Ashden Awards: Renewable Energy for Developing World
The International Awards are designed for schemes in the developing world.
Award winners use local renewable energy to reduce poverty, improve people's health, well-being and economic prospects, and at the same time tackle climate change and other environmental threats, notably deforestation.
There are five international awards in total, each with a first prize of �30,000 and a second prize of �10,000.
Prizes will be awarded for schemes which address at least one of the following areas:
- Food security
- Health and welfare
One of the five awards will take the form of a Special African Award, reserved specifically for an outstanding scheme from that continent.
Food securityThis covers the use of renewable energy in any part of the food supply chain, from growing, processing, storage and cooking, through to marketing and distribution. Past winners of a Food Security Award include: Trees, Water and People (Honduras) and the Escorts Foundation (Pakistan), both of which have developed simple cooking stoves which both saves trees and makes for healthier, less smoky homes and ARTI (India) who developed a compact biogas digester for urban use.
Health and welfareThis covers improvements to health in homes or schools (by reducing smoke from cookstoves, for example), as well as energy for healthcare facilities (including providing lighting, refrigeration, sterilisation and communications). Past winners of a Health and Welfare Award include: Engineers without Borders in Peru, for solar-powered communications systems for remote jungle health centres and GIRA (Mexico) for a programme of improved fuelwood stoves which included detailed research showing the health and environmental benefits of the stoves.
LightThis refers specifically to the provision of clean, efficient portable lamps or fixed lighting for homes or community buildings in often poor and remote areas which are not connected to grid power or for whom mains electricity is unreliable or unaffordable. Past winners of an Award for Light include the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (Pakistan) for micro-hydro schemes which have brought electric light into thousands of homes in remote villages, NEST (India) for a cheap solar lantern making smoke-free lighting available for some of the poorest families and Grameen Shakti (Bangladesh) for installation and finance of solar-home-systems for lighting.
EducationThis is principally concerned with the use of renewable energy in schools, either to provide light and power, or for cleaner, more sustainable cooking fuel. It can also apply to schemes which help enhance children's chances of enjoying a decent education outside the school, for example via home study. Past winners of an Award for Education include RETAP (Kenya), which combined the introduction of a highly energy efficient cooking stove for schools with a scheme by which they can grow much of their own fuelwood in the school grounds.
EnterpriseThis reflects the important role which businesses can play in delivering renewable energy and encouraging its rapid spread, through viewing it as a business opportunity as well as a social benefit. Past winners of an Award for Enterprise include SELCO-India (India) for building up a thriving business network supplying high-quality solar lighting systems, GERES (Cambodia) for the rapid introduction of an efficient charcoal stove through the existing commercial supply chain, and IDEI (India) for the commercialisation of low-cost treadle pumps for irrigation.
Special African AwardThis Award was introduced in 2005, in recognition of the particular challenges which climate change and poverty play in threatening the future of Africa, and the vital contribution which local renewable energy can make in tackling both. Past winners are the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (Rwanda) for using biogas systems to improve sanitation and supply cooking fuel in large institutions, and the Mwanza Rural Housing Programme (Tanzania) for developing small businesses which produce high-quality bricks fired using agricultural waste.