These are the finalists from the 2010 Award in random order
We will announce the 2012 finalists around the 14th June.
On the one hand, death and disease as a result of water –borne diseases place enormous pressure on families and health services. On the other, gathering firewood to boil and purify water depletes essential forest land and takes time from other tasks.
The Solvatten initiative provides solar powered water purifiers to villagers to address the problem. The purifier has a gained acceptance as participants continue to use it. Villagers report saving as much as 21 hours a week by using the device, and they are using 30-50% less firewood. One added bonus is that the purifier produces warm water as well.
The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, is working to green the desert in the area of Al-Jawasreh village, Jordan – one of the 10 most water deficient countries in the world. The Jordan Valley faces the natural challenge of highly salty soil since it is 400m below sea level, the lowest place on earth. Deforestation and desertification along with lack of available water resources reduce food production and create food shortages.
Applying years of knowledge and experience working with nature-based solutions, the initiative introduced rain harvesting and tree-based microclimates. By regenerating the soil through techniques including organic compost, mulching, planting soil regenerating plant species, worm farming, compost tea, and animal husbandry they are spreading knowledge to bring food security to the area.
The initiative, which cultivated two demonstration and training sites, has influenced thousands of farmers and other people across Jordan, including the National Centre for Agricultural Research and Extension. Some 400 people have been trained in strategies for self sufficiency and locally based sustainable agriculture. Students have installed composting, mulching and biological grey water reed bed systems in multiple houses in several villages, achieving significant results in drought stricken areas.
Ecotact Ltd in Nariobi, Kenya, produces the IKO toilet. In private/public partnerships with the respective local authority and water and sewerage utilities they provide hygienic public utilities in areas of need.
Ecotact’s initative targets the Mathare slum where open defecation meant that all the waste flowed eventually into the Mathare river. This presented a major health hazard especially during annual long rains when it caused cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks.
Under the management of the water sanitation working committee, the Iko toilet management group (the community working committee) took responsibility for the cleaning, accounting, and registration of the mega card which the household uses to access to the facilities.
Through innovative design, transformation of the built space, social interaction and campaigns the initiative is driving social and technical development. A toilet mall is encouraging services to develop, like for example shoe-shine services and money transfers.
Furthermore, Ecotact has developed a comprehensive urine harvesting system for their current 50 Ikotoilets with a capacity of collecting over 1 Million litres of urine per month.
This fertilizer has the advantage that it contains zinc and magnesium that are absent from conventional mineral fertilizers. This initiative has shown a sustainable way forward for sanitation. For every dollar invested, there is about a nine dollar benefit in costs averted and productivity gained.
Sadhana Forest wants to create a model of wasteland reclamation and sustainable living which can be easily replicated by the surrounding community near its home village and other developing countries.
The initiative targeted 70 acres of severely eroded, arid land on the outskirts of Auroville, India, where the water table was 26 feet below the surface and dropping every year. The water level was already lower than open wells and poor farmers from the surrounding villages were having great difficulty in drawing water for their crops. The deforested land was a moon-like desert and since a water conservation system was never installed in the area, rain water-runoff washed all of the nutritious topsoil off of the land. Food production had become immensely challenging as a result. Farmers increasingly faced hardship providing for their families. Local villagers had turned to unsustainable livelihoods such as depending on cash crops and fertilizer while ground, water, and air pollution rapidly increased.
The main strategy was to drastically reduce water run-off and soil erosion through the creation of a large bunding system (raised embankments) and a complex system of earthen dams which trap water runoff from the surrounding area and percolate it into the aquifer. This and planting the indigenous plants that constitute TDEF, an ecosystem unique to this region, (and one that is currently endangered) raised the underground water table and increased the fertility of this once arid soil.
40 Acres are now densely planted with indigenous and food forest plants producing a large variety of tropical fruit. Due to a dramatic rise in the water table and soil fertility, farmers have been able to resume farming on their own land. Dozens of families that have not been able to farm their land for the past 15-20 years are now producing food and cash crops and are able to support their families.
The initiative teaches and engages volunteers at the same time. 1500 people living in the villages adjacent to Sadhana Forest and 700 Indian and international residential volunteers a year stay for an average of 6 weeks. This has meant that annually they have around 3000 visitors from over 50 countries coming to visit and learn about wasteland reclamation, water conservation, organic food growth, alternative energy systems, and many other sustainable practices.
Over 2,000 residential volunteers from India and over 50 other countries have already come to help Sadhana Forest with its work and learned various sustainable techniques.
Since submitting the initial application for this award, they have replicated their model in Haiti. Sadhana Forest Haiti was started on April 8th, 2010 and works on over 7000 acres of arid land in Anse-a-Pitre, one of the poorest regions of Haiti supporting over 1000 IDPs (internally displaced persons) who moved out of the destroyed urban centers that were affected by the January 2010 earthquake.
The Hunger project, represented by its Swedish arm, Hungerprojektet, is running their The Mesqan Epicenter initiative in Ethiopia. It is currently in the third of four phases THP’s Epicenter Strategy.
In the past, development agencies have constructed wells and latrines without training the population on how to maintain or repair them, creating a dependence on unsustainable resources.
THP works with a demand-driven social development process based on interest expressed by the villagers themselves.
The four main steps comprise:
1. Mobilization: through workshops and trainings people in a cluster of villages create a vision of a future free from hunger. They commit to provide the necessary land and resources and to work together.
2. Construction: The community provides the land, labor and materials to construct their epicenter building, nurses’ quarters and sanitary latrines.
3. Program Implementation: The community establishes and successfully operates a range of basic services (including microfinance) and generates epicenter income.
4. Self-reliance: Following official recognition of the microfinance operation as a government licensed Rural Bank, the community is then able to finance and manage its own basic services, based on their own financial resources and decision-making abilities. The community initiates and completes further development projects to continue on an upward path of economic and social progress.
The Mesqan Epicenter in Ethiopia is currently in the third phase.
1. Water Supply projects: One hand-dug well project and one spring project were developed and made operational. Each is managed by locally-elected and trained Water and Sanitary Hygiene (WASH) committee, made up of seven men and women from the community. The WASH committees were trained on water treatment and maintenance in collaboration with the local government water resource development agency. Additionally, the agency closely monitors the projects as part of its responsibility to the local community. The WASH committees, in collaboration with local government, are a crucial element in THP’s water and sanitation
program, as they allow the community to own the project.
2. Users of Pit Latrines: In the communities, 760 households (with an average family size of 5) have built dry pit latrines as part of the project.
3. Public Toilets: One public toilet was built at the Mesqan Epicenter, and another one is planned to be built in one of the schools in the epicenter communities.
4. Project Sustainability: The project is a gravity-fed system, which does not involve running costs, such electric power or diesel fuel to pump water. This makes it easy to replicate in poorer rural areas where resources are very scarce. Also, WASH committees maintain pipes and fittings with the support of local government agencies.