Branding a Nation: One Village at a Time

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (December 19, 2013) – After winning their recent UN Innovation Award, US-based non-profit Innovation: Africa (iA) was honored yet again, this time with the Wharton School’s Social Media Leadership Award in the category of Nation Branding. They were recognized along with other leaders in the field such as American Airlines, Dell and Chase.

The Nation Branding category is a new one for the Wharton School–one focused on recognizing the organization that is best leveraging social media to creatively construct a positive national image.

“We’re honored to receive this award,” says Rachel Ishofsky, iA’s Managing Director, “and even more honored with the opportunity to leverage our work on the ground as a tool to tell a new story about Israel in the international community.”

The following is a quick look back at what Innovation: Africa has done to build a positive image of Israel in the last 12 months, both online and off:


On November 1st, iA was honored with the UN Innovation Award, offered annually to one organization at the cutting edge of its field. iA was invited to speak at UN conferences in Geneva, Kenya and Ethiopia, and a statement they published earlier this year was translated into the six official UN languages and distributed to all delegates at a conference fot eh Economic and Social Council. An article about their work is about to be published in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Bulletin.

“The amazing work that Innovation: Africa is doing serves as an inspiration to all Israelis.” said Ron Prosor, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations “This is the face of Israel that I am so proud to represent in the halls of the United Nations.”

After starting a new Facebook page earlier this year, iA now gets an average of over 1,000 new “likes” per week, and their posts reach over 400,000 people monthly. Their website–thanks to a Google Grant for free advertising–gets over 10,000 hits per month.

This month, iA Founder & President Sivan Ya’ari traveled with 8 time NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo to his native Democratic Republic of Congo where they visited The Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital to explore a potential partnership. More details to come on this with a press release in the new year.

Since its founding in 2008, iA has completed 71 solar and agricultural projects impacting 540,424 rural Africa people. “These are people that know little of Israel and the Jewish community” says Ya’ari. “Now, when they think of the Israel, they think of those who have brought them light, and introduced them to lifesaving technologies.”

“2013 has been the best year yet for Innovation: Africa, but it’s only the beginning,” explains Ya’ari. “We have much more work to do on the ground, and much more to do to leverage this work as a way to change the global conversation about Israel. You’ll be hearing a lot more about us in 2014, and we look forward to sharing our story with the global community.”

About Innovation: Africa

Innovation: Africa is a non-profit organization that brings Israeli innovation to African villages. Since their founding in 2008, they have completed over 70 solar and agricultural projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda and South Africa. Using Israeli solar technology, they provide schools and medical clinics with solar power to offer evening study, adult education, well-lit nighttime medical care and refrigeration for lifesaving medicines and vaccines. Their solar powered water pumps provide over 20,000 liters of clean water a day, and their drip irrigation systems provide a source of food and income for farmers and their families. Over 500,000 people have been impacted by their projects, and more than 300,000 vaccines have been issued from their solar powered refrigerators. In June 2012, Innovation: Africa was awarded Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.


Rachel Ishofsky
Managing Director
(646) 472-5381

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