Demonstrating how to use a Barefoot Power lamp

Demonstrating how to use a Barefoot Power lamp

Image by Ashden Awards

Green energy pioneers help further UN sustainable energy goals
international finalists for 2012

The world’s leading green energy prize announced today the selection of seven sustainable energy pioneers working across Africa, India, Cambodia, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Peru as finalists for the Ashden Awards 2012.  The finalists will compete for over £120,000 prize money, with the winners to be announced at a prestigious ceremony in London on 30 May 2012.

From rolling out affordable solar products at speed across Africa to enabling community ownership of renewable energy in Indonesia, this year’s finalists aren’t just cutting carbon – they’re also boosting economies, binding communities together and transforming lives, offering a vision of a truly sustainable future.

Founder Director of Ashden Sarah Butler-Sloss said:  “In this International Year for Sustainable Energy for All our finalists are leading the way in showing how progress on cutting carbon can go hand-in-hand with improving livelihoods, empowering women and improving health and education outcomes. We’re committed to helping our winners grow even further and sharing the lessons they have learned so they can be replicated far and wide.”

The Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty Since then our award winners have improved the lives of 33 million people worldwide, saving over 4 million tonnes of CO2 every year.

Some 1.4 billion people around the world lack access to modern energy, while 3 billion rely on ‘traditional biomass’ and coal as their main fuel sources.

The Ashden 2012 finalists are:

iDE/Hydrologic, Cambodia

The NGO iDE and its for-profit subsidiary Hydrologic Social Enterprise’s labour-saving ceramic water filters mean rural families have safe drinking water without using wood to boil it – so protecting health as well as Cambodia’s precious forests. With over 226,000 filters sold so far via NGO programmes, shops and rural sales agents, some 420,000 people are benefitting. The impact on the environment is equally impressive: so far 41,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions are currently being saved every year.

IBEKA, Indonesia
Off-grid hydro schemes are bringing the benefits of electricity – like good quality light, TV and power tools – for the first time to remote communities in Indonesia, creating new livelihood opportunities and a window on the wider world. The not-for-profit People Centred Economic and Business Institute (IBEKA) is responsible for developing the schemes, which are owned and managed by communities. IBEKA also develops on-grid schemes, which provide an income to communities from selling electricity to the grid. With 61 hydro schemes installed so far, 54,000 people currently benefit and 7,400 tonnes of CO2 a year are being saved.

Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) in South India is a prime example of the vital role a well-run microfinance organisation can play in meeting the poor’s energy needs. The Karnataka-based NGO provides affordable loans to families in the area, helping them buy renewable energy systems that improve their quality of life.  Key to the success of this highly replicable programme, which has so far provided nearly 20,000 energy loans, are self-help groups that help people make informed choices on what energy products they buy.

MyShelter, Philippines
The MyShelter Foundation is lighting up dark rooms in poor urban homes in the Philippines through its pioneering use of clear plastic drinks bottles as skylights. A plastic bottle, water and a few drops of bleach are all that’s needed to prepare the bottles, which are then sealed into roofs to enable bright daylight to filter through. The Solar Bottle Bulb is being distributed throughout the Philippines, with skilled promotion through social media helping to enlist volunteer support and generate global interest. With around 25,000 bottle-lights installed so far, MyShelter aspires to light up many more homes in the future.

WindAid, Peru
Family-run business WindAid is harnessing the plentiful and reliable supply of wind along Peru’s mountainous coastline to power up the region’s rural communities and businesses. Their simply designed turbines are made locally: graduate volunteers are trained to manufacture and install the turbines, so building their practical skills and rural development knowledge, while WindAid receives an income from the volunteers which helps it fund community installations. Its installations have a total wind capacity of 57 kW

Barefoot Power, Africa and global

The social for-profit enterprise Barefoot Power is rolling out a wide range of solar power products at speed across Africa, brightening up the lives of those with limited or no access to grid power.  Products range from single desk lamps to complete kits for use by community homes, clinics and schools. With good links to microfinance organisations, Barefoot has sold more than 300,000 lanterns and lighting kits to the rural poor in Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere.


The German development corporation Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and consulting engineers INTEGRATION are bringing electricity to the Badakhshan and Takhar provinces in North East Afghanistan by constructing new off-grid hydro schemes that are capable of weathering the most challenging of circumstances. Responding to local sensitivities, all communities get a share of construction work while training in productive uses of electricity is stimulating the growth of small businesses, offering a viable alternative to growing opium. Working with the Afghan Government, the partners have so far installed six micro-hydro plants with total capacity 1.3MW, providing 24-hour electricity to 63,000 people, 110 public organisations and 645 small enterprises.


1.    The Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 to encourage the greater use of local sustainable energy to address climate change and alleviate poverty. Since then they have rewarded over 140 green energy champions across the UK and the developing world. Ashden showcases and celebrates best practice, encourages the expansion and replication of winners’ work, raises awareness of the potential of local sustainable energy, and advocates on their winners’ behalf. For further information, including photos, films, and case studies on past winners, go to The Ashden Patron is HRH The Prince of Wales.

2.      The UN has designated 2012 as the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All. In response, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has launched a new global initiative – Sustainable Energy for All which aims to achieve three major objectives by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

3.    The Ashden Awards ceremony will be held on 30 May at the Royal Geographical Society in London. To report/film the event please contact Carla Jones (details as above).

4.    The Ashden Awards annual conference will take place at the Royal Geographical Society on 29 May, where some of the international, UK and sustainable travel award finalists will speak about their work, along with panel debate and discussions. Journalists are welcome to attend and can book in advance for one-on-one interviews. Contact

5.    To read live comment on the Awards Ceremony and conference and for other news go to Twitter:  Facebook: Blog: