Innovation: Africa Director of Communications, Genna Brand
Thanks to Genna Brand for sharing her experiences working for and supporting Innovation: Africa (iA).
What is the mission of Innovation: Africa?
Bringing Israeli solar and water technology to rural African villages
Why did you decide to work for Innovation: Africa?
With a simple and inexpensive solution, Innovation: Africa is harnessing the power of the sun in order to break the cycle of poverty for communities across the continent of Africa. By providing light in schools and medical centers along with refrigeration in medical centers, iA also pumps clean water trapped in the aquifers beneath the ground in order to empower families to live happier, stronger and healthier lives.
Who has inspired you in the work that you are doing?
Once we pump water within a village, we are always inspired by the women who take initiative toward creating income generating businesses. For example, with clean water women are able to grow crops and vegetables to provide proper nutrition for their family and sell the surplus in the market in order to pay for shoes, tuition, or other household items. Additionally, women can make and sell bricks to build nicer homes rather than mud homes and once the livestock are healthier from drinking clean water, they sell the milk. Women are truly the agents of change within these communities.
What’s a story about Innovation Africa that inspires you?
For my birthday three years ago, I raised money to build a solar water pumping system in Bugayi Village in Uganda from family and friends. After raising the money, I traveled to the village with my team for the installation ceremony to open the taps of clean water for the first time. As one can imagine, I had so many emotions come over me. When I saw the number of pregnant women and young babies who, thanks to my personal community, will never have to understand what thirst, starvation or dirty water tastes like, it was the most gratifying and incredible birthday gift I could have ever asked for. I will remember that day for the rest of my life.
What has surprised you about working with your organization?
First, iA hasn't invented anything extravagant. We are simply taking Israeli solutions and know-how to empower individuals lives in rural African villages. Such a simple and inexpensive solution carries the impact of transforming ones entire life for the better.
What's the best part of your job and why?
It's impossible to choose one aspect of my work that is defined as "the best part of my job." From our fearless leader and my co-workers who push the boundaries day in and day out to fight poverty to the work ethic and passion of our local teams in Africa across 10 different countries who are truly the ones who carry out our mission and vision to be one of impact and empowerment. Yet, on top of everything, seeing a child's smile and pure joy from drinking clean water can never be put into words and knowing that his/her life will forever be changed.
What are some non-monetary ways for others to get involved in your organization or cause?
Volunteering or interning within our Israel or New York based offices.
To learn more about Innovation Africa visit https://www.innoafrica.org/