Equator Prize Winners

15 years advancing solutions for local sustainable development.

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Founded by Mayan women, Koolel-Kab/Muuchkambal is an organic farming and agroforestry initiative that works on forest conservation (they established a 5,000-hectare community forest), promoting indigenous land rights, environmental education, and community-level disaster risk reduction strategies. The association advocates for public policies that stop deforestation and offer alternatives to input-intensive commercial agriculture.…

With the aim of sustainably managing local forests, the Conservation Area Management Committee, Parche is applying indigenous knowledge to local environment and development challenges. In addition to establishing tree nurseries and working with communities to harvest non-timber forest products (NTFPs), the organization has reduced wildlife poaching and is providing alternative energy access for the local population.…

An indigenous community conserved area, Comunidad Indígena de Manquemapu (Indigenous Community of Manquemapu) works to promote sustainable forest management and marine resource conservation as a way of meeting the economic needs of resident indigenous communities. Born in response to external threats from extractive industries, this community-based group manages a large area of alerche forest...…

Association Tchadienne des Volontaires pour la Protection de l'Environnement was developed to address land and resource rights for women, in response to drought, desertification, and land degradation, and focuses on training in ecosystem restoration, drought preparedness, and agroforestry. Land rights are negotiated with local chiefs so that women assume management of degraded plots, which are then restored to become more productive.…

Asociación Comunitaria “Bolívar Tello Cano” is reducing deforestation by providing a sustainable income-generation activity for local indigenous communities that does not require cutting down trees. The association has worked with researchers to pioneer a technique to extract the essential oils from the seeds of the Palo Santo tree. The oil has commercial value for use in perfumes and food flavoring, and is being harvested and marketed by...…

Once on the brink of resettlement due to desertification, soil degradation and lack of water, the Abrha Weatsbha community in northern Ethiopia has reclaimed its land through the reforestation and sustainable management of over 224,000 hectares of forest. Tree planting activities have resulted in improved soil quality, higher crop yields, greater biomass production, groundwater functioning, and flood prevention.…

Zenab for Women in Development is a grassroots organization that has organized local women into a farmers union. Started in 2005, the union has grown from 300 women in six communities to 3,000 women in 53 communities across Sudan. Smaller cooperatives make up the larger union, each of which provides a platform for female farmers to improve agricultural productivity and to exchange environmental good practice.…

Zan va Zamin (Women and Earth) was Founded by a group of female activists to overcome the social and economic challenges resulting from the civil war in Tajikistan. The organization works to attain access to land for landless farmers, supports diversified farming methods, and promotes the conservation of biodiversity through responsible natural resource management.…

The Yayasan Pengelolaan Lokal Kawasan Laut (Community-based Marine Management Foundation) coordinates conservation, environmental education and livelihoods programming centred on locally-managed marine areas in 26 sites across eastern Indonesia. Among its innovative conservation work, the foundation has supported villages in the Padaido Islands to use GPS technologies to map local marine resources, helping them to resist the destructive effects of commercial fishing companies.…

In collaboration with 40 villages in the northern-central district of Timor, Yayasan Mitra Tani Mandiri aims to develop sustainable agricultural systems to increase productivity and provide alternative sources of income, with the aim of helping communities develop economic independence.…

Yayasan Kerang Lestari Teluk Pemuteran (Pemuteran Bay Coral Protection Foundation) was started in response to the collapse of the local fishing industry near the Pemuteran community in Bali, due in large measure to coral reef loss from sedimentation, rising water temperatures, and unsustainable fishing methods such as reef bombing.…

In the midst of armed conflict, the Inga indigenous peoples of Aponte – a population of 3,600 – successfully fought to recover their sovereignty and rights over their 22,283 hectares of ancestral territory. The group brokered a groundbreaking agreement with the Government of Colombia to reframe a national program designed to pay indigenous peoples to clear drug plantations from their land.…

West Africa Initiative of Liberia (WAIOL) promotes apiculture, snail raising, and the planting of multi-purpose tree species to improve the livelihood options of unemployed rural farmers. Local farmers are provided with training in all three livelihood activities and provided with a starter kit containing beehives, snail cages, basic carpentry tools, and moringa tree seedlings.…

This community-managed wildlife sanctuary consists of a 34-km stretch of riverine forest, floodplain, and savannah woodland along the Black Volta River, in northwestern Ghana. Created in 1998 in response to the decline of hippopotami in the region due to high levels of hunting, the sanctuary has used revenue from ecotourism to deliver infrastructure investments for the residents of its seventeen member communities.…

Developed in response commercial logging pressures and a lack of public services, the Wanang Conservation Area is an alliance of ten indigenous, rainforest-dwelling clans that together protect 10,000 hectares of forest for biodiversity research, carbon storage, and sustainable livelihoods. The initiative maintains a 'forest dynamics plot', where they have planted more than 280,000 trees to study their responses to changing climatic conditions.…

Uplift the Rural Poor was Founded to improve the livelihoods of communities living adjacent to a series of three biodiversity-rich protected areas in Uganda: Bwindi Gorilla National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Echuya Forest Reserve. Uplift the Rural Poor works to reduce pressure on forest resources and an important gorilla habitat, while also creating alternative livelihood strategies.…

Union Soamitambatra is using a traditional consensus-based Malagasy governance system, known as fokonolona, and community social contracts, known as dina, to regenerate the Badika forest and its surrounding lakes. Working with 6,589 people across ten villages, the union brings together community user groups, technical experts, municipal government, and private sector partners to protect and...…

The remote communities of Ecuador's inter-Andean valleys have long faced the twin challenges of food insecurity and environmental degradation. Malnutrition affects approximately 40 per cent of the region's population, and farmers receive limited technological and economic support from formal institutions. The Unión de Organizaciones Campesinas e Indígenas de Cotacachi...…

Working in the areas surrounding Lake Urmia – the world’s second largest hyper-saline lake and the largest inland wetland in Iran – the Umbrella Group of Naghadeh NGOs addresses water management issues that include wetland restoration, adaptation to droughts, farm irrigation, and sedimentation in canals. Although previous efforts to restore the rapidly disappearing Lake Urmia focused on the lake itself, this initiative took...…

Ukuzaji Wa Asali Arica (Honey Care Africa), Honey Care Africa is a social enterprise that strives to raise incomes for rural Kenyan farmers through apiculture. Taking advantage of a tradition of beekeeping as a supplementary source of food and cash income for Kenyan farmers, the enterprise has sought to improve the productivity and viability of this sustainable livelihood activity as an alternative to poaching...…