The winners of the Water ChangeMaker Awards were announced at the virtual Water Anchoring Event of the Climate Adaptation Summit held on 25 January 2021.
More than 350 individuals and groups from over 80 countries submitted their change journeys, highlighting the water decisions they have made to improve climate resilience. Out of the 78 journeys submitted, 12 of them made it to the final stage of the competition before 4 winners were chosen. Out of the 12 finalists, 2 of them received a Peoples’ Choice Award.
The aim of the Water ChangeMaker Awards is to recognise and celebrate organisations and individuals that make smart water management decisions to safeguard resources in response to the current climate crisis, and to build a community in which ChangeMakers can contribute and learn from one another to promote positive change.
Howard Bamsey, chairman of the Global Water Partnership, said: “We wanted to highlight that within our global network at the local level there are many stories of successful partnerships in confronting the multiple and related global crises we face, especially climate change.”
The first-place winner of the Water ChangeMaker Awards was ‘The Masungi Georeserve Story: Restoring forgotten watersheds through youth-led movements’. This project, which was largely led by young people under the age of 30, aims to restore the Upper Marikina watershed in Rizal, Philippines to prevent future landslides and flooding and to protect it against long-standing threats such as illegal mining. The Masungi Georeserve project has gained massive support from people across the world, with more than 200,000 followers on social media.
In joint second place was the ‘Water Producer Project in the Pipiripau Watershed: building resilience in a water-conflict area in Brazil’ and the ‘Watersheds and Cities: Social participation to improve the health of ecosystems and water provisions’. The Water Producer Project is aimed at reducing water conflicts in the Pipiripau watershed through the use of integrated water resource management (IWRM), efficient soil and water management practices and good governance. Similarly, the Watersheds and Cities project focuses on improving water management in watershed across Mexico by forming alliances with local partners based on “planning, resource investment and institutional collaboration”.
Finally, third place was awarded to ‘Watershared Bank: Funding the conservation of water factories in the Tropical Andes’ a journey which not only provided funding opportunities to allow indigenous communities in Latin America to implement their own water conservation programmes but has also helped to improve human health by providing food and water security in the region.
The Water ChangeMaker Awards also launched two People’s Choice Votes, which were selected from the 12 finalists, in partnership with the Climate Adaptation Summit. The winners were ‘Mother parliaments advocate for climate resilient WASH facilities’, and the African People’s Choice award went to ‘Strengthening climate resilience in the Kafue sub-basin’.
All 350 of the Water ChangeMakers will continue to have an input in future events and publications throughout the year, allowing others to learn and take inspiration from their experiences to promote positive change in terms of climate resilience.