Thursday, July 02, 2009

World Challenge 09 announces finalists from 11 countries across the globe

World Challenge 09 has announced its 12 finalists for this year’s competition. From over 900 entries, schemes from Afghanistan, Kenya, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Israel, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the UK and the USA have made it to the final of World Challenge 09, a competition run by BBC World News and Newsweek magazine, in association with Shell.

Now in its fifth year, World Challenge 09 is a global competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions.

The annual competition was launched in 2005 to inspire enterprising businesses to propel themselves into the global spotlight. The finalists will be featured on BBC World News and Newsweek and be voted upon by viewers and readers all over the world. Since its foundation, financial grants have been awarded to twelve projects from around the world.

The World Challenge 09 finalists are (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.

The winner of World Challenge 2009 will be announced at an awards ceremony in The Hague in December. The winner will receive a US$20,000 grant from Shell to invest in their project, plus the two runners-up will each receive US$10,000.

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