Run in partnership with Be The Earth Foundation
In a world shaped by (historic and current) oppressive colonial and patriarchal structures, this award honours the necessity and relevance of traditional and ecological knowledge, as well as ancestral and indigenous nature-based practices.
Prize recipients share an amount of £21,000, provided by Be The Earth Foundation and Lush.
Ashiniawka – Asociación de Mujeres Sapara (Sapara Women’s Association) is an association of indigenous Sapara women in Ecuador. It has been working to defend the Amazon, and the rights of indigenous peoples and women, for more than ten years.
Today only 500 Sapara live in a territory of more than 360,350 hectares and only three people guard the language. The Sapara people conserve a highly diverse natural heritage and their lands form a natural border with the territories of the Indigenous Peoples in Isolation.
The association also ensures the well-being of communities and respect for women’s rights. The lack of participation of women in political spaces and the advancement of the extractive industry were two of the main reasons why Ashiniawka was founded.
Ashiniawka and its founding partners, especially its president Gloria Ushigua, are an international example of what it means to be guardians of the Amazon forest, stopping the advance of oil companies and promoting alternative initiatives to extractivism.
They also work on a practical level using agroecology and permaculture techniques to restore degraded land.
The organisation has also established itself as a safe haven for women to report cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Ashiniawka helps women and children experiencing domestic violence find medical help and take legal action.
Associação Rede de Sementes do Xingu (The Xingu Seeds Network Association) emerged in 2007 and became a non-profit association in 2014. It is based in the region of the Xingu River basin, in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
The network is made up of:
The association was launched because the communities of the Xingu Indigenous Territory (TIX) had begun to experience the consequences of the fast and high rate of deforestation, especially in the rivers that supply the Territory. TIX chiefs began the Y Ikatu Xingu campaign to gain territorial planning, protect their water supplies and start reforestation through sowing native seeds and using agricultural machinery to increase scale.
Its implementation generated a concrete demand for seeds for regional plantations, which led to the structuring of the Rede de Sementes do Xingu (Xingu Seeds Network), a network of community production of forest seeds that constituted a landmark for the union of different social actors in the region in favour of a common objective.
It promotes actions that lead to solutions based on the precepts of Good Living.
It has become increasingly autonomous and today:
Cooperativa Tonanzintlalli was founded by 23 indigenous Matagalpa women to cultivate and add value to organic regenerative coffee grown under the tree canopy, in right relationship with the land and the people in the community.
Through this project, the women are seeking to recover, promote, and defend their ecological and cultural indigenous knowledge, and their economic and political self-determination.
Tonanzintlalli means Sacred Mother Earth. The cooperative is committed to upholding the rights of our Mother Earth and our sacred relationship with her and all her creatures. Its coffee brand, Café D’Yasica, has received a few national integrity and quality awards. It is a symbol of the healing that is possible through agroforestry practices that protect and regenerate the forest and the waters and provide sustenance and income to its people, mitigating the need to turn to extractive activities.
The cooperative has also played an important role in the cohesion and health of the larger indigenous community. It has funded and led activities such as cultural development for the youth and primary health care services during covid-19.
The Janeraka Institute was born in the Amazon region, Altamira, from the Awaete ancestry in the resistance of a population with less than 50 years of contact with the global society.
Since then, the Awaete population has faced numerous psychosocial and ecological challenges, such as the consequences of genocide and ethnocide since the first contact, which has been increasing with the construction of hydroelectric power-plants, mining activities, culminating in one of the worst deforestations in the world, threatening the existence of the water peoples, land and forest, in the region and around the planet.
Janeraka is an Awaete word meaning “neither mine nor yours, our house, and the house belongs to the one who takes care of it”. All of the Janeraka Institute’s activities are centred on strengthening the traditional Awaete culture and exchanging knowledge and practices with other forest peoples.
The Janeraka Institute has co-created several projects, including:
The Jupago Kreká Collective was born in 2005 after the indigenous Xukuru people reconquered their traditional territory. The colonisation process had destabilised the Xukuru way of life, jeopardising the viability of their agricultural systems, practices and knowledge. The collective took on the challenge of regenerating both the environment and the mind based on the principles of Lymolaygo Toype (Living Well) with the commitment to break away from the system of land exploitation left by the colonisation process.
Jupago Kreká aim to coordinate processes that enable the identification of sustainable experiences among indigenous families, the systematisation of these practices and the socialisation of the results.
Jupago’s main achievements to date are:
Munanai is an organisation in South Africa working with rural Khoikhoi First Nation communities, involving both youth and elders in its activities.
Munanai works to challenge the Kakapusa (erasure) of the Khoikhoi First Nation communities in South Africa. It seeks to reclaim its ancestral tongue, Khoikhoi, and to create space to heal on the land, and reconnect to their ancestors and their garubes (stories), which provides great strength. Different voices are critical in their work as it was the case with their ancestors and part of their work is to recognise this and harness this power.
Munanai’s founder states: “We know how easy it is to erase a people when their languages are forgotten, when the words they use belong to another, when the words they use no longer ╪khai╪khai (wake up) their aboxan (ancestors) within themselves, when their gagas (spirits) are in the cages of the words and sounds beaten onto their tongues.”
So far Munanai has:
Musu Runakuna is a Resguardo of the Inga people, made up of 43 families and 170 people. Their first ancestral territory dates back to the 19th century in the department of Cauca.
Then in 2001, due to the forced displacement and massacres caused by the armed conflict, they settled in the municipality of Mocoa – Putumayo, which belongs to the Colombian Amazon.
In 2017 it was affected by the avalanche that destroyed a large part of Mocoa and was the only indigenous community to lose territory, homes and productive agricultural projects; since then it has been in a process of ancestral reconstruction based on permaculture; the defence of Mother Earth; the implementation of ancestral knowledge; and political, social and economic regeneration. The latter is understood as a process and a consequence of “thinking beautifully” and acting consciously and respectfully.
In order to make this commitment a reality, it is in the process of setting up the first Ancestral Environmental and Entrepreneurial Village; Returning to the Inga Origin to recreate the millenary lifestyle of their ancestors. The Village will be developed in phases, starting with the territorial and entrepreneurial components associated with the design of the planning, use, interconnection and administration of the environmental and spiritual territory as well as the constitution of the Ancestral, Tourist and Gastronomic Indigenous Centre of Colombia, with representation of the 115 indigenous peoples of the national territory.
Welcome always to Musu Runakuna, a territory where the ancestral word favours the revitalisation of the spirit and good living (vivir bien).
The Waorani Organization of Pastaza (OWAP) unites 30 Indigenous communities of the Waorani territory of Pastaza in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Under the leadership of internationally recognised Waorani activist Nemonte Nenquimo, in 2018 OWAP stepped into action following the Ecuadorian government’s announcement to auction a new oil concession covering more than 200,000 hectares of Waorani territory. OWAP’s global campaign and legal battle resulted in a historic legal victory against the Ecuadorian government, protecting ancestral territory and setting an important legal precedent in the region.
Today, OWAP and its majority female leadership work to advance the rights of the Waorani people, strengthen community resiliency, and protect more than 230,000 hectares of Amazon rainforest threatened by deforestation and resource extraction.
The organization works directly with Waorani communities to:
Since 2013, Reviveolution has worked in deep partnership indigenous wisdom keepers to bridge ancestral wisdom in the modern world. It has worked in partnership with the Q’ero Nation and Quechua communities in Peru for 10 years and the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibet for the last two years.
Reviveolution is committed to supporting locally run initiatives led by and owned by indigenous wisdom-keepers who spread traditional knowledge through cultural and ecological initiatives. In 2017, it sponsored the purchase of a family-sized farm in the Huarán watershed of the Sacred Valley of Peru. This land has flourished into a botanical sanctuary named “Hampi Mama”, which means Medicine Mother in Quechua. This sanctuary is run by Quechua medicine women and serves as a promising beacon for ecological, social and economic regeneration.
Hampi Mama acts as an eco-cultural hub where locals and international visitors learn about indigenous herbal plants, practice land regeneration methodologies, and receive traditional healthcare services. We organize retreats, intercultural ceremonies, and courses to expand traditional ecological knowledge in the Sacred Valley and to nurture deep partnerships between indigenous wisdom-keepers who lead land based projects abroad.
Hampi Mama Sanctuary stands on four pillars:
The Mulokot Foundation, based in Suriname in South America, is a Wayana Indigenous led organisation.
Suriname has been home to the Wayana people for hundreds of years. There are only 865 Wayana Indigenous living in Suriname, worldwide there are just 2500 Wayana Indigenous left, and they see themselves as guardians of the forest. A formerly nomadic people, the Wayana only recently settled in three main villages in Suriname: Kawemhakan, Apetina and Palumeu. The Wayana territory in Suriname counts around 24 thousand square kilometeres and is one of the regions with the highest biodiversity in the world and has many endemic species, with new species still being discovered.
The foundation is working toward transitioning away from slash and burn farming methods of agriculture towards more sustainable options which will allow the lands to restore and regenerate.
In order to end the use of slash and burn farming (which involves destroying forest), the Mulokot Foundation will provide training and tools to local Wayana to support the use of composting to revive existing plots.
A thriving agricultural programme will also reduce the need to fly vegetables and food into the territory, currently necessary due its remoteness. It will also provide an alternative to fishing, which is needed due to the poisoning of rivers by gold mining in the region.
Tribes and Natures Defenders Inc was founded in 2007 and is based in the Philippines. The organisation is comprised of local indigenous people and embeds the teaching of the elders.
It works to protect existing rainforest, restore the degraded mountains in the tribal communities, preserve ancient wisdom and empower young people to become the next eco-warriors for the future generations.
It works towards community, spiritual, cultural, economic and environmental regeneration, drawing on elder knowledge to fully grasp the essence of the holistic approach in protecting humanity and nature.
The organisation’s projects exist to benefit the tribal members as well as the wider ecosystem and has focused on:
It also prioritises economic aspects of tribal communities because it believes that the economic development of communities is key to stopping the destruction of the mother earth, and preventing the arrival of capitalist mining and logging.
Tuq’tuquilal was born in 2019 as a dream created by the founder and a local family, located in Lanquín, a warm subtropical rainforest territory guarded by the Q’eqchi Mayan people of Guatemala.
This dream was co-created to form a holistic project that works to regenerate the land through artisanal production of cacao and other products, organic agriculture, and ecotourism.
For Tuq’tuquilal, to regenerate is to repair the social, economic, and natural fabric we are immersed in locally, while facilitating opportunities for conscious cultural interchange and co-education. It focuses on repairing and innovating around: