2023 Awards ceremony
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Defending and empowering Indigenous communities
Award prize: £25,000
Supported by: UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
Around the world, land stewards, indigenous peoples and local communities hold a unique power to protect and restore essential ecosystems. From forests to wetlands, these ecosystems are a key defence against climate change.
Indigenous people safeguard 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. When they are threatened – or denied the chance to make a sustainable living – our climate is threatened too.
The Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions will boost the work of Indigenous peoples and local communities carrying out their vision of ecological restoration and territory protection, and strengthening their incomes, wellbeing and security of their communities.
The winner could be turning palm or soy plantation areas into sustainable productive land, helping communities restore degraded or desertified ecosystems, or supporting community agroforestry. The winner’s work will be centred on the needs, priorities and knowledge of indigenous people and local communities.
Winning an Ashden Award brings a prize of up to £25,000 as well as ongoing development support.
We put winners in front of funders, investors, policymakers, journalists and others who know the unique value of an Ashden Award and the strength of our rigorous assessment process.
We create promotional films about your winners’ work and tell their story in mainstream and specialist media, and through our growing digital channels. We’ve helped previous winners gain coverage at Sky News, The Telegraph, Times of India, Al Jazeera, New Scientist and other leading platforms.
Award winners’, views, needs and insights are at the heart of our influential reports, toolkits and events – which shape the views of key climate decision makers.
All winners join the Ashden network – giving them the chance to connect with new partners through masterclasses, investor pitching events and introductions to influential policy makers.
Businesses, NGOs, government organisations, social enterprises and community groups are all eligible. Work must be currently available to clients, customers or beneficiaries.
For more detail on our eligibility criteria, visit our FAQs below.
The work submitted for an award should must be innovative. It might feature new technology, new approaches to marketing and distribution, or a new way of sharing training and skills. It might involve improved financing mechanisms or an innovative business model.
Work should also have the potential to create significant impact. This impact might be a large drop in greenhouse gas emissions, raised incomes, better health, reduced inequality, or a combination of positive outcomes. Impact might be achieved by the growth of the organisation applying, or by the spread of their ideas to other organisations.
Initiatives should boost resilience and be as participatory and democratic as possible – designed and run with input from the people they support, particularly marginalised groups. Applicants should also show good governance and management.
For a full list of our judging criteria, visit our FAQs below.
Applications made in English must be completed and submitted via our online application system. A blank copy of the form is available to download in the platform before you start. To apply in French, Spanish, Portuguese or Arabic, simply select your preferred language in the platform.
If you decide not to complete your application for any reason then you may withdraw by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous Natural Climate Solutions award winners provide excellent examples of replicable models supporting indigenous communities to play a central role in the restoration of degraded land and be properly remunerated for their work and expertise:
CERAF-NORD supports communities around Benue National Park, and in the north of Cameroon, to restore degraded land through agroforestry.
This NGO has been working with indigenous communities in Indonesian Borneo to reverse illegal logging and deforestation for more than 15 years.
A community-based NGO network working with rainforest communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to make a sustainable living though agriculture and tourism.
This indigenous-led organisation is doing critical work supporting the livelihoods and valuing the skills and knowledge of indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon.
Businesses, NGOs, government organisations, and social enterprises (both for-profit and not-for-profit, including community groups) are all eligible. Each award is limited to work in certain parts of the world. See below for a list of countries eligible for each award.
To be shortlisted and win an award, all applicants must satisfy these eligibility criteria:
Applications made in English must be completed and submitted via our online application system. A blank copy of the form is available to download in the platform before you start.To apply in French, Spanish, Portuguese or Arabic, simply select your preferred language in the platform
If you would like to discuss whether your work is relevant to the Ashden Awards, or have questions about the application process, please contact us at email@example.com
Applications for the 2024 Ashden Awards will close on Thursday 25 January 2024. The award ceremony will take place in June 2024.
To see a full list of our awards, click here.
In 2024, we will be awarding work that fits into the themes listed here and meets the criteria listed in our FAQS. Please consider these themes and criteria when making your application, as eligibility for the different awards is based on the type of work you are engaged in, and the country where that work is carried out.
The application form will ask you which specific theme or themes you feel are most relevant to your work. We will consider your application in themes other than the ones you have indicated if we feel they fit your work more closely. If you feel you work doesn’t fit into any of the themes listed below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your eligibility.
Yes, you can make more than one application, providing they are for different programmes or businesses. Please do not submit two applications for the same work.
No – for all our Awards, the work submitted for the Award must be currently available to customers, clients or beneficiaries. The more evidence that you can present for the impact of your work, the better your chance of meeting the award criteria.
There is no fee to apply for an award. All you will need to do is make time to complete the registration of interest and full application form before the deadline, and then answer any questions we might ask you after you have submitted your form.
If you are shortlisted, you will also need to set aside time for a virtual assessment and. If you win, you will need to attend events in London during the week of our awards ceremony. We will pay costs related to this, including travel and accommodation for non-UK winner. The location and timing of these events is to be confirmed, but may be in London, UK during June 2024.
All information submitted may be seen by Ashden staff, and external judges and assessors. All our judges and assessors are required to sign a confidentiality agreement before viewing any application materials.
We generally retain their application materials of organisations that do not win for up to three years. This is to enable ‘fast-track’ re-applications by those organisations during this period. However, this is optional – there is a question in the form which asks for permission to do this. If permission is not given and you wish to reapply within the next three years, you will need to fill the application form in again.
If your application covers different work to that covered in your earlier submission, then you need to fill the application forms in as normal. If you’re reapplying for the same work, then a ‘fast-track’ application may be possible, if the following conditions are met:
If you think you might be eligible for a fast-track application, please contact us at email@example.com.
It is a condition of your entry to the 2024 Ashden Awards that Ashden has the right to publicise your involvement through its communications channels (including but not limited to its website, social media platforms, press releases and ceremony programme). All shortlisted applicants, finalists and particularly winners may be required by Ashden to participate in publicity opportunities such as media interviews.
To maximise the impact of our Awards, we announce our shortlist, finalists and winners on specific dates. If you reach the shortlisting stage, or win an Ashden Award, we ask you not to publicise this fact until the date set by us. Our communications team will work closely with you on this.
Eligible applications will be judged against the following general criteria:
Applicants in the UK will be contributing to real and rapid reductions in fossil fuel use, overall energy use and raw material consumption. Applicants in developing countries will be enabling people to achieve a decent standard of living while reducing fossil fuel use and raw material consumption over time. Applicants will also strive to protect or enhance the environment and follow the necessary environmental due diligence process when carrying out their work, including to ensure the sustainability of their supply chains.
Applicants will be building community resilience against climate change impacts and economic shocks, through the creation of livelihoods and adaptation efforts to enable people to live and work more sustainably, while contributing to a just and inclusive transition.
Applicants will be helping people make a decent, secure, dignified living, in line with the ILO definition. This may include enabling people to gain or improve skills that are useful in a future sustainable society and economy, supporting the creation of paid and voluntary work that contributes to a fair transition away from fossil fuels, or enabling people to have sustainable livelihoods. It should also include giving attention to the position of women, vulnerable or under-represented groups in the job market.
Applicants will be reducing inequality within their own organisation, and aiming to reduce inequality in local communities, nationally or globally, including through their supply chains.
Applicants will be promoting participation and democratisation, for example by involving local communities, customers, service users or employees/workers in decision-making, or by enabling shared ownership of their organisation or the equitable distribution of benefits.
Applicants will have developed an innovative solution that inspires others to replicate, invest in or enable the work to be scaled. The solution will also have the potential to be effectively communicated to a broad audience using words, film and images to tell powerful, people-centred stories of change and impact. Applicants will be able to identify staff, customers or service users who have a story to tell about the impact of the applicant’s work on people’s lives.
Some awards have specific criteria which will be incorporated into the application process
You will hear in February 2024 if you have made it through to the shortlist.
If your organisation is shortlisted, we will get in touch in early February to ask for the following, to better understand your work and assure ourselves of your financial viability:
If you are selected as a finalist, we will get in touch to arrange a virtual assessment of your work. For applicants based in the UK, the judging visit will probably take half a day. It will involve one or two people from Ashden.
For applicants with work based in other countries, the virtual assessment can be conducted over several meetings. We will also ask a photojournalist to visit you and gather human stories and pictures illustrating your work. This will include visiting communities where your work is creating impact.
The assessments will include meetings with key staff such as your chief executive, financial officer, the person in charge of the work submitted for an Award, and other employees.
As an Ashden Award winner, we ask you to:
This November, journey with us – from Liverpool to Kenya, Brecon to Peru – to meet the grassroots innovators transforming the way we work to upskill communities, supporting those most in need and protecting our planet
Become a climate champion, help climate pioneers thrive, take action together and be kept informed about climate solutions from across the world.
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