Six finalists compete for Hivos Social Innovation Award

February 5, 2015

Update 5 February: the winner of the Hivos Social Innovation Award 2014 in in the prototype category is Lensational and the runner-up in the the scaling up category is Organic Sack Gardening. You can read about them below.


Individuals, organisations and companies from 61 countries competed for the new Hivos Social Innovation Award. The two most daring and innovative ideas that aim to contribute to a better world will be announced on 5 February in Amsterdam.

The Award has two categories. One for a promising innovative idea to be developed into a prototype. And another for a proven innovative approach that deserves support to scale up and increase impact. Both awards entail a €15,000 prize which must be invested in further developing the concept. The first category award consists of a € 5,000 prize and a coaching trajectory worth € 10,000 to develop the idea into a prototype. The second category prize is intended as an investment in scaling proven approaches within the next two years.

Finalists selected

The competition kicked off on 15 October 2014. By the end of the submission round, Hivos received nearly 400 innovations from 61 countries, out of which 20 semi-finalists were selected based on more than 150,000 votes and Hivos’ own selection. The semi-finalists participated in the Hivos Learning Community to share knowledge, learn from international speakers and work in groups to complete their submissions for the finals. After a jury selection, six of them were invited to join us in Amsterdam to present their initiative during the Hivos Social Innovation Award ceremony. 

The three finalists in the prototype category are:

  • Social Innovation Academy (Uganda), a unique learning environment that empowers youth to become job creators by nurturing innovative project ideas into social enterprises.
  • Lensational (Hong Kong, China), a social enterprise that equips women with a way to express themselves by giving them access to digital cameras and photography training and by providing sales channels to sell their photographs.
  • Open Solidarity App (Indonesia), a cutting edge smartphone application that promotes freedom and equality in the workplace by reporting discrimination and violation on the basis of gender, race and freedom of association.

The three finalists in the scaling up category are:

  • Organic Sack Garden (Bangladesh), a pioneering project that encourages urban Bangladeshis to grow vegetables in sacks. It promises to trigger social change by improving nutrition and food security in a land fraught with poverty, malnutrition and problems related to climate change.
  • Urine for Wealth (Malawi), a project that makes sustainable organic nitrogen fertilizer from human urine. The urine is harvested from ecological sanitation toilets situated in crowded markets in Malawi’s urban centers.
  • Conserving Ecosystems Resilience (Sri Lanka), an integrated approach that restores and conserves essential ecosystems downriver of the Maha Oya, and increases the resilience of coastal and riverine communities to environmental threats and disasters.

The award ceremony will take place at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam, on 5 February 2015, from 19.30-22.00 CET.  The jury, chaired by former Hivos CEO Manuela Monteiro, will announce the two winners after the six finalists pitch their innovations.

Ask the finalists a question!

You can ask the six finalists questions in the comments section of their personal pages on the the Hivos Social Innovation Award website. Just follow the links in the names of each finalist above. A selection of these questions will be posed directly to the finalists during the award ceremony.