Water ChangeMaker Awards: And the Winner Is…

The winners of the Water ChangeMaker Awards were revealed at the Water Anchoring Event of the Climate Adaptation Summit on 25 January.

When submissions closed in June 2020, over 350 change journeys had been submitted to the Water ChangeMaker Awards. These became 78 change journeys in the semi-finals, and 12 change journeys in the finals.

“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,” explained GWP Chair Howard Bamsey in describing the rationale for the first edition of the Awards.

With this spirit of positivity, it is our pleasure to announce the podium of Water ChangeMakers Awards.

Winner of Water ChangeMaker Awards

First Place: The Masungi Georeserve story: Restoring forgotten watersheds through youth-led movements. (Philippines, Masungi Georeserve Foundation, Inc. (MGFI))

This journey proved that youth can be effective agents for change in the most difficult and politically sensitive circumstances. Its holistic approach to dealing with ecosystems degradation led to concrete and cooperative actions for the restoration of forests and wetlands, thus preserving biodiversity, improving water quality, and increasing resilience to climate change for generations to come. The quality of their communications and awareness-raising activities is part of what made this collective effort a success.

2nd price Water ChangeMakers Awards

 Tie for Second Place: Water Producer Project in the Pipiripau Watershed: building resilience in a water-conflict area in Brazil (Regulatory Agency for Water, Energy and Basic Sanitation of the Federal District – ADASA)

This journey demonstrated how water can be an instrument of peace and conflict resolution through good governance and IWRM. It also recognized the need to harmonize multiple uses of water, in particular for agriculture and for nature, and the importance of bringing all stakeholders together around the table. Indeed, we are stronger when we work together! 

2nd price Water ChangeMakers Awards Tie for Second Place: Watersheds and Cities: Social participation to improve the health of ecosystems and water provision. (Mexico, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza A.C. (FMCN)) 

This journey strengthened the vital link between human populations and nature. It encouraged local ownership of watersheds and incited a shared responsibility for their health. It promoted public participation in decision-making as a fundamental principle of good governance and IWRM. All of this is essential to creating a water-secure world.

3rd price Water ChangeMaker Awards

Third Place: Watershared Bank: Funding the conservation of water factories in the Tropical Andes. (Bolivia, Fundacion Natura Bolivia)

This journey created much-needed funding opportunities for indigenous communities to carry out conservation programmes, helping the rural world to adapt to and mitigate climate change. At the same time, it empowered women and helped to ensure adequate food and good health for local populations. Finally, it served to build trust between institutions and populations. As is eloquently stated in their submission: “Water has the power to bring people together.”

Peoples’ Choice Awards

Additionally, in partnership with the Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS), the Water ChangeMaker Awards launched two People’s Choice Votes:

The People’s Choice Award of the 12 Finalists

Peoples Choice winner

The Winner is: Mother parliaments advocate for climate resilient WASH facilities (Bangladesh, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation)

The People's Choice represents validation by literally thousands of people who support these activities and want to see them continue to succeed. Receiving a total of nearly sixteen thousand votes, this journey documented the extreme vulnerability in the deltas in Bangladesh and what women are doing to advocate for their communities and improve decision-making.

The Climate Resilience for Africa People’s Choice Award

Africa Peoples Choice winner

 The Winner is:  Strengthening climate resilience in the Kafue sub-basin (Zambia Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, Ministry of National Development Planning)

To illustrate the specific challenges of climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and GWP teamed up to develop the Climate Resilience for Africa People’s Choice Award. These projects introduce innovative ways of financing community-based adaptation interventions in vulnerable areas through diversification and intensification in agriculture and technological innovations at the community level. 

The Water ChangeMakers will continue to contribute to various events, publications, and tools throughout the year, so that others can learn from their experiences.

As we inaugurate the 25th anniversary year of the Global Water Partnership, we look to them to lead the way forward on this continued journey with all 350 Water ChangeMakers from around the world--who have proved that they are all winners!