Pune-based NGO Swayam Shikshan Prayog has been awarded the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Prize for devising an ecologically sustainable farming model.
The farming model devised by Swayam Shikshan Prayog can be of great help to combat the adverse impacts of drought.
It is the only Indian organisation to win the award, making the cut from more than 800 nominations across 120 countries.
The prize-winning initiative is a women-led ‘climate resilient agro-ecological farming model’ for restoring land and soil.
The model advocates the use of bio-fertilizers and pesticides, preservation and exchange of local seeds, and a change in farming patterns by diversifying from a single-crop system to growing multiple crops in a bid to reduce the dependency on the caprices of climate.
Lives of more than 72,000 women farmers in Marathwada region of Maharashtra have been transformed by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP).
Furthermore, SSP is empowering women to take up sustainable farming practices and effectively manage available natural resources to derive benefits such as continuous income, better health, food and water security in the region.
Fifteen projects from organisations across Africa, Asia and Latin America won the award in recognition of innovative solutions to tackle poverty, and environment and climate challenges. Initiatives from Pakistan and Kazakhstan won recognition for the first time.
The award comes at a time when the arid Marathwada region in the State continues to be face debilitating droughts and farmer suicides.
The 15 prize winners will receive $10,000 each and a chance to participate in a week-long summit in New York during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.
The award marks the SSP’s second consecutive recognition by yet another UN body after it won the UN climate award in October last year.