About the Winners 2014
We congratulate the winners of the 2014 Land for Life Award! Equal first prize winners of USD 35,000 each goes to The Conservation Organisation for Afghan Mountains Areas (COAM), Afghanistan and Green Asia Network (GAN), Republic of Korea
The Conservation Organisation for Afghan Mountains Areas (COAM), Afghanistan
COAM Afghanistan has made outstanding achievements under the challenging conditions of a country in transition. COAM uses ‘clean cook stoves’, which not only reduces the pressure for natural resources on vulnerable arid rangelands by 50%, it also provides health and livelihood benefits for women and families. Decades of war, extreme poverty and severe climate conditions have resulted in severely degraded range-lands in Afghanistan which are at risk of desertification. COAM’s multiple activities have made a significant difference in changing these conditions, including community interventions, solar water heaters, bio-briquettes, tree planting, gravity-fed irrigation systems and watershed management planning. Their work is driven by experienced youth and values the important role that women have in sustainable land management. COAM’s green technology solutions have been distributed to over 300 villages in two districts of Bamyan province, directly benefiting more than 3000 households.
Quote from COAM: “COAM is greatly honored and thrilled to receive the Land for Life Award.” said the Execitive Director of COAM, Ms. Habiba Amiri. “I want to take this occasion to thank all the people who have been supported, helped, and worked very hard to move COAM forward for the better application of its aim in Afghanistan. And of course a special thanks and appreciation to the UNCCD for selecting COAM as the first winner of Land for Life Award.”
To learn more about COAM: http://www.myafghanmountains.org/
Green Asia Network (GAN), Republic of Korea
In Mongolia, 78% of the country is currently being affected by desertification. For Mongolian people, especially given that Mongolia depends on a considerable extent on livestock farming, desertification is life threatening. To achieve sustainable development, GAN concentrates its activities on three areas -the environment, society and economy - by promoting self-reliance through a variety of economic opportunities for locals affected. Some of the participants are eco-refugees, who come from the urban areas after leaving the countryside. Upon their return, many of them were astounded at the transformation of the land they had once abandoned. They returned to find the amazing results GAN had achieved - a greener and happier environment which they then became a part of. GAN provides its participants with a wage and has trained thousands of locals in forestry practices and sustainable agriculture as well as engaging as many as 25,000 volunteers to plant trees in the region among other activities. GAN also operates eco-tours, giving an upfront look at climate change impact and allows participants to work on forestry project initiatives. They plan on expanding their work to Myanmar in developing its infrastructure including tube wells, generators, water tanks and fencing among other activities.
Quote from GAN: "Climate change and desertification have affected low land productivity causing poverty in local communities. Since 1998, Green Asia Network has worked to improve the livelihoods of these affected communities and to restore the ecosystem by applying a model, which we developed,” said the Secretary General of Green Asia Network, Mr. Oh, Ki-Chul, “This model can be applied to areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are facing similar conditions. We are honored to receive the first place Land for Life Award. It encourages the local communities we work with, our staff and our volunteers, all of whom are dedicated and committed to our work."
To learn more about GAN: http://www.greenasia.kr/eng/main
Adi-Shimhabty Community, Eritrea
The remarkable village Adi-Shimhabty, Eritrea, works together to improve the environment and conditions in which they live. Over-exploitation and removal of natural vegetation, over grazing, deforestation, inappropriate soil management, disturbance of the water cycle, inappropriate crop and range land management and climate change factors among other challenges have driven this community to make positive changes in agricultural and livelihood practices. Using techniques which are scientifically proven to yield results, the community has established permanent land closures, all from their own land and conducts joint activities such as terracing, tree seedling planting, checking dams and land leveling. They have converted what was virtually barren land to 95% recovered vegetation. Ordinary members of the village ranging from ages 20 to the extraordinary age of 100 years participate in this initiative. This example of unity and action to improve their own lives has become a model for the neighbour villages to solve life threatening issues such as food and water scarcity.