We're proud to announce that Shougat Nazbin Khan has won our inaugural GREEN Prize!
Capacity Building Program for Vulnerable Youth & Ensuring Sustainable Livelihoods
Shougat will be training 700 youth on pro-environment income-generating activities and producing a documentary to highlight critical environmental issues in Bangladesh.
green prize semi-finalists
Our Top 10 Applications
The Grassroots Rising Environmental Education Network (GREEN) Prize honors leaders and educators who have taken the initiative to address environmental issues, lead environmental education initiatives, or shine a light on environmental injustice within their communities.
These 10 semi-finalists have been chosen from applications from more than 15 countries. Please learn more about the top candidates and their vision for environmental education projects in their communities.
Shougat Nazbin Khan
Personal Summary: Shougat Nazbin Khan is an award winning young scientist, social entrepreneur, education activist, environmentalist and sustainable development goals (SDGs) advocate from Bangladesh. She is a United Nations Young Leader for SDGs, Asia 21 Young Leader Fellow, Commonwealth Youth Awardee, Green Talent Awardee, and FORBES 30 UNDER 30 honoree.
Project Title: Capacity Building Program for Vulnerable Youth & Ensuring Sustainable Livelihoods
Project Summary: Shougat is planning to launch training activities for Bangladeshi communities of children of sex workers and other marginalized youth to educate them on environmental issues and help them earn a sustainable living. The training will provide opportunities for upcycling waste to create sustainable ballpoint pens and to provide an income for the vulnerable population. She also intends to produce a documentary showcasing their work and environmental impact of using toxic plastics to raise global awareness.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 700
# of intended indirect beneficiaries: 25,000+ young learners and consumers from around the world.
Why this project is critical: The target population is struggling to meet their basic needs and has very limited educational and skill development opportunities at this stage of their lives. This project will enable them to generate income from a sustainable source while addressing growing waste problems and plastic pollution of the world.
Maria Angelica Mejia Cáceres
Personal Summary: Maria Angelica Mejia Cáceres is a Rio de Janeiro-based academic and environmental educator who is originally from Colombia.
Project Title: Waytana Project: Travels from Under the Ground to the Sun
Project Summary: Serving marginalized indigenous communities, especially women and youth, Maria is planning to develop a culturally appropriate book series which aims to amplify indigenous women's voices while providing climate change education that corresponds with indigenous traditions. The series will be published in Spanish, Braille, Portuguese, and English.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 500
# of intended indirect beneficiaries: 1,500
Why this project is critical: In South America, especially Colombia, indigenous communities often face the most direct impacts of climate change. However, their traditional ways of life, which often work in tandem with nature rather than in an extractive manner, are becoming more difficult with globalization and economic modernization. This project aims to provide a platform femenist, dialogic, decolonial and inclusive for indigneous women to make their voices heard, to celebrate indigenous traditions, while providing critical information about how climate change is affecting them, and what they can do to mobilize their communities.
Personal Summary: Samtso Kyi is a China-based social entrepreneur who has spent more than 15 years supporting Tibetan communities across a wide number of sectors. She is the founder of Shangri-la Gyalthang Academy, which focuses on cultural conservation and heritage preservation.
Project Title: Biodiversity Conservation Education Program
Project Summary: Serving Tibetan youth and monks and nuns, Samtso is planning to promote biodiversity education in villages, schools, and monasteries and nunneries. Since Tibetan monks and nuns are an essential part of the cultural fabric of the region, they can influence the broader community. In particular, the project will focus on highlighting the unique biodiversity of the Yunnan region and opportunities for community members to support conservation efforts.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 1,600 (800 villagers, 600 primary students, and more than 200 monks and nuns)
# of intended indirect beneficiaries: 2,000+
Why this project is critical: Yunnan is one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. Its unique geography and climate allows numerous plants and animals, that are not found elsewhere in the world, to thrive. Local people have traditionally worked to conserve natural resources, but a growing population threatens fragile ecosystems. This project will also help connect youth to nature since they spend more time in urban areas than in past generations.
Personal Summary: Grace Azoeya is a Ghana-based leader at the Green Africa Youth Organization, which works with local community members to provide solutions to pressing environmental issues through youth empowerment, skills development and public education.
Project Title: Plastic Free Campus & Community
Project Summary: Serving two communities outside the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, Grace and her organization is planning to expand an already successful plastic education and community engagement program beyond university students.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 200
# of intended indirect beneficiaries: 200+
Why this project is critical: It is estimated that over 2.58 million tons of plastics enter Ghana every year. Out of this, the majority end up in landfills or directly in the environment. It’s estimated that only 5% of plastics are recycled. Much of the plastic waste ends up in rivers and other bodies of water, threatening key ecosystems.
Moh. Khatibul Umam
Personal Summary: Moh. Khatibul Umam is an Indonesia-based educator who leads an Islamic boarding school.
Project Title: Garbage Scavenger
Project Summary: Serving primary and secondary students across a network of boarding schools, Moh. Khatibul Umam is planning to expand his school’s Environmental education curriculum to other schools in his school network. The school network serves more than 11,000 students across 25 schools, which means the impact potential is significant. Their environmental education program is action-focused, and encourages students to reduce plastic pollution, and provide skills for upcycling plastic waste.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 2,350
# of intended indirect beneficiaries: 2,000+
Why this project is critical: Indonesia is home to some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. However, a fast-growing population and an explosion of single-use plastics has led to an exponential increase in unmanaged plastic, which often reaches the ocean through Indonesia's numerous rivers. Environmental education is not common in most schools. SMA 3 Annuqayah, which Moh. Khatibul Umam administers, and has an environmental educational curriculum and practice, is planning to share their service learning program across other partner schools.
Personal Summary: David Mulo is a Kenya-based social entrepreneur and coach who founded Green-Kenya. Their flagship program, Kick and Conserve, uses soccer as a platform to address environmental awareness in underserved youth.
Project Title: Kick and Conserve
Project Summary: Serving youth living in urban areas of Nairobi, David is planning to expand Green-Kenya’s Kick and Conserve program, which connects underserved youth with sports, leadership, and environmental skills to develop them as leaders committed to their community.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 1,500
# of intended indirect beneficiaries: 3,000
Why this project is critical: Many of Kenya’s youth lack structured programs like this one to provide training, support, and mentorship as they mature. This program helps them mature into responsible adults and provides an awareness of some of Kenya’s environmental challenges.
Personal Summary: Steven Makumba is a Malawi-based trainer and NGO leader who founded NatureKit.org.
Project Title: Environmental Leadership Program
Project Summary: Serving secondary school students in the Kasungu region of Malawi, Steven is planning to train up to 1,500 youth about plastic pollution, climate change, and critical conservation issues in Malawi, targeted at protecting pangolins, lions, and elephants. A core component of Stevens programs is empowering his trainees to conduct environmental conservation education to primary schools and communities. His “Tree Ambassador” program acts as a multiplier for his training sessions.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 1,500
# of intended indirect beneficiaries or other impact: The project will construct waste management facilities at two schools which serve 650 students and support 20 Tree Ambassadors to plant 800 tree seedlings.
Why this project is critical: Malawi is home to several endangered animals (pangolins, lions, and elephants) and critical natural resources for rare flora and fauna. Faced with high population growth and one as one of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi is attempting to develop and conserve natural resources. Agriculture plays a large part in livelihoods, so deforestation, erosion, plastic pollution, and increased urbanization are all important issues to Malawi in the future. Providing knowledge, skills and experience on biodiversity, ecosystems conservation and management of the environment to youths will enhance positive behaviors, attitudes and collective actions.
Wyne Wyne Pye
Personal Summary: Wyne Wyne Pye is a Myanmar-based environmental leader with experience starting Myanmar’s first plastic pollution-focused NGO and working for the UNEP on national environmental policies.
Project Title: HER (Heroines to Enable Recycling)
Project Summary: Serving underprivileged women, Wyne is planning to expand her already successful HER (Heroines to Enable Recycling) program to train women to utilize plastic pollution upcycled products that can be used to provide income and enhance livelihoods.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 150
# of intended indirect beneficiaries: 500
Why this project is critical: Myanmar’s rapid development and increases in consumption paste systems for managing waste. Plastic waste is then discarded, which ends up in waterways or burned. As a result, ecosystems are damaged and air quality is impacting Health outcomes. Livelihoods have also been impacted due to the covid-19 pandemic and recent military coup. This project helps to address both the pollution crisis and significant economic challenges.
Personal Summary: Rajib Sharma is a Nepal-based educator who founded Himalayan Heroes, which is the, “united voice of students for a cleaner, safer, and healthier Nepal.”
Project Title: Himalayan Heroes
Project Summary: Serving schools and public school students in Kathmandu, Rajib is planning to expand his Himalayan Heroes program to advance environmental action in the community. His activities will include expanding waste management systems in the community, supporting policy change to ban single-use plastics at schools, promoting roof-top gardens, and installing air quality measuring devices.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 600
# of intended indirect beneficiaries:10,000
Why this project is critical: Kathmandu, despite its beauty and location in the foothills of the Himalayas, faces numerous environmental challenges. Its air quality is routinely among the most polluted in the world and the lone landfill site for the Kathmandu metropolitan area has already exceeded its capacity. Continued development posed further challenges in an already dense urban environment.
Personal Summary: Nirere Sadrach is a Uganda-based Activists and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of End Plastic Pollution Uganda
Project Title: Project to Educate and Train Grassroots Environmental Leaders.
Project Summary: Serving youth and women community-based groups in two cities and four districts, Nirere is planning to expand education programs to inspire individual community action to reduce plastic pollution. The training will include skill-building around circular practices, community cleanups, and leadership skill-building for emerging leaders.
# of intended direct beneficiaries: 1,000
# of intended indirect beneficiaries:1,000+
Why this project is critical: Like many developing countries in the world, Uganda faces a tremendous unmanaged waste problem. Plastic waste, in particular, often ends up in waterways and causes localized flooding. Plastic pollution in Uganda's lakes and rivers also damages critical ecosystems that are home to fish which provide food and livelihoods for many Ugandans.