e-learning centre on sustainable development
CASE STUDIES IN SUSTAINABILITY
Environmental Awards Scheme
from Dr. Irma Allen
The Environmental Awards Scheme took place in The Gambia (the smallest country in Africa). They wanted to have a competition, doing a project on the environment, for everyone to compete with each other. Everyone? So, they held simultaneous competitions for different types of people: advocacy, enterprises, business or industry, appropriate technology, women and environment, community sustainable development, enhanced surroundings, etc. The objectives were to increase awareness, to promote public participation, to promote the use of environmentally friendly technologies, and to give recognition to individual / community endeavors in environmental management. The organizational structure went from the National Steering Committee, ministries, and NGOs down through the National Environment Management Council, media, USAID, UNDP, then to sub-committees for areas and thematic divisions. They provided support (checklists, photocopies, etc.) for the Divisions (governmental administrative sub-division). The Bahá’í organizers provided the money for the prizes that were awarded, which were all equipment to help them carry out their activities, such as wheelbarrows. They ended up with a majority of men, so they worked to get more women and women’s organizations involved. The achievements included increased government participation, collaboration between government and NGOs, establishment of sustainable infrastructure, increased interest and use of public media for the environment, a pooling of resources, launching of environmentally friendly gardening projects (women’s groups), forest fire prevention, the spread of fuel-efficient stoves, and school beautification with trees that required little water. Working for the environment brings people together who otherwise would never come together. This was the first time that the traditional and governmental leadership had ever gotten together.
Reported by Dr. Irma Allen at the 4th Conference of the International Environment Forum