The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has awarded the 2008 Equator prize that supports grassroots efforts in biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Partners in the Equator Initiative include the Government of Canada, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Conservation International, Ecoagriculture Partners, Fordham University, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Development Research Centre, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RARE, and United Nations Foundation.
Winners of the prize are determined based on demonstrated environmental and socio-economic impacts, creative partnerships, innovation and transferability, sustainability, local leadership, community empowerment, social inclusion, and gender equality. Whether through the reintroduction of traditional knowledge, the application of new technology, or a fusion of both, in each instance community initiative was the engine for addressing biodiversity loss in a way that improved local livelihoods.
The 2008 winners for Africa were:
1. Centre d'Appui au Développement Intégral/Mbankana (CADIM) – Democratic Republic of the Congo : trains farmers in agroforestry and afforestation techniques that restore soil fertility and boost agricultural production
2. Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary – Ghana : protects the resident hippopotamus population along the Black Volta River in northern Ghana
3. Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) – Kenya : provides local communities with information, education, and resources to advance environmentally friendly businesses
4. Ketu Training Centre for Sustainable Development – Kenya : trains local community members of the Kilifi District in conservation activities that also generate income
5. N≠ a Jaqna Conservancy - Namibia : trains local !Kung San as wildlife managers, committee members, and game guards
6. Fédération Régionale des Groupements de Promotion Féminine Ziguinchor – Senegal : facilitates avenues for female entrepreneurship
7. Ujamaa Community Resource Trust – Tanzania : works with marginalized groups and pastoralists in Northern Tanzania to create land management plans, manage natural resource systems, and explore sustainable income-generation opportunities
8. Community Markets for Conservation - Zambia : promotes income generation, biodiversity conservation, and food security in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley.
Winners were chosen from a total pool of 310 nominations from 70 nations.