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Announcing the 2020 Grant Recipients

Picture of Ghana trees at sunset

July 10, 2020

The Goldman Environmental Prize is excited to announce the recipients of the 2020 Grantmaking program.

Launched in 2015, the Grantmaking program supports past Goldman Prize winners to further their grassroots environmental work. Past grants have supported work in conservation, environmental justice, environmental education, and more.

2020 Goldman Prize Grant Recipients

Listed in alphabetical order:

Bangladesh Environmental Law Association (BELA): The Savar district of Dhaka is one of the fastest growing areas in Bangladesh. The more than one million residents of the district face elevated risks of lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory diseases due to industrial air contaminants. BELA, with leadership from Prize winner Rizwana Hasan (Bangladesh, 2009), is completing a community campaign coupled with legal actions to force city and industry officials to take action to curb the environmental contamination.

Centro Salvadoreño de Tecnologia Apropiada (CESTA): In El Salvador, drought conditions have drastically reduced harvests, threatening the livelihoods of small-scale farming families. Rather than allow these communities to become passive victims of the effects of climate change, Prize winner Ricardo Navarro (El Salvador, 1995) wants to enable these rural populations to take action to implement mitigation measures and adopt sustainable practices. Navarro aims to leverage CESTA’s network to develop an action-oriented climate change educational campaign.

GrassRoots Africa: The unregulated growth of small-scale gold mining in Ghana has led to a dangerous increase in the release of mercury, cyanide, and other dangerous chemicals into the environment. Prize winner Rudolf Amenga-Etego (Ghana, 2004) seeks to mobilize communities to safeguard public health and local environments against unsustainable growth of mining activity in the Taankiri River Valley.*

Greenmind Foundation: Prize winner Malgorzata Gorska (Poland, 2010) and her organization, Greenmind Foundation, are implementing a collaborative, community-based strategy to protect Biebrza National Park, the largest protected area in Poland. The park’s unique freshwater habitat, which is recognized by the RAMSAR convention on wetlands as an area of global significance for wetland conservation, is threatened by the proposed S16 superhighway project.

Indian Law Resource Center: Although the Mayan community of Agua Caliente finally received land titles from the Guatemalan government in 2019, the community continues to face challenges to protecting its ancestral lands. Because the closest year-round water source is miles from the village, access to safe drinking water is extremely limited. A unifying presence in the community, Prize winner Rodrigo Tot (Guatemala, 2017) is promoting a sustainable water infrastructure project to guarantee that families can remain stewards of the forests around Agua Caliente without risking the health of their families.

Instituto de Buen Vivir (IBV): Prize winner Evaristo Nugkuag (Peru, 1991) is working on behalf of indigenous communities to prevent construction of hydroelectric plants along the Marañon River in the Peruvian Amazon. His small organization, IBV, has developed a three-pronged strategy that focuses on local indigenous groups, regional and national authorities, and international institutions. The main goal of the local awareness campaign is to combat misinformation about the long-term consequences of the projects.

NATURA: Peru’s fishmeal industry generates significant air and water pollution affecting coastal communities. Prize winner Maria Elena Foronda Farro (Peru, 2003) will coordinate a project to mobilize communities in a regional network promoting sustainable coastal resource management.

Onggi River Movement (ORM): The traditional nomadic communities of central Mongolia have been stewards of the steppe ecosystems for thousands of years. Recently, mining companies, with support from the national government, have exploited the ancestral lands of these herders. Prize winner Tsetsegee Munkhbayar (Mongolia, 2007) and his organization, ORM, aim to empower herding communities, especially youth, to protect the environment through their participation in land-use decisions.

SOS Forêts: Prize winner Dr. Wadja Egnankou (Ivory Coast, 1992) plans to build the capacity of the villages surrounding Ehotilé Island Park to actively participate in its protection. The goal of the project is to create conditions for a multi-stakeholder framework in which the communities and park administration can work together to benefit the park’s wildlife and local residents.

West Coast Islands Stewardship & Conservancy Society (CSCS): The new initiative of Prize winner Humberto Rios Labrada (Cuba, 2010)—called Polinizadores, or Pollinators—looks to develop a model based on Agrobiodiversity Management Enterprises (AMEs). AMEs harness the traditional practices of experimenting, breeding, and releasing a diverse pool of seed varieties to sustainably stimulate rural economies. After successful pilot programs in Cuba and Mexico, Polinizadores will expand AMEs in rural Bolivia.

Wild Earth Allies (WEA): Volcanoes National Park, located in northern Rwanda, is a critical protected area for the endangered mountain gorilla. Pilot programs for household rainwater systems in communities near the park have successfully reduced conflict and incursions into mountain gorilla habitat. Prize winner Eugene Rutagarama (Rwanda, 2001) hopes to expand this program in areas of the highest need through a collaboration with the local women-led cooperative, Imbereheza Gahunga.

*Rudolf Amenga-Etego of GrassRoots Africa ultimately determined not to proceed with the proposed project, and did not receive a grant from the Goldman Environmental Foundation as part of the 2020 grant cycle.

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