2019 Winners

Africa

Community-based conservation

Passionate about the wilderness, I am committed to saving one of the world’s last wild places, the Okavango Basin. The Wildlife Protection through Community Based Natural Resource Management in Eastern Angola project is coupled with the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project and aims to develop a model for communities in one of the last wildlife hubs in Angola, as a tool to activate wildlife conservation, help protect one of the last wild places on earth and simultaneously help fight poverty. I strongly believe in coupling science, research and traditional knowledge to improve national policy making. Only this combination can achieve maximum protection of wildlife and natural resources through the improvement of the livelihoods of poor and remote rural communities. Unlike existing models, this will be tailored to the needs, believes, culture and aspirations of the local Luchaze people, where they will be part of the decision making and the structuring of the model.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Turning rainwater into drinking water

Every two minutes, a child dies due to waterborne diseases. Aqualuz is a UN-recognized device that costs only US$125,00 and will reduce that problem. This is through a rainwater-harvesting system from the semi-arid areas of Brazil, but with potential for application in other countries. Applying the UNICEF and WHO recommended principle of solar water disinfection, we have developed Aqualuz, the only technology in the world for cisterns, which only needs sunlight to make rainwater suitable for consumption. It is a validated technology in the field, with many advantages compared to competitors including clay filter, chlorination and water boiling. The system can last up to 20 years and its components can be recycled; it is easy to maintain and clean using water and soap, and the indicator that changes colour when water is ready. Our technology is also low-cost, and in Brazil alone can serve more than 1.2 million families with existing cisterns. No chemical component harmful to health or nature are used, with the negative impact of chlorine use on water replaced by sunlight. We have already impacted more than 150 people with access to drinking water, and plan to reach 700 people by the end of 2019.

Asia and the Pacific

Cacao agroforestry

In 2016, our community was hit by Typhoon Nock Ten, destroying 80 percent of agricultural land. Farmers resorted to cutting down trees to sell, creating environmental problems. Farmers in the Philippines live below the poverty line, and are vulnerable to not only disaster, but become targets of terrorist groups. We hope to educate them so that they can live a better quality of life. My Farm and Culinary Lounge established The Cacao Project, aims to combat deforestation by reviving barren lands through tree planting, creating economic forests and nurseries, promoting fair trade and reforestation, while empowering farmers with higher incomes. Cacao is a high-value product, suited to our climate and ecosystem, durable and weather resilient. Our reforestation efforts have seen the revival of two water sources in our community, due to increased water retention in the soil. We promote natural and responsible farming practices, making fertilisers and preserving traditional farming methods. We have trained over 200 farmers and planted over 70,000 trees across 70 hectares of land.

Europe

Making virtual trees real

We have launched the “Plant the Forest” website to reach more people in our reforestation efforts. In future, we are also planning to launch a “Plant the forest” educational gaming project, where your actions in virtual reality lead to tree restoration in real life. You can grow your own virtual forest and, in parallel, new forests planted by our volunteers will emerge. Like in the game, insects, animals and birds will inhabit them. Step-by-step, players will learn about environmental restoration and what they need to do to make animals appear in their forests. Three years ago, we created the ‘PosadiLes.ru’ service so that everyone could plant one’s forest without leaving home. The service sends a certificate and GPS coordinates of the planted trees to the person who has “planted” them. Today, more than 4,000 people and 10 companies have planted over 400,000 trees in 17 regions of Russia Trees are planted to reforest and restore areas that have suffered from wildfires, snow and forest pests.

North America

Catholic land for socio-ecological good

When I was 26, I learned that the Catholic Church was one of the biggest land-owners globally, (over 177 million acres) but had rarely done land inventories. This led me to found GoodLands, where we are working to bring Catholic conservation to the scale and impact of Catholic healthcare and education, as the largest global network of its kind. We are bringing the most powerful technology for large-scale property planning and sustainability - Geographic Information Systems - to the Catholic Church - the global organization with the most land and the most people. Our aim is to make the Catholic Church a leader in the fight against climate change as well as related social issues like migration and human trafficking. Our work can be a model for other globally distributed non-state actors including for other religions, the British commonwealth, the United Nations and meta-national entities. I founded GoodLands in 2015 to help religious communities manage their property in a way that promotes sustainable development – caring for the earth and the poor.

West Asia

First aid for fabric: remaking fashion futures

The impact of dumping clothing in landfill sites is catastrophic. Natural fibres such as cotton or silk produce greenhouse gases upon degradation, while synthetic fibres such as polyester are non-biodegradable, leading to similar impacts on the environment as plastics. Chemicals from dyes can have severe impacts on soil and water sources from run-off. FabricAID reuses and recycles unwanted clothes. Clothes are graded, sorted into over 46 categories, cleaned in our warehouse and redistributed to disadvantaged communities at US$0.3 – US$2 per item. We have sold more than 60,000 items of clothing to more than 7,000 beneficiaries. In addition, we collect new and gently used clothes, shoes, and accessories through our network of smart clothing collection bins located all over Lebanon, and garments that cannot be reused are shredded for pillows, chairs, couches, mattresses, and bean bags. In collaboration with the Orphan Welfare society, we also work with students from ESMOD Fashion School to create fashionable clothes and with woman refugee tailors from NGO Sawa for Development and Aid, who tailor the fabric into clothes. The new creations are sold at fashion shows at prices ranging from 100$ to 200$ to middle-class customers, under the brand name RemAID by FabricAID.

Asia and the Pacific

Green mobility for women

Nepal has the fastest growing per capita carbon emission rate in South Asia. Our Green Energy Mobility platform (GEM) aims to make electric public transportation a quality alternative to private vehicles to combat climate change. Safa tempos, or electric minibuses, are ubiquitous in Kathmandu and well-known for being women-owned. As most buses stop by 8 pm, GEM will start by targeting the under-served night time transportation market, especially for women at risk when working late. Our vision is to help women own and upgrade their electric vehicles through low-interest impact financing. Our big data platform will collect data about transportation demands, rush hour traffic patterns, passenger preferences, and loan repayment abilities, in order to provide an alternative credit score. At the same time, it will gather data for governments and urban planners to plan bus routes, design road expansions, and manage traffic flow. The green vehicle reservation and payment platform can be used on any phone and incentivized rewards frequent users with digital tokens called GEM miles, which are similar to air miles.