Indian Sanitation project wins Grand Award in Geneva


MANTRA, a sanitation program transforming rural livelihoods in eastern India, has won the Grand Award at GLOBAL+5, the first ever festival of global governance organized by The Global Journal in Geneva.

Receiving the award from Angela de Wolff (President of Sustainable Finance Geneva), MANTRA leader Joe Madiath expressed his surprise that a project focusing on the unglamorous issue of sanitation “could lead to such a big prize.”

The MANTRA model has reached almost 1,000 villages in India, reducing waterborne diseases by 80 percent and empowering communities to take charge of their own development path.

The Mantra project (Movement and Action network for Transformation of Rural Lives) is run by Indian non-governmental group Gram Vikas. Based in Orissa, Gram Vikas helps to provide “blanket coverage” of toilets and piped running water to communities where 85 percent of the population has no access to a toilet and 99 percent no running water.

In a country where lack of basic sanitation is a widespread problem, with census data showing more households in the country of 1.2 billion people have a telephone than a toilet, initiatives like Mantra definitely deserve such recognition and encouragement.

The Global+5 award, created by the Geneva-based Global Journal, is aimed at honouring the “solutions to the most pressing global questions of the next five years.”

Three other exciting projects received prizes at the ceremony –

The GLOBAL+5 Impact Award was won by The Working World.  Based in Argentina, Nicaragua and the United States, the NGO has developed an inspired alternative finance model to provide low-interest, no-collateral loans to support the creation and growth of sustainable worker cooperatives running recovered enterprises.

The GLOBAL+5 Innovation Award was presented to Deepwater Project, an initiative based around a unique solar-powered scientific voyage to explore the effect of climate change on the Gulf Stream.

The GLOBAL+5 Empowerment Award was presented to the social movement Russia Behind Bars that continues to fight bravely against corruption in the justice system in Russia, while advocating for lasting legal reform.

The Jury also used its discretion to highlight three additional projects deserving of a ‘special mention’.  These were: Discovering Hands, an innovative German program training blind women to detect the early signs of breast cancer through their heightened sense of touch;

Sustainable Infrastructure Fund, a project that aims to attract institutional investment to drive sustainable infrastructure policy; and

Peace for Mexico – Mexico for Peace, a new grassroots campaign supporting civic initiatives challenging the culture of narco-violence in Mexico.

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