A non-profit organization that focuses on bringing Israeli sustainable technologies to African villages has received special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The New York-based organization, Jewish Heart for Africa, was one of 241 groups to receive the status out 624 applicants.
By earning this status, Jewish Heart for Africa will be able to participate in nearly all intergovernmental processes at the UN that concern social and economic development.
“This is a truly momentous milestone in our organization’s short span, and a significant moment of recognition for our life-saving, empowering and humanitarian mission of love, solidarity and peace between the people of Israel and Africa,” said board member Isaiah Chabala, a former Zambian ambassador to the UN and the EU who facilitated the organization’s application.
“Jewish Heart for Africa is making an invaluable and lasting contribution to the people of Africa and to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals as well, in particular poverty eradication and the promotion of sustainable development,” Chabala said.
The consultative status at ECOSOC will allow seven Jewish Heart for Africa representatives to receive annual access passes to the UN premises and participate in all ECOSOC meetings as well as those of many other UN bodies.
In early July, Jewish Heart for Africa celebrated the completion of its 58th solar project in Africa and bringing 250,000 people throughout the continent sustainable solutions to fulfill their basic needs.
The organization has installed solar panels at schools, medical clinics and orphanages in villages throughout Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.
The panels bring electricity to communities located far off the grid, allowing them to have refrigerators filled with vaccines, water pumps and light bulbs.
“Part of our mission is to try and improve the image of Israel,” Sivan Borowich Yaari, founder of Jewish Heart for Africa, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “One of the things we are doing well is that we are making sure the local governments in the countries we work know about the work we are doing with Israeli technologies.”
To get her organization’s message across, Borowich Yaari said she always meets with the relevant ministers, first ladies and village chiefs in the countries that she visits.
However, she explained, “We always wanted to try and do a bit more.”
As a result, the group has worked for the past two-and-ahalf years to achieve this UN recognition, a process that involved officials examining its work on the ground, financials and board members, according to Borowich Yaari.
By acting as an official consultant to ECOSOC, the organization will be able to make even more African governments aware of what Israel has to offer in terms of sustainability, she explained.
“By being in Israel and by seeing what is now being done in Israel I know that there is a lot of things that can help many of the African countries,” Borowich Yaari said. “I think that by being part of [ECOSOC] we can share with the rest of the African community some solutions they can implement in their own countries – whether it be with us or with their own forces.”