The Equator Initiative has recently opened nominations for the biennial Equator Prize, which “recognizes outstanding local efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.” According to iGovernment, the prize “showcases some of the most innovative community work of the present generation and is critical in emphasizing the strong connection between local solutions and international environmental policy-making.”
In each cycle, prizes are awarded to community organizations from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In prior years, Equator Prize finalists/winners have included the following organizations from India (more after the jump):
Aharam (TCPC) Traditional Crops Producers’ Company – 2006
Aharam TCPC is an agro-biodiversity enterprise that works with marginal farmers and landless laborers to encourage the conservation of traditional crop diversity in Tamilnadu, India. Aharam’s activities include the collection and cultivation of over 50 seed varieties for 15 species of traditional crops, the sustainable collection of 45 species of medicinal herbs and the provision of training in organic farming to local farmers. By facilitating access to new markets and marketing locally-produced and collected crops, Aharam has generated increased income for 150 farmer, artisan and self-help groups. This initiative has also contributed to the response to the 2004 tsunami by assisting survivors to produce high value goods and develop practices to reduce vulnerability to future disasters.
Over its eleven-year history, GREEN Foundation has harnessed traditional knowledge of agricultural practices and seed diversity to create highly successful seed and gene banks throughout the state of Karnataka. Working primarily with a network of women’s farming groups called sanghas, GREEN Foundation has improved food security through the creation of a farmer-based community seed supply system and through establishment of home gardens. In doing so, the foundation has forged a number of valuable partnerships between farmers and scientists. To date, GREEN Foundation has helped establish 31 community seed banks and, as a result, the number of farmers in Karnataka conserving indigenous seeds has grown from 10 to over 1,500. \
For further information go here, or to nominate an organization, go here.