Pioneering projects from Bangladesh, India, Mexico and Tanzania win first prizes in the worlds leading green energy awards

Pioneering projects from Bangladesh, India, Mexico and Tanzania win first prizes in the worlds leading green energy awards
Second prize winners from Cambodia, China, India and southern Africa are awarded £10,000 each for their winning work

Winners personally congratulated by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

London - 15 June 2006 - Winners of the 2006 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were tonight announced following an awards presentation at the Royal Geographical Society in London addressed by David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party and Lord May, one of the UK’s leading scientists and former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government.

The Ashden Awards, the world’s leading green energy award scheme, reward outstanding and innovative projects which tackle climate change and improve quality of life through the generation of sustainable energy at a local level.

Four awards were given in recognition of the way in which sustainable energy has been used to improve access to Light, to Food, to promote Enterprise and to improve Health and Welfare. An Africa Award was given in recognition of the urgent need to address the combined challenges of environmental degradation and lack of access to resources in the region.

“All this year’s winners show how pursuing a sustainable approach to energy generation makes financial sense and, crucially, has the potential to radically improve the lives of the communities involved. We hope that others will be inspired to follow these highly replicable schemes” says Sarah Butler-Sloss, Chair of the judging panel and Executive Chair of the Awards.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Ashden Awards, also addressed the awards via a video message and personally congratulated all the winners in a separate private ceremony. A Clarence House spokesperson said of the meeting:

“The Prince of Wales was impressed by the remarkable determination of the project leaders who have achieved inspiring results in difficult environments and often with very little backing. His Royal Highness hopes that the practical, simple and economical solutions demonstrated by each of these projects would aid the adoption of these technologies on a larger scale.”(for photos see:

International 1st prize winners:

TANZANIA: Mwanza Rural Housing Project (MRHP) (£30,000) wins the Africa Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “using sustainable fuel sources to create profitable new businesses and provide decent housing while at the same time protecting the local environment”. MRHP has devised an innovative way to fire bricks for house building that uses rice husks, cotton waste, sawdust and coffee husks instead of wood.” (For more details see:

INDIA: International Development Enterprises India (IDEI) (£30,000) wins the Enterprise Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “commercialising a simple, sustainable technology which helps poor farmers achieve massive improvements in yield and income”. IDEI has promoted and marketed over half a million treadle pumps to farmers in the plains of northern India. This simple device that uses human power to pump water up onto farmers’ fields allows them to grow crops all year round rather than wait for the monsoon. This stops farmers migrating to the cities for work, allowing them to stay on the land all year round. (For more details see:

MEXICO: Grupo Interdisciplinario de Tecnología Rural Apropriada (GIRA), (£30,000) wins the Health and Welfare Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “the designing and rolling out of an extremely effective fuel-efficient stove and for providing compelling scientific evidence of the dramatic health and environmental benefits of such technologies”. GIRA has designed and developed, in collaboration with local women users, a cooking stove that cuts fuel wood use by up to 60% and indoor air pollution by 70%. (For more details see:

INDIA: Appropriate Technology Institute (ARTI), (£30,000) wins the Food Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “its revolutionary application of biogas technology to an urban environment, transforming food waste into clean household cooking fuel”. ARTI has designed an innovative compact biogas system suited to urban households that uses food waste and other sugary, starchy substances rather than dung to produce gas for cooking (For more details see:

BANGLADESH: Grameen Shakti and Rahimafrooz Batteries Limited (RBL) (£30,000) jointly win the Light Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “the central roles which they have both played in delivering the world’s most successful solar power programme bringing electric light and power to rural people.” Between them they have installed 90,000 solar home systems into rural homes across Bangladesh. Rahimafrooz is also the main supplier of solar batteries and has helped design the solar systems, whilst Grameen has devised innovative micro-credit schemes to make solar energy affordable to ordinary households (For more details see:

International 2nd prize winners

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Aprovecho and ProBEC (£10,000) takes second prize in the Africa Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “helping to spread the adoption of an innovative, clean-burning stove technology across the region through the stimulation of local enterprise”. Aprovecho and ProBEC have designed and promoted a series of locally-adapted fuel efficient stoves for use in large institutions such as schools, hospitals, orphanages and prisons which radically cut the use of fuel wood. This is crucial in a region suffering from severe deforestation. With the support of ProBEC there are now thriving stove production businesses in Lesotho, Malawi and Uganda. (For more details see:

CAMBODIA: GERES (£10,000) take second prize in the Enterprise Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “successfully commercialising a new design of cooking stove, which cuts fuel use, so reducing pressure on Cambodia’s forests, saves users money, and boosts the local economy”. GERES has commercialised an improved charcoal stove (New Lao) which reduces charcoal consumption by at least 22%, cooks more cleanly and lasts longer (For more details see:

CHINA: Shaanxi Mothers Environmental Protection Volunteers (£10,000) take second prize in the Health and Welfare Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “their determined efforts to bring all the health, economic and environmental benefits of biogas technology to farming families in rural China”. The Shaanxi Mothers have promoted and installed around 1,300 biogas plants across the Shaanxi province, that use pig dung mixed with human waste to produce gas for cooking (For more details see:

INDIA: Vivekananda Kendra and NARDEP (VK-Nardep) (£10,000) take second prize in the Food Award for, in the words of the judging panel, “making the use of biogas technology yet more appealing to farmers by devising innovative ways of turning the slurry into effective organic fertiliser”. VK-Nardep have made a series of advances to biogas designs which generate gas for cooking and have developed effective ways of using the slurry as a powerful fertiliser using a combination of new and traditional techniques. (For more details see: )

SRI LANKA: Sarvodaya Economic Enterprise Development Service (SEEDS) (£10,000) take second prize in the Light Award for, in the words of the judges,“devising and implementing groundbreaking financing packages which make solar power affordable to the rural poor”. SEEDS has brought solar power to 51,000 homes across Sri Lanka and has made it affordable to rural families through simple and effective micro-credit schemes. (For more details see:

Notes to editors
For further information or interviews contact Jo Walton, Communications Manager, T + 44 (0)20 8487 5967; M +44 (0)7958 480 771; E


For photos of the Award ceremony, see:
For photos of winners with HRH Prince of Wales, see:

For photos of the international winners’ work, see:

For photos of the UK winners’ work, see:

For information on the UK Ashden Award winners, see:

The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy – now in its 6th year – exists to both highlight and reward exemplary and successful examples of sustainable energy use both in the UK and the developing world. Through its awards scheme and related activities, the Ashden Awards aims to persuade policy makers, funders and the wider public to recognise renewable energy and energy efficiency as a crucial tool for addressing the urgent global issues of climate change, pollution and energy supply as well as the social and economic needs of local communities across the globe.

The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy were created in 2001 by the Ashden Trust. The 2006 Awards are funded by nine Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts along with Climate Care, John Ellerman Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

For further information on the Awards and our winners, see: