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Siemens Stiftung announces winners of the empowering people. Award

Berlin | October 06, 2016

Global contest awards 200,000 Euros prize money to most innovative low-tech solutions that sustainably help improve lives in developing countries.

An international jury of experts has selected the top three most promising projects. First prize is awarded to BEMPU Health from India for a small bracelet which alerts caregivers to the signs of life-threatening hypothermia and therefore helping to save the lives of babies: the Bempu Hypothermia Bracelet. Second prize goes to Indonesia Medika for the innovative integral solution Garbage Clinic Insurance, which tackles two essential problems: the lack of waste collection and health cover. The third prize is awarded to aQysta for the Barsha Pump - Hydro-powered Irrigation. WAFFCO by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany won the additional Community Prize, which was chosen by online voting of the growing empowering people. Network community.


Over 800 entries from 88 countries were entered to the competition, which Siemens Stiftung held for the second time last year. An international jury has now selected the top three winners from the shortlist of 23 best technical solutions and products. Examining the creative solutions, the jurors evaluated the degree of innovation and the level of financial sustainability in the entries. All winners were honored at the Award Ceremony at LaLuz in Berlin on October 6.


“There are amazing low-tech solutions among the winning entries and they do offer real value to the quality of life for those living in challenging conditions. I think the support of the empowering people. Network to incubate these product-based projects is important and we shall join these efforts whenever possible”, commented Noha El-Ghobashy, founding President of Engineering for Change and member of the Award jury.


The empowering people. Network was founded to foster relationships between companies, innovators, operative partners and investors working in the field of development. Offering a helping hand to innovators, members benefit from online and offline training sessions on topics relevant to their daily work. In addition they receive expert consulting and support in the further development of their organization and the implementation of their solutions.


“It is now imperative that these great solutions reach as many lives as possible, and as fast as possible”, stated Rolf Huber, Managing Director of the Siemens Stiftung. “We have a global network of dedicated and experienced experts at hand to partner with the winners, and we are looking forward to accompanying them on their further, often difficult, entrepreneurial journey from now on.”


Siemens Stiftung is awarding a total of 200,000 Euros to the prize-winners: 50,000 Euros is awarded as first prize, 30,000 as second prize, 20,000 is awarded to the third prize winner and hardware to the value of 3,000 is received by the winner of the Community Prize. All further 20 runners-up are awarded 5,000 each. The prize money provides support for the solution in its implementation and development. An invitation to membership of the empowering people. Network is also extended to the 23 finalists.

The top three winning solutions:

Bempu Hypothermia Alert Bracelet, BEMPU Health from India: The winner of the first prize of the empowering people. Award, BEMPU Health from India, received 50,000 Euro for its response to the widespread issue of hypothermia. The bracelet monitors the body temperature of premature and newborn babies and intuitively alerts a parent if the baby’s temperature drops. Thanks to its technological simplicity, the solution does not require any medical training and helps prevent the mortality of infants in low-resource settings.


Winning the second prize for the integral solution Garbage Clinical Insurance, Indonesia Medika received 30,000 Euros. This micro-health insurance program transforms recyclable waste into a financial resource: People in Indonesia use garbage they collect as payment to an insurance scheme. This means that the poorest are able to benefit from clinical services, all the while reducing the pollution through waste.

The third prize of 20,000 Euros was awarded to aQysta for the Barsha Pump - Hydro-powered Irrigation. Developed to help farmers, this waterwheel utilizes the energy from the flow of rivers and canals to pump water, regardless of the flow velocity. The device, which can pump long distances, is not only affordable but uses indigenous materials. It needs little maintenance and does not require any fuel or electricity to work. This ensures that the pump has no operating expenses.

Winner of Community Prize: WAFFCO, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany

The Waste-Fuel Free Combustion, is a closed biomass burning stove for households. Simple and cheap to produce, it is constructed mainly of clay and metal and serves as a free cooking technology since it is fired with generated agricultural and domestic waste as well as packaging waste material.



Breezergy Micro Wind Turbine, FuSystems SkyWind, Germany

An innovative, reliable micro wind turbine consisting of just two parts, which is light, yet robust and easy to use and install. Providing sufficient output for a small household, it is ideal for off-grid areas. 

Café Compadre, Compadre, Peru

Designed in Peru, Café Compadre roasts coffee beans using sunlight. The technology concentrates the sunrays on one focal point and can roast 1 kg of coffee beans in 15–25 minutes requiring a fraction of energy of conventional devices.

Ennota, Ennota, Egypt

Devised for use in the MENA region, this app is a financial management tool helping to empower owners of small businesses in developing countries to grow. Providing a financial overview, this integrated education in finance enables users to advance their knowledge and increase the efficiency of their organizations.

Evaptainer, Evaptainers, USA

These evaporation coolers provide electricity-free mobile refrigeration. Used for keeping small harvests cooled before being taken to market and operating on the same principle as a “Zeer Pot”, this innovation is sturdier than its traditional counterpart.

GiftedMom, GiftedMom, Cameroon

This social enterprise improves maternal health with last mile mobile technologies. Combining SMS/voice reminders with curative GPS-integrated tricycle solutions in remote areas ensures communication between women and medical teams. The project thus aims to end preventable maternal and infant deaths by sending help in time.

GravityLight, The GravityLight Foundation, UK

GravityLight provides instant light and powers a string of up to four ancillary SatLights for use around the home. Powered by lifting weights, the device does not need batteries or sunlight providing a clean, safe and affordable alternative to kerosene lamps in off-grid areas.

GRIS water saving system, IgenDesign, Hungary/Brazil

This set of water-containers can be laid on the bathroom floor under the shower capturing water from the showerhead, a person’s body and from the wall whilst showering. The collected water stored in these containers can be reused, for example, in toilet-flushing, cleaning, or watering plants.

Groasis Technology, Groasis/Desert Tulip/ICU, Jordan

Groasis Technology is an integrated technology that enables the survival of freshly planted trees in degraded ecosystems. A 20-litre box planted around a seedling, collects dew and enough rainwater to sustain the plant while it develops its taproot and grows.

io™ solar power system, Shamba Technologies, UK

The system provides a new way to make solar power more affordable for rural, off-grid households. With a small investment in a basic io™ solar power module, users can scale-up the size of their system adding power and functionality at their own pace. When several are joined, they synergise to create a full-size system.

Library for All, Library for all, USA

Library For All aims at providing children in developing countries access to educational materials with a cloud-based library of e-books. Designed specifically for low-bandwidth environments, the Library is scalable, and responsive to the needs of educators and children in the regions.

Maps G110, Mobile Agricultural Power Solutions (MAPS), USA

The MAPS G110 is a utility vehicle designed to meet the needs of farmers and agriculture businesses. Able to drive on rough terrains, it aids farmers to get food to markets before it spoils and can also power attachments like food processors and water pumps.

Mellowcabs, Mellowcabs, South Africa

The three-wheeled, electric mini-cabs provide low cost, eco-friendly and convenient taxi and transport services in built-up cities. A flexible solar panel in the roof can also generate up to 35% of the cab’s power. The vehicles are reasonably-priced than conventional taxis and private cars and emit less CO².

Multi-Crop Thresher, Elliot Avila, Tanzania

The Multi-Crop Thresher is an agricultural product that can thresh various types of crops such as maize and rice in just one machine. This is a cleaner agricultural product that can be used more efficiently reducing the amount of hard labor. The device does not only spares the farmer having to acquire and change different attachments but also saves time.

Pearltect, Pearltect, Netherlands

The innovative self-defence product helps women to protect themselves. Worn as a bracelet, it contains a breakable capsule (the pearl) filled with an unpleasant odoriferous substance to repel, and DNA dye to mark the attacker.

Pocket Pocket FM, Media in Cooperation and Transition, Germany

Pocket FM is a broadcasting system, which serves as an interface between internet and radio. The device has been adapted to situations and regions where communication is difficult, for example those cut off from vital information including refugee camps and areas with civil wars.

Quintas, Quintas Renewable Energy Solutions, Nigeria

This biomass hot air dryer/dehydrator is a relatively simple construction and can burn locally availably biomass to dry agricultural produce. This allows farmers flexibility when selling their produce and, at the same time, ensures a useful disposal of biomass.

Safe Travel, Traveler, Cameroon

Safe Travel is a free phone app which works as a monitoring system called ‘traveler’. Designed for passengers and users, it offers a platform and data system tracking a traveler’s location. This is used to notify families and road safety or emergency teams if a traffic incident occurs.

SolarTurtle, SolarTurtle, South Africa

The SolarTurtle is a solar kiosk designed for maximum security and portability. Housed in containers it can be deployed by simply offloading and unfolding the panels towards the sun. These community-owned solar kiosks use the solar energy attained to sell electricity by the bottle so it can be transported.

Videobooks in Sign Language, Canales Asociación Civil, Argentina

Enabling deaf children access to literature and reading, these videos combine children’s books and young adult literature read in sign language, with voice-overs and animated illustration. This invites hearing-impaired children into the world of reading together with their families and friends.

You can find further details of all the winning solutions with high-resolution images for download here

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Official hashtag: #epAward


Siemens Stiftung

As a non-profit corporate foundation, we promote sustainable social development, which is crucially dependent on access to basic services, high-quality education, and an understanding of culture. To this effect, our project work supports people in taking the initiative to responsibly address current challenges. Together with partners, we develop and implement solutions and programs to support this effort, with technological and social innovation playing a central role. Our actions are impact-oriented and conducted in a transparent manner.


Working Area Basic Services

Secure access to basic services is indispensable for people to lead independent and dignified lives. Our goal is to reduce existential deficits in basic services and strengthen necessary social structures. With our international empowering people. Network, we bring innovators and social entrepreneurs together and encourage the combination of technical and

entrepreneurial concepts. This allows us to promote the spread of suitable solutions, maintain a platform for knowledge transfer, and enable networking of development collaboration organizations. Locally operating projects are run together with partners and implement innovative as well as proven solutions. Additionally, we impart the necessary knowledge to ensure that self-supporting structures can contribute to a permanent improvement in basic services.


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