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St Andrews Prize for the Environment

Practical Action wins $25,000 prize for innovative climate change work

An innovative project using the simple and cost effective technology of sandbar cropping in North West Bangladesh to transform lands that have become silted and barren by flooding, has come runner up in this year’s St Andrews Prize for the Environment.

By simply digging holes in these sandy residues and filling them with manure, compost and pumpkin seeds, crops have thrived. As well as giving a high yield and being packed full of health benefits, pumpkins can be stored for up to a year, meaning people have a crop both for their families and also to sell, when employment opportunities are low.

At a ceremony in the University of St Andrews, Practical Action’s Nazmul Chowdhury was presented with the prize of $25,000 USD. Nazmul said: “We are delighted for our project to be recognised in this way. The prize fund will enable us to fund more research and development into this technique and continue to help the poorest people on the ground in Bangladesh.”

Turning compost into food

Thousands of compost filled holes can transform infertile sandbars into fields rich with pumpkins.

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The St Andrews Prize for the Environment is an environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews, which attracts scholars of international repute and carries out world-class teaching and research, and international exploration and production company ConocoPhillips. Sir Crispin Tickell, Chairman of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees, says: ‘The Prize continues to go from strength to strength. It is now in its fifteenth year and we are delighted that is has become so well established and continues to attract such a range of innovative projects from all over the world. We are looking for entrepreneurs on behalf of the environment, people able to come forward with original, innovative and realistic ideas which can be replicated elsewhere, and take full account of the social and economic implications.’

Professor Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews says: ‘For centuries this university has educated young people motivated by a desire to improve the world around them. We are proud to be at the cutting edge of the field of sustainability and environmental studies and to support, through the St Andrews Prize for the Environment, the current generation of creative thinkers designing solutions to today's problems.’ ‘By sponsoring the St Andrews Prize for the Environment, ConocoPhillips is creating a path to a more secure and environmentally conscious energy supply for future generations. This forum lets us recognise groups and individuals with innovative environmental ideas and gives us the opportunity to focus on developing and sustaining their life changing projects,’ says David Chenier, President UK for ConocoPhillips.

Since its launch in 1998, the St Andrews Prize for the Environment has attracted entries on topics as diverse as sustainable development in the Amazon and Central American rainforests, urban re-generation, recycling, health and water issues and renewable energy.

Pumpkin Growing Using Sandbar Cropping

This brief describes a way of growing crops on the sandbars, created by river deposits in Bangladesh, can be done to increase crop production for marginalised famers.

Pathways from Poverty (PFP) phase 2

Building economic empowerment and resilience for extremely poor households in areas of Bangladesh affected by river erosion.

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