Meet the People Bettering Our Planet with Women-Centric Solutions

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We all know about climate and sustainability activists like the intrepid Greta Thunberg, but there are countless people and organizations around the world not getting such attention who are making strides to create a sustainable future for all.

A great resource for recognizing these individuals and groups is the Equator Initiative, which annually announces 10 winners of the Equator Prize. The winners, selected from among hundreds of candidates, are those who have displayed “outstanding community and indigenous initiatives that are advancing nature-based solutions for local sustainable development.”

This year, many of those winners are going above and beyond and also focusing on gender parity. Here are five that are lifting up the voices of women in their respective indigenous communities:

  1. Asociación de Forestería Comunitaria Utz Che’

    A network of over 40 indigenous and local communities and farmer associations in Guatemala, Utz Che’ touts a “strong representation of women in leadership positions” and incorporates Mayan traditions in their practices in an effort to “promote the conservation of local agrobiodiversity, use of heirloom species, and sharing of best practices in forestry and agroforestry.”

       
  2. Salween Peace Park

    This Myanmar ecosystem is “made up of protected areas, community forests and indigenous land” and features a “camera-trap program led by female researchers,” which has highlighted “remarkable species diversity in the area, contributing to the conservation of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot.”

     

  3. Nashulai Maasai Conservancy

    One of the “first indigenous owned and managed conservancies in East Africa,” the Nashulai Maasai Conservancy helps protect “elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, and numerous other species.’ Their ecotourism profits have helped build schools, increase access to clean water, and support “entrepreneurship and leadership training for women, who hold half of the leadership positions.”


  4. Alianza Ceibo

    Based in Ecuador, Alianza Ceibo spans four provinces and 70 communities to help “provide clean water to over 6,000 people, connect remote communities to solar power, and support women entrepreneurs.” They credit their “gender-responsive solutions” to “indigenous wisdom and traditional practice.”

     

  5. Mujeres y Ambiente SPR de RL de CV

    Women-founded and women-led, this association in Querétaro, Mexico, works to “develop and market cosmetics based on the ‘toronjil’, or lemon balm plant.” They support women entrepreneurs looking to “grow their agricultural micro-businesses” in an effort to empower them to improve “their community based on their traditional knowledge about local biodiversity, including herbal products and medicinal plants.”


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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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