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National ENERGY GLOBE Award Honduras 2014

June 13, 2014

Reforestation and water purification in a protected area
Submitted by: EcoLogic Development Fund

With more than 160 participating countries and over 1000 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. Award ceremonies are held all over the world. Prominent personalities as well as Energy Globe Ambassadors in 90 countries support the mission of Energy Globe. The activities of Energy Globe attract worldwide media attention - international TV stations report each year with approximately 1,000 hours of broadcasting time. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.

EcoLogic began working with communities in the Pico Bonito region of Honduras following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. In 2003, EcoLogic was instrumental in establishing AJAASSPIB, an umbrella organization that promotes a comprehensive management approach that addresses ecosystem health and infrastructure needs from the bottom up. The establishment of voluntary payments for water services has been critical to the success of AJAASSPIB and the project. A primary focus is ensuring local access to potable water in a region prone to shortages. The association made the connection between declining freshwater supply and deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, ranching, and firewood collection taking place in local watersheds. Other activities include building native tree greenhouses, forest management and forest guardian training, reforestation, and fuel-efficient stove construction.

The association has reforested more than 120 hectares of land with native tree species; in 2011 alone 13,014 trees were planted. It has grown from 4 to 27 water committees and serves as a learning model for more than 80 communties across the northern coast of the country. To improve household water quality, AJAASSPIB has initiated a project to purify water by chlorination. As a result, households in 5 of the association’s communities can now drink water directly from their faucets, something that was unthinkable a few years ago. To complement to its reforestation activities, AJAASSPIB promotes and installs fuel-efficient cooking woodstoves. Nearly highly-efficient 1,200 stoves have been installed to date, resulting in greatly reduced pressure on surrounding forests. The installed woodstoves use up to 60 per cent less wood than traditional stoves. The stoves also drastically reduce the smoke produced during cooking, thus reducing incidence of respiratory illnesses.

David Kramer, who is the Senior Manager for Impact, Learning, and Innovation, sees the primary socioeconomic impact of AJAASSPIB’S work in the protection of potable water sources for current and future generations. By promoting local governance of water resources and working to protect the forests that sustain hydrological functions,
AJAASSPIB improves and protects the quality and availability of water in its 27 communities, benefitting 11,000 people.

"I felt like we were working alone, but now we have global organizations behind us. This support will help us stop the degradation of our natural resources and ensure that our community has water in the future."

Carlos Euraque, EcoLogic Program Officer for Honduras,
National ENERGY GLOBE Award Honduras 2014

Jury-Rating
Cutting down more trees than are being planted is not sustainable and destroys our environment as deforestation leads to land degradation and low agricultural productivity. This year’s National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Honduras combats this destructive erosion through afforestation with native species. Furthermore, they ensure local access to potable water in a region prone to shortages and promote and install fuel-efficient cooking woodstoves which reduce wood consumption drastically. The measures reduce wate borne diseases and respiratory illnesses. A win-win situation for both: humans and environment. Congratulations to this great initiative and your achievements!

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