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Grassroots initiatives from Bangladesh to Zimbabwe are the Gold Winners of the 2009 SEED Awards

Nairobi, 10 November 2009 – Outstanding social and environmental projects from South Africa, Colombia, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India and Niger are the winners of the 2009 SEED Gold Awards, the SEED Initiative announced today.

The prize recognizes promising, locally driven start-up enterprises that work in developing countries to improve livelihoods, tackle poverty and manage natural resources sustainably.

The five 2009 Gold Winners, selected by an international jury among this year’s twenty SEED Award winners, are:

  • A n association of small-scale women farmers in Zimbabwe who are striving to reverse severe land degradation through organic farming;
  • A Bangladeshi NGO that has developed a low-cost solar lantern made from recycled parts of the kerosene lantern;
  • An association in Colombia that has set minimum environmental standards for localminers;
  • Civil society organizations in South Africa and India that are training indigenous communities to develop profitable bio-cultural products;
  • And institutions in Niger that have developed sustainable solid waste management systems to keep cities clean.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “The SEED Gold Winners show us that a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy is as much a developing country and rural community issue as it is a developed country one. These genuinely inspiring initiatives are generating multiple economic, social and environmental benefits and being achieved often against enormous odds. The challenge now is to scale them up."

All the SEED Gold Winners will be given their award at in-country award ceremonies. Rath er than the traditional monetary prize, they will receive individually-tailored business and partnership support services, worth US$ 35,000, for up to one year to help them become established and increase their impact. This includes access to relevant expertise and technical assistance, meeting new partners and building networks, developing business plans and identifying sources of finance.

The specific nature of the support is decided by each winner, hence tuning it to local needs – SEED helps locate and provide the services required, drawing mainly on local know-how and expertise and well as national and international networks.

Kofi Nketsia-Tabiri , Regional Manager of E + Co Africa and a member of the Seed Award selection jury, said: “These initiatives are truly innovative, driven and hosted by the local community with a strong potential for success and scale up. They represent inspiring examples of how sustainable entrepreneurship can bring change to the developing world. It is for these reasons they deserve the status of Gold winner.”

Notes to Editors:

About the 2009 SEED Gold Awards

The winners of the SEED Gold Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development were chosen by an i nternational jury made up of experts from the environment, social and business fields.

The 2009 SEED Gold Award winners are:

Biocultural Protocols: Community Approaches to Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) – South Africa and India

Civil society organizations have mobilized efforts to develop bio-cultural protocols with different local indigenous communities. This will help to provide a model whereby local communities can share the benefits if local resources and expertise are developed for market purposes.


The ABS Capacity Building Initiativefor Africa supports the partnership financially and facilitates political space in Africa and internationally through workshops for African government officials and other focal points.

The K2C Biosphere Reserve committee provides mandates and implementing support for Natural Justice to facilitate the development of bio-cultural community protocols

UNEP has provided funding for the development of two bio-cultural community protocols in India and for co-publishing a book on bio-cultural community protocols

- Zimbabwe's bridge to the world: organic essential oils - Zimbabwe

A small business, a research institution and an association of small-scale women farmers together are facing the challenge of improving rural livelihoods and reversing severe land degradation through innovative organic farming and the production of essential oils, made from the indigenous Tarchonanthus camphoratus bush.


Fambizanai trains KAITE partner farmers and is in charge of the research in organic farming

Kufunda and Silveira House secures training centres for KAITE partner farmers

Phytotrade Africa advises on standards and regulations as well as product development

Trust Organic Small Farmers strengthens international marketing linkages

ZOPPA manages the national and international networking

- Oro Verde®: Facilitating Market Access for Artisan Miners – Columbia

A national NGO and local community associations are engaged in an initiative to reverse environmental degradation and social exclusion resulting from illegal and uncontrolled mechanized mining. A mining certification process and capacity building program have been created. More than 1000 artisan mines are now following social and environmental criteria.


AMICHOCÓ strengthens and formalises the producer groups; develops new markets; and connects the local miners with national and international partners.

 The Community Councils of Tadó, ASOCASAN, represent the local mining communities; supervise, guide and coordinate ground activities; participate in decision making processes; and co-own the Oro Verde® Brand.

 The Community Councils of Condoto, COCOMACOIRO represent the local mining communities; supervise, guide and coordinate ground activities; participate in decision making processes; and co-own the Oro Verde® Brand.

- Solar conversion to traditional kerosene hurricane for electrification - Bangladesh

A national NGO in partnership with a local NGO and a cooperative have developed an innovative device called “SuryaHurricane”, a low-cost solar lantern made from recycled parts of the conventional and much used kerosene lantern.


Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha generated the concept and helped to develop the technology, which it is now implementing

Daridra Bimochon Sanstha (DBS), specialised in environmental education, conservation and micro-enterprise development, conducts surveys on the acceptability level of the SuryaHurricane in the community

Panchshisha Bahumukhi Somobay Somity (PBSS) informs people about the hurricane lamp conversion and the benefits to households, communities and the environment through street drama and traditional songs

Social Development Research Programme (SDRP) will monitor and evaluate the growth of SuryaShroy in the communities and offers financial and accounting training

Rupkatha promotes SuryaHurricanes through print and electronic media; develops promotional materials, and arranges public events

- ALMODO – Niger

A partnership between a small business and a research institution is developing a sustainable self-financing solid waste management system that contributes to improving living conditions of the poorest population, in collaboration with a women’s group that collects solid waste in the poor urban areas of Niger’s three biggest cities.


Gestion et Valorisation des Déchets s.a. (GVDsa) implements the project, coordinates the partners and reinforces their capacities

PRESSES and BETO are responsible for waste collection, recycling and commercialisation

CNES and Toulaye work on the continuous development of easy-handling equipment with free emission

The city council of Niamey is responsible for infrastructure and regulation

About the SEED Initiative

The SEED Initiative is a global network founded in 2002 by UNEP, UNDP and IUCN to contribute towards the Millennium Development Goals and the commitments made at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. SEED works through a global network of Partners, Supporters and Associates.

SEED identifies, profiles and supports promising, locally-driven, start-up enterprises working in partnership in developing countries to improve livelihoods, tackle poverty and marginalisation, and manage natural resources sustainably. The Initiative also develops learning resources for the broad community of social and environmental entrepreneurs, informs policy- and decision-makers, and aims to inspire innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to sustainable development.

For more information please visit

or contact Constance Hybsier, Programme Manager,

Tuesday 10 Nov 2009
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