BBC World Challenge
BBC and Shell Oil came together to create the ‘World Challenge’ to create projects that make good businesses and also give something back to the community. It is one of the best challenges I have seen in recent years which awards the best ideas and actions for a sustainable future starting at grass root level.
World Challenge in association with Shell, Newsweek and BBC, is a competition aimed at finding individuals or groups from around the world who have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass root level. The World Challenge rewards projects that make a real difference to local communities without costing the earth. World Challenge 2006 is all about global involvement, casting a net for ideas from individuals or groups deserving recognition.
I was delightfully surprised to see one of my school friends making it to the finalists in 2006, her video clip being aired on BBC. My interest and concern grew and soon I found myself spreading the word for her project to be voted winner. It brought years of nostalgic school yard games and girlie stuff back to my memory. And it was such a revelation to see that my friend had achieved in silence a secret effort to save the endemic plants and others by making a seed bank and sending them to be planted to landscapists all around the world. From a joyful girl always riding high in sports to a chirpie good natured girl, here was a woman blooming with a strong conviction.
Her work is too vast to put in words but here is a glimpse : Care-Co, an organization based in Camp du Roi, Rodrigues and Flora Marketing Co Ltd, situated in Curepipe, are among the twelve finalists of ‘The world challenge 2006’ organized by BBC World and Newsweek, in association with Shell. The two companies have been selected from more than 800 nominations from 120 countries.
Seeds of hope for poor communities – Blooming Business
Most conservation organisations have come round to the view that there is no future for tropical forests outside heavily protected areas, unless local people get a direct benefit from their utilisation. Flora Marketing was set up to ensure they get that benefit. The company encourages poor communities in the tropics to set up seed banks for traditional plant varieties. Some of these sustainably harvested seeds are sent to Flora Marketing´s Mauritius HQ for export to buyers in some 30 countries. The rest are used to reforest degraded land, helping to ensure a future income. The income from seed sales now benefits some 2500 employees around the world, many of them women with no alternative livelihood options. Flora Marketing´s policy is that for every dozen seeds harvested, at least four are replanted in the natural habitat. Care-Co (Making a buzz)
Helping the disabled through beekeeping
Hives for the Handicapped is a project started in the early 1990s by a charity called Care-Co. The project trains disabled people in the science of beekeeping and helps to set them up with hives. A small non-profit making company then assists the beekeepers to process and market their product. Apiculture experts from the UK pay occasional visits to provide advice and ensure that standards are being upheld. The honey has won recognition around the world, including a Silver Medal at the International Honey Show in London. It is sold at a premium price at two shops in Rodrigues and in several Mauritius hotels. It is also served on the breakfast trays of Air Mauritius, the national airline. The income from these honey sales – and from associated products such as beeswax candles – provides a good living for the project´s 15 disabled beekeepers. With high unemployment rate on the island, they would otherwise have few – if any – employment options. Care-Co hopes the project can be replicated for the benefit of physically disabled people throughout.
The competition runs in these categories : COMMUNITY WELFARE AND ENTERPRISE, HEALTH & EDUCATION, SUSTAINABLE FARMING, ENERGY, WATER and ENVIRONMENT. Each year, we get to know the extraordinary work that many people are doing via the tiny window showcased on this competition. All this laudable endeavour can only give us hope that little actions do matter. They will change the world and shape it into a better place. Amidst the vast destruction going on, there is also genuine efforts of reconstruction, preservation, protection, empowerment of individuals and communities who can reach out further to shape the landscape of tomorrow.