#StartupMoment, Innovation: Africa, changes African lives with solar energy and Israeli technology

There are only few people who have the capacity to awe and summarize their project in a few minutes. Sivan Ya’ari, was one of them. At the DLD Conference in Tel Aviv, Sivan, Founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa showed me a video and I was hooked. I knew I had to help her spread the word about her magnificent initiative.

She traveled to Africa to sell jeans for a company she was working for. Instead, she discovered that women in Sub-Saharan Africa struggle to meet basic needs for their families. So she took action and started working to change their realities using Israeli technology: solar powered water pumps, solar powered health clinics that serve over 250,000 women, and solar powered vaccine refrigerators that have stored vaccines for over 350,000 children. Innovation: Africa is working so fast, that the data on this powerful video is outdated. 

So far, it has impacted the lives of over 1 million people in 7 African countries and in 128 villages.

  • Founder and CEO, Sivan Ya’ari has been recognized by Globes Magazine as one of the “40 Most Promising Israelis” and by Forbes Israel as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Israel.”
  • Innovation: Africa has been highly regarded by many leaders and Prime Ministers. Please see attached Political Endorsement testimonies and a short video of the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda, regarding the relations between iA and Uganda. Please note that only in Uganda, we have powered 79 villages.
  • In 2012, iA received Special Consultative Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and in 2013, iA was awarded with the Innovation Award by the United Nations for our Israeli technologies used in the developing world.

What is the project about?

Bringing Israeli innovation to rural African village.


How did the idea come about?

Upon working in Madagascar for a major multinational corporation, was the first time Sivan Ya’ari experienced the true reality of poverty, sickness, thirst and hunger that was widespread throughout Africa. During this period, she identified that the main challenge is the lack of access to energy.

Energy to pump water, to store vaccines and to improve education. This is when she decided to develop the groundwork for what would become Innovation: Africa, an organization to bring mainly solar energy to remote African villages. Sivan returned to New York and furthered her education from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in International Energy Management and Policy, and as a student, installed the first solar system in the first of 128 now completed villages.


What is the next step?

As of today, Innovation: Africa has impacted the lives of over 1 million people in 7 African countries and in 128 villages. The Israeli solar, water, and agricultural technologies have transformed the lives of community members, where now for the first time, clean water is being pumped from below the aquifer; vaccines and medicines are being stored in medical centers where the solar systems provide the energy for a fridge and light; in schools, students are studying even once the sun sets and have the ability to use computers for the first time.

But still in Africa, poverty is widespread and growing rapidly – urging our team and community of supporters to continue working hard to end poverty, with Israeli innovations, one village at a time. Our local Project Managers are in the field every day identifying new prospective projects where we can bring Israeli technologies: solar, water and agriculture to alleviate sickness, hunger, thirst and lack of energy.

Innovation: Africa has a list of villages waiting consisting of Solar Water Pumping Systems, Schools, Orphanages, and Medical Clinics.

The cost is merely $18,000 to bring light to a School or Orphanage, enough light and electricity to store vaccines in a refrigerator within a Medical Clinic, and $50,000 to bring access to clean water for the first time to a minimum of 1,000 people by installing a Solar Water Pumping System.

The cost of the Solar Water Pumping System includes the drilling, the solar pumps, the solar panels, the tank, and up to 15 water taps installed by our team throughout the village. Moreover, each of the solar systems are set up in a way that allow our team and donors to track the energy produced, energy consumed and water flow live, remotely and anytime. In addition, we receive live alerts if any part of the system malfunctions, enabling our team in-country to travel and fix the problem immediately. Transparency and efficiency is extremely important among our donors within our 128 projects. Our goal is that each one of the villages become and remain self-sufficient. With access to solar energy, the energy and entrepreneurial spirit within the villages begin to blossom, self-confidence and pride increases, and the health and education of the individuals, especially children, improves.


3 things you would have liked to know before starting your own business:

  1. Sometimes good is not good enough
  2. Sometimes the source of the problem is also the source of the solution
  3. Each of us has something to share
  4. We have simple solutions that can make big difference in other people’s lives.


3 tools that help your business and you think every entrepreneur should know about 

  1. Google Analytics is a wonderful tool that gives us a tremendous amount of insight, effectiveness and engagement into the audience that we target.
  2. Facebook is a great way to share the work that we do & we have reached over 330,000 people in only 2 years.
  3. Messaging applications such as Whatsapp, allows us to be in touch with each of the 7 African teams we have in each 7 African countries where we operate. We share live photos, videos, project updates, and testimonies from the field and then we share with the donors.


Your motivating quote

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.” -Nelson Mandela

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