-lytvyn

UN Region: Eastern Europe

Zoya Lytvyn
Ukraine

Lytvyn co-founded Novopecherska, a K12 school in Kyiv that uses innovation to help reform education in Ukraine while also reinvesting extra profits in their NGO, Osvitoria. Their educational projects, including a free online teaching platform and trainings for teachers from deprived areas, aim to create quality and accessible education throughout Ukraine.

Lytvyn’s business supports the following SDGs:
Goal 4: Quality Education
Goal 10: Reduced Inequality
Goal 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

“Novopecherska school is an example of the impact of a responsible business. Our goal is to improve life of kids all over Ukraine, not only in our school. So we provide equal access to quality education, as quality of rural and urban education in Ukraine are dramatically unequal.”


christelle-kwizera

UN Region: Latin America & the Caribbean

Karla Ruiz Cofiño
Guatemala

Cofiño founded the Digital Awareness program, a curriculum she developed for conferences and workshops to equip people with the digital skills and knowledge they need to become positive Digital Leaders through establishing a strong digital personal brand, helping people understand how to use technology to connect with the world and use their influence to improve it.

Cofiño’s business supports the following SDGs:
Goal 5: Gender Equality
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

“The Digital Awareness Program aims to inspire people to harness Collective Intelligence to make informed, conscious and sustainable decisions to improve the state of our world. One of the objectives of my Program is to make people understand that a Good Digital Citizen is aware of the impact their actions have on the planet and their own future, and that as responsible consumers we have the power to change the future!”


leah-lizarondo

UN Region: Western Europe & Other

Leah Lizarondo
United States of America

Lizarondo co-founded the organization 412 Food Rescue, a technology driven food recovery solution that bridges the disconnect between the 40% of food that goes to waste and the 1 in 7 people experiencing food insecurity in the United States. Their mobile app, Food Rescue Hero, directs a network of over 12,000 volunteers to transport surplus food to a network of over 600 nonprofits – ensuring perfectly good food feeds people not landfills.

Lizarondo’s organization supports the following SDGs:
Goal 2: Zero Hunger
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Goal 13: Climate Action

“Food Rescue Hero facilitates a point-to-point distribution model that completely changes the way we enable food access. Not only are we able to recover healthy, perishable food, we are able to distribute food more widely — mitigating barriers such as transit access, mobility, disability and time. We have prevented over 6 million pounds of food from going to landfills to feeding those who are in need. This is the largest volunteer transport network and the most food recovered by a grassroots network globally.”


Meet the 25 Finalists in 2019

Business Region Name Business Name Country of Business Registration
Africa Christelle Kwizera Water Access Rwanda Rwanda
Africa Ntombenhle Khathwane AfroBotanics South Africa
Africa Roselyn Musarurwa Surdax Investments Zimbabwe
Africa Claudia Castellanos Black Mamba Foods Swaziland
Africa Affiong Williams ReelFruit Nigeria
Asia Pacific Lina Khalifeh SheFighter Jordan
Asia Pacific Anjlee Prakash Learning Links Foundation India
Asia Pacific Rana El Chemaitelly The Little Engineer Lebanon
Asia Pacific Sasibai Kimis Earth Heir Partners Malaysia
Asia Pacific Fakhria Ibrahimi Momtaz Momtaz Yoga Centre Afghanistan
Eastern Europe Agnieszka Bilinska Trusted Communication Poland
Eastern Europe Irma Daushvili LTD-DIO Georgia
Eastern Europe Karolina Andrian Femmeritum Afghanistan
Eastern Europe Zoya Lytvyn Novopecherska school and Osvitoria NGO Ukraine
Eastern Europe Marina Melnik SkillsUp Ukraine
LAC Paulina Salach Antonetti SPOON Puerto Rico (Territory)
LAC Silvina Moschini SheWorks! USA
LAC Ana Cecilia Flores Webee Corporation USA
LAC Karla Ruiz Cofino Digital Awareness Guatemala
LAC Elisamaria Torres Froggin English for Kids Mexico
Western Europe and Other Brynn Foster Voyaging Foods USA
Western Europe and Other Inna Braverman Eco Wave Power Israel
Western Europe and Other Anne Butterly Easydry Ireland
Western Europe and Other Jessica Hubley AnnieCannons Inc USA
Western Europe and Other Leah Lizarondo 412 Food Rescue USA


Meet the 2018 Awardees

 

Habiba Ali

“For me the WE Empower challenge has been a door opener. We struggled a lot prior to this year, but now it’s easier to reach out to collaborators. Upon winning the prize amount, this has helped us impact on the lives of over 5000 people.”

Ali founded Nigerian company Sosai, which brings renewable energy technologies to the most rural of users, improving access to clean, affordable energy and providing clean water and better health outcomes.


Marta Del Rio

“The WE Empower Award exceeded my expectations in all aspects; from the incredible inspiring women we met, to the depth of the intense week we had in NY. It was empowering and it was the beginning of a journey. It is a life changing experience that has made me grow personally and as a business leader.”

Del Rio co-founded organic snack company MAIA to fight poverty and transform Peruvian agriculture, providing training and technical assistance to smallholder farmers and sourcing ingredients from them at a fair price.


Shimrit Finkel

“WE Empower was an extraordinary experience for me. Apart from meeting an amazing array of powerful inspirational women, it gave me a new mission: To take action beyond my specific ocean presentation task, to seek a broader vision, and use my strength and that of other women out there to make an impact on our globe.”

Finkel co-founded ECOncrete® in 2012. The Israeli company’s durable and environmentally sensitive concretes harness natural processes to enhance growth of carbon-absorbing marine life on coastal infrastructure.


Marijana Savić

“It was a wonderful experience-one of a kind! Thanks to the We Empower Award, and the whole process, I realized how much we achieved. More importantly, how many things we can improve. Meeting and exchanging with all the bold and extraordinary women made me more determined in our feminist fight for justice and equality for all.”

Savić founded Serbian NGO Atina to combat human trafficking and all forms of violence against women. Atina’s Bagel store provides financing, skills training and professional education to help victims in transition.


Hadeel Anabtawi

“It was one of my best experiences. The value of the WE Empower award was beyond the one week meetings in NY and beyond my expectations. The full program, including mentorship and the support, was of a great value for my business growth.”

Anabtawi founded The Alchemist Lab, whose educational programs, including Go Girls!, have reached more than 25,000 children in Jordan’s largest city, Amman, as well as remote villages and refugee camps.