Equator Prize Winners

20 years of advancing nature-based solutions for local sustainable development.

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Created in 1998 in the island of Musine, Ecuador, the Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Ecosistema Manglar (C-CONDEM) brings together community leaders, ecologists and researchers from Afro-Indigenous communities of Ecuador. C-CONDEM promotes self-sufficiency in the local communities of Esmeraldas vis-à-vis food sovereignty by restoring the local habitat in a manner to facilitate sustainable resource use and environmental justice for local community members so that mutual benefits of nature and the local community are ensured.

C-CONDEM focuses specifically on the socio-ecological restoration of the mangrove ecosystem due to its classification among the “most important wetlan…

The ICCA Network 'Territories of Life in Argentina' (RED TICCA) is an autonomous political organization of Indigenous peoples for the recognition and application of Indigenous rights and the defense of their territories at the national level. RED TICCA’s work promotes political recognition of Indigenous peoples as bearers of a millenary wisdom regarding the protection of nature and ancestral guardians of the territory.

The network is groundbreaking in its ability to bridge communities throughout the country to achieve food sovereignty, access to clean water, improved public health, intergenerational equity and gender equality. The communities have also protected their ancestral land…

Ocean Revolution Moçambique has been revitalizing the ways that the Indigenous Peoples of Inhambane Bay have coexisted with the sea; to find, mentor and network new activists; and to protect and honor the ocean as a source of wealth. This organization preserves and protects vital mangrove and seagrass habitats in the Inhambane Bay using historical Indigenous practices. One is the Mozambican concept of "Mukhedzisseli” or practical wisdom, cultural and spiritual rules passed from generation to generation to set the relationship between human beings and nature.

By empowering local community members to be certified divers, facilitating environmental education programs, and supporting lo…

Located in the province of Maï-Ndombe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mbou-Mon-Tour (MMT) is a non-governmental organization created in 1997 by local communities. With the support of their customary power in the Bolobo Territory, they founded the NGO following the observation of the depletion of wildlife in their territory and the effects of deforestation. Its vision is to promote a world where people meet their basic needs through the sustainable management of biodiversity. After years of actions and procedures, Mbou-Mon-Tour has succeeded in mobilizing the population and their traditional leaders to initiate a community-led and managed forestry project, the only one of its kind in…

On Lake Oguemoue near Lambarene, Gabon, the local community group of OELO balances ecotourism with sustainable freshwater resource management to impact local policy. Their ecotourism enterprise of Tsam Tsam supports hundreds of local fishers by putting nature and wildlife at the heart of sustainable livelihoods. In 2018, the OELO community launched a sustainable freshwater fisheries management plan that was signed into national law, which now dictates the sustainable use in part of Gabon’s largest Ramsar site. Through activism and environmental education, the organization protects against overfishing in Gabon’s Great Lakes region, protecting key species such as the African Manatee.


The Associação Rede de Sementes do Xingu (ARSX) brings together women from 25 Indigenous, agricultural and urban communities in Brazil’s Xingu and Cerrado regions to promote the collection of over 220 native seed species for large-scale ecological reforestation. Community members collect, sell, and distribute mixed batches of seeds called “muvuca” thus safeguarding community livelihoods and traditional knowledge to restore local value chains and recover over 7.4 thousand hectares of degraded forest.

The seed hubs partner with local research institutions to exchange and blend local and technical knowledge, practices, and research to combat industrial agriculture and mass deforestatio…

The Organization of United Indigenous Women for Biodiversity (OMIUBP) builds capacity in biodiversity, climate change, and traditional knowledge conservation techniques to protect big cats in Panama while preserving their Indigenous territory and culture. Through community level technical training, partnerships, and workshops, OMIUBP empowers women and youth from the Guna and Embera communities to effectively participate in and influence the implementation and monitoring of national and international laws and agreements related to biodiversity, conservation, and climate change. Through community cultural protocols, OMIUBP members generate and transmit oral and traditional knowledge in childr…

Nestled in the tropical forests and grasslands of Papua New Guinea’s Simbu Province, the Mauberema Ecotourism, Nature Conservation, Education, Research & Training Centre (MENCERTC) is an Indigenous-led ecosystem conservation and cultural preservation organization.

Founded in 2017 by a young Indigenous community member, MENCERTC brings together 8 communities across the province to sustainably manage 665ha of a biodiversity hotspot. MENCERTC has integrated Indigenous values, traditional knowledge, and cultural practices into their conservation methodology.The community-based organization has formed numerous partnerships with local universities and international conservation NGOs to tr…

The Sunkpa Shea Women’s Cooperative is an Indigenous-women-led shea butter cooperative in the savannah region of Northern Ghana. This cooperative has been able to take a community-led approach to creating a sustainable and inclusive shea butter value chain that has provided economic opportunity to over 800 women within the cooperative.

The Sunkpa Shea Women's Cooperative, born out of the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), have led local initiatives that contribute to ecosystem restoration with indigenous economic trees and traditional fire management practices. These interventions help mitigate wildlife risks in this drought prone region of Ghana. Practices such as collecti…

Founded in 2003, the Associação Bebô Xirin do Bacajá is a non-profit Indigenous organization representing the Xikrin People of the Trincheira Bacajá Indigenous Land. A women-led initiative that sustainably promotes the Babassu coconut oil supply chain and handicrafts as an economic alternative for the Xikrin people. This project is improving the quality of life and social well-being of the Indigenous communities at the same time that it protects the lands from deforestation.

The association is composed of men and women from all villages and acts as a mother association of the Trincheira-Bacajá Indigenous Land. Their work aims to incorporate all the villages in the Xikrin territory a…

Spearheading the concept of the “Organic Aimak” (community or district), BIO-KG has promoted the transition of agriculture in rural and mountain communities to organic-only production in a landscape-level approach. Revitalizing the connection with Mother Earth in the face of depleted soils, this community organization has inspired bottom-up processes leading to village decisions to form “organic districts” based on the removal of chemical fertilizers, use of traditional knowledge and practices, farmer-to-farmer field schools, and saving of seed varieties suitable for variable climatic conditions. Over 1,000 farmers have been certified as growers of organic produce. Ten organic aimaks have be…

A community-based enterprise operating around the Dja Biosphere Reserve in southern Cameroon, Tropical Forest and Rural Development is empowering Indigenous communities through cocoa-based agroforestry value chains and the collection of moabi, wild mango and other fruits. The group has planted over 70,000 trees for production and provides training in collection quality standards to obtain higher prices for food and cosmetic products. Agreements between Indigenous women collectors and government agencies secure access and use rights in the Reserve. The model’s viability is proven through the avoidance of deforestation and a reduction in poaching in the communities. The initiative focuses on t…

Part of a coalition of agricultural unions and farmer groups in Niger, these two farmer unions have improved food security for over 5,000 members, more than half of which are women, through participatory variety development, the production and marketing of crop varieties, and agroecological practices. Guiding the work of researchers to support them, the unions have conducted participatory processes to diversify their food production including millet, sorghum, and legumes varieties, increasing community resilience to a variable and warming climate. The unions support their members to implement organic agriculture, process their crops for local value addition, and fight a crop pest biologicall…

This 1,700-member cooperative, managed and run entirely by Indigenous people from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Southern India, has improved livelihoods across 147 villages by processing and marketing a diverse range of forest products and crops. Through local value addition, members earn premium prices on a wide range of products including those collected sustainably from the Reserve such as honey, soap nuts and berries, phoenix leaves and others, as well as those cultivated organically such as coffee, pepper, silk cotton, cereals, spices, fruits, and many others. Shareholders regularly monitor harvesting and agricultural practices to ensure product quality and prevent overuse of resourc…

Snehakunja Trust has protected sensitive wetland and coastal ecosystems in the Western Ghats and the Karnataka coast for 45 years. With a focus on community-based restoration and conservation, this organization provides essential solutions to the climate crisis. It has supported hundreds of self-help groups and village forest committees to sustainably manage resources based on traditional knowledge, implement natural farming techniques, use clean energy, promote entrepreneurship, and provide community health services. The restoration and protection of freshwater swamps and evergreen forests safeguards endangered species, keeps significant carbon sinks intact, and maintains critical aquifers …

This group of young women and men is addressing bleak perspectives for rural youth in the Bolivian Amazon by improving economic opportunities while combating the effects of a warming climate. AJORA has created jobs in sustainable agroforestry, including beekeeping and award-winning cacao production. With a focus on inclusive and gender-balanced decision-making, the group has cultivated a sense of optimism and belonging in vulnerable communities. Wildfires have been reduced through the revival of traditional fire management practices. The restoration of degraded areas has improved soil fertility and water availability in the community.…

This community network of over 4,600 families in Brazil’s Cerrado ecoregion exemplifies the sustainable use of a vulnerable ecosystem at large scale. CoopCerrado works with smallholders in a “farmer-to-farmer” method to sustainably harvest and process fruits, plants and seeds of the Cerrado, commercializing dozens of different certified organic products with creative marketing, elevating both the prestige of Cerrado products and local livelihoods for 26,000 people. Community monitoring prevents overharvesting, while restoration activities improve degraded ecosystems. The network manages an area of 124,000 hectares for sustainable use and was involved in the creation of two sustainable-use re…

The Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas del Territorio Cabécar Kábata Könana brings together Indigenous women in Costa Rica’s Talamanca region to promote the use of traditional practices and knowledge for food security and medicinal purposes, improve women’s leadership and Indigenous rights, and protect the surrounding forest. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the group quickly established a virtual market on social media to trade and share food during the closure of regular markets. The association also trains women in rotational and regenerative agroforestry, and promotes the use of local native seed varieties and traditional medicinal plants, improving community resilience in the face …

Deep in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, the Kichwa people of Sarayaku are leading Indigenous rights advocacy, protecting their ancestral territory and forest, and pursuing a sustainable lifestyle that sees nature not merely as resource but is in line with Indigenous wisdom. The group has won legal battles to shield their 133,000-hectare territory from oil exploitation, logging, and road construction. Facing further industrial development pressures, the group is promoting the concept of “Kawsak Sacha” (“Living Forest”) as a new category of protected area under Indigenous leadership, which also assigns legal rights to the forest. Kawsak Sacha guides forest management policies like sustainable hun…

In a 34-year effort, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda IAP has united the 638 communities of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in the State of Querétaro to promote their economic and social development alongside an intact and thriving ecosystem. A leader in community-based climate change mitigation and adaptation, the organization has driven the establishment of a state-funded carbon footprint mechanism, incentivizing landowners for climate-friendly land use including regenerative agriculture. The group is restoring 40,000 hectares of degraded ecosystems. A network of social enterprises and environmental education complements an integrated approach to foment local community ownership.…