Friday, August 14, 2009

"World Challenge 09" Announces its 12 Finalists.

For the fifth year running, BBC World News and Newsweek magazine have joined Shell in a programme to support groups that provide benefit and support for local communities. "World Challenge 09" is a global competition which seeks to reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions. The winner will get $20,000 and be announced at an awards ceremony in The Hague in December 2009, while the two runners-up will each get $10,000.

To quote E.F.Schumacher, "think global act local" which was the basis of his 1973 bestselling collection of essays, "Small is Beautiful - a study of economics as if people mattered." Indeed, this will become a paradigm for the entire world, not only developing nations, since industrialised societies will be forced to re-localise and rely on local production of food and energy as much as possible, as cheap resources of energy, especially oil, and other materials, notably metals begin to peak in their production, and the shelves of global "supermarket" begin to run empty.

The finalists are (listed alphabetically by country):

• Afghanistan: ‘Patterns of Change’ – Afghan Hands – assisting and educating women who have been widowed or are unable to provide for themselves as a result of conflict, economic desolation and erosion of serviceable infrastructure.

• Kenya: ‘Fuel Cell’ – Kenya Biogas – promoting an environmentally friendly way of tapping biogas as a clean source of energy.

• Haiti: ‘Love n’ Haiti’ – South-South Co-operation – a multi-dimensional effort to reduce violence and gang clashes in the Carrefour Feuilles district in Haiti, stimulating local economic activity and improving living conditions in the neighbourhood.

• India: ‘Solar Sisters’ – Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa – improving the lives of people living in rural parts of Africa by training them to make clean, renewable and low cost sources of energy.

• Indonesia: ‘Nothing Wasted’ – Danamon Go Green, Danamon Peduli Foundation – converting traditional market waste into organic compost to be distributed amongst local farmers.

• Israel: ‘Off Grid Aid’ – Comet ME – providing basic energy services to off-grid communities in occupied Palestinian territories, in a way that is environmentally and socially sustainable.

• Namibia: ‘No Beating About The Bush’ – The Cheetah Conservation Fund Bush Project – harvesting thornbushes to restore farmlands, using environmentally and socially appropriate means and providing much-needed jobs to locals.

• Sri Lanka: ‘A Bright Idea’ – Safe Bottle Lamps – producing a simple, safe lamp that can be easily mass produced at low cost, using recycled glass. It is an effective, inexpensive and quick solution to serious burn problems encountered in many developing countries.

• Thailand: ‘Old School Thai’ – Andaman Discoveries – began as a tsunami relief effort and is now a leader in sustainable travel and development. It allows visitors and volunteers to directly support community education, village-led conservation, and cultural empowerment.

• UK: ‘Emission Control’ – Mootal – reducing methane emissions by up to 94% with the use of a simple garlic extract, while also improving the efficiency of livestock production.

• UK: ‘Jiko Rescue’ – Stoves for Survival – reducing reliance on local natural resources through the production and distribution of fuel-efficient ‚ ‘Jiko’ stoves, which reduce the consumption of firewood and charcoal by at least 55%.

• USA: ‘Fungi Town’ – BTTR Ventures – turning one of the largest waste streams in America and the vast quantities of coffee ground waste generated daily, into a high-demand, nutritious, and valuable food product for local consumers.

BBC World News will broadcast six 30-minute programmes profiling each of the World Challenge 09 finalists, showing how their projects and businesses are changing lives and local communities. In addition, Newsweek will detail the projects in six advertorials. The audience and readers are then invited to vote online - for their favourite project or business from 28 September.

For further information:
BBC World News Press Office
Tel: +44 208 433 2419

Jan Angilelia, Newsweek
Tel: + 1 212 445 5638

World Challenge 09 will be broadcast on BBC World News from October 3rd, 2009. Full schedule details can be found at:


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Yorkshireminer said...

Nice Bright ideas but as far as I am concerned will be mainly used to massage a few liberal consciences. What ever happened too that plan from Doulton's porcelain to produce large porcelain jugs with built in porcelain filters which you just stuck in a muddy stream and it filtered the water as it drained into the jug, mind you that is over 50 years ago. The whole lot reminds me of Napolean's comment about the Austrians. They always come with too little too late. on Projects like these you need lots of money to get size and inertia to be self sustaining. and that will never happen. Moral masturbation at its worst.

Professor Chris Rhodes said...

Hi Dave,

they are some nice bright ideas, agreed. I think though, that above all, they do begin to point attention toward the "localised" away from the "globalised" and that actions at the community level multiplied by the billions of us there are could make change happen.

Of course, without the cheap plentiful oil, local actions will be pretty much all we have left.