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2021 Grants in Review

February 28, 2023

In July 2021, the Goldman Environmental Foundation announced the 2021 grant recipients, nine organizations led by or affiliated with Goldman Prize winners around the world. We are pleased to provide an update on their progress.

2021 Goldman Prize Grant Projects

One-Year Grants Final Reports

Listed in alphabetical order:

CEDICAM: Led by Jesús León Santos (Mexico, 2008), CEDICAM promotes sustainable agriculture systems using native seeds in the Mixteca region of southern Mexico. CEDICAM launched an awareness campaign to highlight the role of native seeds in preventing soil erosion and conserving water while still maintaining a high level of food production. CEDICAM created demonstration plots, serving as training areas for small scale farmers in eight communities, and taught farmers sustainable techniques to significantly limit their annual production costs.

Earthlife Africa: Championed by Makoma Lekalakala (South Africa, 2018), Earthlife Africa joined a community-based resistance campaign against a proposed carbon-intensive fossil fuel development in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Through community education, local outreach, and strategic partnerships, the project empowered residents to participate in public hearings, closely monitor on-the-ground impacts, and take legal action to ensure accurate environmental impact assessments.

Foundation for Wildlife and Habitat Conservation (FWHC): Increased population and demand for firewood collection is one of the main drivers of deforestation in Zambia. Led by Hammer Simwinga (Zambia, 2007), FWHC’s multi-pronged approach trained 60 community members across 12 communities to construct 480 sustainable cook stoves in the Muchinga region, providing tribal households with an energy-efficient, cost effective, and healthy model of cooking. FWHC provided additional trainings on agroforestry and community forestry management, helping reforest communal areas with species that serve as a sustainable source of firewood.

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO): After the implosion of a former coal plant that left Chicago’s Little Village community covered in dust and stricken with exacerbated levels of pollution, LVEJO organized a campaign against the threat of a new industrial development on that same site. Led by Kimberly Wasserman (United States, 2013), the grassroots campaign reached 70,000 residents, involved youth leaders in outreach efforts, and included virtual town hall meetings and social media advocating against the development and in favor of sustainable alternatives. Unfortunately development of the site was not prevented.

SOBREVIVENCIA: Oscar Rivas (Paraguay, 2000) and SOBREVIVENCIA worked closely with the community of Marina Kue in Paraguay to create a sustainable development plan and ensure safe access to water. The project also supported the community’s legal claim to 1,750 hectares of communal land, leading to successful legislation governing land tenure. 

Two-Year Grants Updates

Listed in alphabetical order:

Community In-Power Development Association (CIDA Inc.): Championed by Hilton Kelley (United States, 2011), CIDA Inc. engaged with multiple partners in Port Arthur, Texas, to create a baseline understanding of water flow, contamination risk, and elevation levels, and to identify 10 locations for community science water sampling, monitoring, and training. CIDA Inc. also added permeable pavement to a green infrastructure demonstration site in the Montrose neighborhood, which is helping restore flooded coastal habitat and educate the community. Remaining activities include the installation of a rain garden and continued community education on flood mitigation strategies, climate change, and the environmental impacts of industrial runoff.

Center for Rescue of Endangered Marine Species (CREMA): Off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica’s southern Nicoya Peninsula, an area known as “the Triangle” is a region of intense biological activity, including the nesting of olive ridley sea turtles. With the goal of implementing sustainable fishing practices and building community participation to safeguard the region, Randall Arauz (Costa Rica, 2010) and CREMA conducted outreach to fishermen and researched prototype LED lights to reduce incidental capture of sea turtles in coastal gillnets. For the remainder of the project, CREMA plans to create a coalition of coastal community organizations calling for increased protection of the Triangle and submit a technical proposal to the minister of environment for the creation of a new marine protected area.

Onggi River Movement (ORM): As part of a multi-faceted campaign to protect the Onggi River and empower traditional herder communities to sustainably manage their waste, Tsetsegee Munkhbayar (Mongolia, 2007) and ORM conducted recycling, waste management, and waste classification courses in seven counties for community members, government officials, and employees. ORM introduced patented technology to help turn waste into a byproduct and create jobs. Current project activities include exchange visits between counties on best practices and work with regional media to provide the public with accurate information on waste management.

Wild Earth Allies (WEA): Given an alarming increase in human-elephant conflict in the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia, Sereivathana Tuy (Cambodia, 2010) and his team at WEA built on 20+ years of successful Asian elephant conservation through community outreach, training, and mitigation strategies to promote peaceful co-existence between elephants and local communities. WEA worked in three human-elephant conflict hotspots in the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary and deployed 13 motion-sensor field cameras to monitor elephant populations and track their movements. These findings are being shared with the ministry of the environment to improve management of the wildlife sanctuary and inform conservation zoning.

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