175 applicants from five continents have submitted inspiring projects that secure water, air and food to communities around the world in response to our open call launched on this year’s Earth Day. The WAFA Selection Committee, composed of recognized development experts, has chosen the top nine applicants that best fulfill the sustainability award criteria.
Check out the inspiring stories below! Voting to decide the WAFA 2016 winners is closed.
International Transformation Foundation (ITF) has partnered with Netherlands-based Join the Pipe Foundation (JTP) to design and produce water kiosks for schools across rural Kenya. Now, children who had to walk miles to nearby villages to get clean drinking water for their families, can go to school every day, and bring water home. To date, nine kiosks have been installed in three areas of Kenya, benefiting some 4,000 students and 70,000 community members.
Since 2008, Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra (SSK) has installed 30 new hand pumps with proper drainage systems in Uttar Pradesh, India. These pumps do not get submerged under floodwaters, allowing villages a source of safe drinking water and significantly reducing waterborne diseases during flood times. Before this breakthrough initiative, Ghaghara River communities near the Nepal border, would suffer devastating annual floods affecting 40-50,000 people in 209 villages.
With the help of local communities, the Kamalnayan Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation (KJBF) has revived 135 watercourses in Maharashtra State, India, through the building of 91 dams that conserve monsoon water. Before this, silted seasonal rivers would flood and destroy crops, causing desperate situations and suicides among farmers. Now, conservation measures and rejuvenate the soil, agricultural production has increased substantially and the water table has remained stable.
Since 1990, Ramesh Kumar Nibhoria has worked to solve the environmental and health problems caused by the use of fossil fuels in kitchens and small industries. He founded Nishant Bioenergy P Ltd (NBPL) in 1999 to produce biomass pellet manufacturing plants and commercial stoves. The smoke-free stoves, are suitable for commercial heating, cooking, and boiling. Operating costs benefit rural users, as biofuel costs less than fossil fuels.
The Sri Lankan Nagenahira Foundation has developed affordable LED lanterns for the artisanal fishermen fishing at night in the inland waters of Sri Lanka. Before this development, the use of kerosene lamps was polluting the air and aquatic ecosystem, affecting the health of communities and costing families a third of their income. The new LED lanterns are kerosene-free and powered by a rechargeable batteries and provide improved lighting for up to 16 hours. They are easy to maintain and cheaply rechargeable with photovoltaic panels, minimizing the environmental footprint.
A group of Harvard University undergraduates has created Purifaaya, an affordable ceramic filter made from Uganda local materials. This solution now secures clean water in Ugandan communities where waterborne diseases had been a major cause of death for small children. The device is easy to use and maintain, does not require replacement filters, and its one-time 20$ cost can be financed through local microfinance institutions, making it affordable in poor rural communities. By 2015, Spouts had installed 3,800 Purifaaya filters in households and public institutions like schools, hospitals, prisons, and refugees camps.
Tellspec, a Canadian-based data company, has developed an affordable real-time hand-held food scanner. The scanner can determine the authenticity, safety and nutritional value of food, and thus provides the consumer with the most relevant and accurate information about the food they eat. The technology is a three-part system: a pocket-sized scanner, a cloud-based analysis engine, and a mobile application. At a molecular level, the system can identify potential toxic contaminants, food ingredients, the quality of food, the calories, macronutrients and glycemic index, and even the authenticity of the label.
Since 1990, Concern America has worked with the indigenous Maya communities in Chiapas state in Mexico to ensure access to clean water and food, promote hygiene, prevent disease, and distribute time fairly among household members. To date, the Chiapas Water Project has built 40 water systems in the region, benefiting more than 12,000 people.
In 2008, the Yuxi Municipality Bureau of Agriculture (YMBA), China’s largest tobacco producer, launched a pilot programme to plant alternative crops that would yield returns equaling or surpassing tobacco. The success of the programme has quickly become obvious, and farmers in Yuxi are reducing tobacco cultivation in favour of healthy food crops like celery or blueberries, that have also proven to be far more profitable: from 2012 to 2015, the per capita net income of Yuxi Municipality grew by more than 3000 yuan (US$484).