AWARD Finalists 2010

The Permaculture Research Institute
2010 Award Winner

Greening the Desert (Al-Jawasreh, Jordan)

The Permaculture Research Institute is working to green the desert around Al-Jawasreh village. Jordan is one of the 10 most water deficient countries in the world, and the Jordan Valley is 400m below sea level, the lowest place on earth. Saline soil, deforestation, desertification and drought combine to impede agriculture and cause food shortages.

Applying years of knowledge and experience with nature-based solutions, the initiative has introduced rain harvesting and tree-based microclimates. Soil-regeneration techniques include organic compost, mulching, planting soil regenerating plant species, worm farming, compost tea, and animal husbandry.

The initiative, which includes two demonstration and training sites, has influenced thousands of farmers and other people across Jordan, including the National Centre for Agricultural Research and Extension.

Interested? Please contact us

How PRI utilized the Prize Money of Euro 10,000:

Central building construction (classroom, office, living quarters)

  1. Cobbing,
  2. Hauling bricks,
  3. Wall facing Jericho (before and after),
  4. Central Building & Demonstration House

Solvatten • 2nd prize

Water Purification (Uganda, Africa)

Solvattten is working in Uganda to improve the water supply of 200 rural families. Waterborne diseases afflict families and health services. Gathering firewood to boil water takes time from other essential tasks and accelerates deforestation.

The Swedish company produces a patented solar water purifier that also produces warm water. The purifier is gaining acceptance. Villagers report saving up to 21 hours a week with the device, and they are using 30-50% less firewood.

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SADHANA FOREST • 3rd prize

Wasteland Reclamation (Auroville, India)

Sadhana Forest is creating a replicable model of wasteland reclamation and sustainable living in degraded land around Auroville, India. The water table was 26 feet below the surface and dropping every year. Rainwater-run-off washed away the topsoil. Farming was threatened.

The strategy curtailed water run-off and soil erosion with embankments and dams. Indigenous plantings created a sustainable ecosystem raised the water table and increased soil fertility.

40 acres now produce a wide variety of tropical fruit. Dozens of families are now increasingly food and cash crop production.

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IKO Toilet • 4th prize

Community Hygiene and Soil Regeneration (Nairobi, Kenya)

Ecotact is improving community hygiene and soil fertility in Nairobi, Kenya. Open defecation was washed into the Mathare River. This pollution caused cholera and diarrhea outbreaks, especially during the rainy season.

Ecotact’s IKO toilet has put an end to open defecation and river pollution. The resulting improvement has improved community health and driven development, including business expansion. In addition, a harvesting system for 50 IKO toilets collects over 1 million liters of urine for recycling into organic fertilizer. This fertilizer contains zinc and magnesium, absent from conventional fertilizers.

For every dollar invested, there is $9.00 benefit in costs averted and productivity gained. This sustainable initiative is actually a profit centre.
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The Hunger project • 5th prize

Local empowerment (Ethiopia, Africa)

The Hunger Project (THP) is working to develop community autonomy in Mesqan, Ethiopia. In the past, development agencies constructed wells and latrines without training the population to maintain them or even taking into account People live in isolated small villages, divided byrivalries. The top down approach created dependence on unsustainable resources.

THP’s Swedish arm, Hungerprojektet, has reached the third step of a mobilization process:

  1. Mobilization: THP brings People to work together to form a community that is large enough to be a viable economic unit. Leadership is established. Community members and THP develop a plan to reach a hunger-free future.
  2. Construction: THP provides materials and microfinance, the community land and labour.
  3. Implementation: The community establishes and maintains income-generating services.
  4. Self-reliance: With this sustainable resource, the community advances towards autonomy.

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Droughts are increasing in East Africa because of climate change. Adopting sustainable farming practices requires community solidarity; however, youth prefer white-collar occupations.n.


By applying sustainable agricultural practices, a local farmer used the output of one sector to help another, thereby creating a virtuous self-sustaining agricultural cycle. The manure from dairy cattle, pigs and poultry enabled biogas production, which in turn provided energy for cooking and lightening. It also returned to the fields for mulching.


In a two acre demonstration garden, sandy land has regained fertility over three years. Striga weeds, which impede cereal production, have become dormant. Since mulching, maize production has risen from 600 kg per acre to 3,500 kg.

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