Pioneers delivering an inclusive, sustainable future.

Ashden Awards finalists: call to boost global support for homegrown climate solutions


Posted By:

Craig Burnett


A woman carrying a bag of nuts on her back smiling at the camera

As the Africa Climate Summit kicks off in Nairobi, climate charity Ashden has revealed the finalists for its 2023 awards – pioneers delivering an inclusive, sustainable future.

Five award categories centre on the Global South, with a major focus on pioneers bringing clean affordable energy where it’s needed most, from smallholder farms to camps for displaced people. In addition to these, the Ashden Award for Nature Based Solutions accelerates work protecting threatened forests.

The finalists include a wealth of organisations delivering homegrown solutions in their own communities – such as the small business in Nigeria training up solar energy technicians, and the refugee enterprises tackling deadly smoke from dirty cooking fires and stoves.

The finalists prove the value of putting jobs, skills and livelihoods at the heart of climate initiatives. All are raising people’s incomes and creating economic opportunity, creating the immediate benefits that can meet development goals and unite societies behind climate action.

Call to finance frontline innovation

Dr Stephen Hall, Head of Awards at Ashden, said: “It’s shocking that about 775 million people around the world go without access to electricity, and many more are unable to cook safely.

“Our finalists show the huge power of clean energy to raise incomes, protect health, and create opportunity for women and young people. All while putting countries on the path to a zero carbon future. And even more impressive when we consider how little climate finance actually reaches innovators in the Global South.

“For these reasons, we urge funders and politicians to put energy access centre-stage at this week’s Africa Climate Summit, COP28 and other major climate moments. It’s vital we unlock new and effective finance for energy access solutions – and that it reaches frontline organisations like those on our shortlist.

“Meanwhile, our award for natural climate solutions highlights the vital work of often-threatened Indigenous Communities. This underlines that there is no safe future for humanity without climate justice.

“Eight of the ten finalists in our Global South categories come from Africa – highlighting the fantastic breadth of climate innovation on the continent. Two others come from India and Peru.”

The 2023 Ashden Awards also features three UK categories. Discover them here.

The 2023 Ashden Awards: Global South categories

Ashden Award for Powering Futures in Clean Energy
Building the workforce to energise the Global South

Supported by LinkedIn

Burasolutions Solar Academy, Nigeria

Boosts skills and pathways to work for women and marginalised people, with support for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Fondazione ACRA, Senegal

Supports marginalised women in rural Senegal to launch solar-powered businesses, with training and access to products and finance.

Ashden Award for Integrated Energy Africa
Boosting the continent’s clean energy pioneers

Supported by Integrate to Zero

Power for All, Uganda

Utilities 2.0 Twaake project unites centralized and decentralized renewable energy companies to achieve faster and cheaper electrification, boost rural livelihoods, and end energy poverty.

Husk Power, Nigeria

Through its Nigeria Sunshot initiative, Husk Power is building at least 500 clean energy minigrids by 2026 – supporting businesses, schools and hospitals, benefiting more than 2 million people, and displacing an average of 25,000 diesel generators.

Ashden Award for Powering Refugees and Displaced People
Taking on the humanitarian energy crisis

Award delivered in partnership with Global Refugee Network. Supported by NextEnergy Foundation, The Linbury Trust, JAC Trust, The Alan & Babette Sainsbury Charitable Fund.

USAFI Green, Kenya

USAFI Green manufactures and supplies affordable, low-carbon cookstoves in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp – creating work and improving health for displaced people and host communities.

Care for Social Welfare International, Nigeria

Used clean energy to bring much-needed light and water to a camp for displaced people in Nigeria.

Ashden Award for Powering Agriculture
Tackling hunger and poverty in the Global South

Supported by the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

Collectives for Integrated Livelihoods Initiatives (CInI), India

CInI helps women in India’s Central Tribal Belt use clean energy to raise their incomes – and become leaders in their communities.

Mobility for Africa, Zimbabwe

Custom-built electric tricycles – are providing transport for rural women, boosting their livelihoods, access to social services and saving their valuable time.

Ashden Award for Natural Climate Solutions
Defending and empowering Indigenous communities

Supported by the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

CERAF-NORD, Cameroon

Supports communities around Benue National Park, and in the north of Cameroon, to restore degraded land through agroforestry.

ECA-Amarakaeri, Peru

Supports people to earn a sustainable living, and gives them the tools to monitor and report illegal logging and mining.

Photo: Ignacio Talaverano explains how the huicungo –the fruit of an Amazonian palm tree– is processed for its use. Through the promotion of sustainable economic activities, incomes have increased under a model of territorial governance, which has been certified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for meeting the highest conservation standards in the world. 

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