World Challenge 08


One Reef At A Time - Coral reef protection (Madagascar)
Coral reefs in shallow tropical seas around the world are in peril. A tenth are dead and 60 per cent are under threat. Climate change is one cause, but it's very far from the only one. A great deal can be done locally to improve the living reefs. chances of survival and also improving coastal communities survival rates. Over-fishing, offshore pollution, coral mining and badly managed tourism - they can all be tackled locally. Blue Ventures offers researchers and volunteers the chance to work with local communities to protect the reefs using sustainable marine conservation areas.

Their project in Madagascar - home to both the world's fourth largest coral reef and a rejuvenated octopus fishing industry - is working with local communities to make sustainable livelihoods a reality.

Pass It On - Organic techniques at 4000 metres (Peru)
"Yachachiq" is the Inca name for people who pass on knowledge. That's how Sierra Productiva - a federation of peasant groups - is setting about improving the lot of small farmers in Peru, having started in the ancient Inca capital, Cusco. At elevations of 4000 metres and on precipitous slopes, "improvement" is a formidable undertaking. But through the Yachachiq, the campesinos are learning organic techniques to dramatically boost production from both livestock and crops.

The main technology has been harnessing of spring water and the use of drip irrigation systems, freeing the farmers from dependence on rainfall that gave them only one harvest a year.

Charge of the Light Brigade - Little shop of light by e.quinox (Rwanda)

In sub-Saharan Africa, one in ten rural people have access to electricity. Villages are, quite literally, left in the dark. There is little prospect the national grid will expand signficantly any time soon, so the hunt is on for off-grid answers. Founded in 2008 by students studying electrical and electronic engineering at Imperial College in London, e.quinox is offering one solution - the little shop of light. e.quinox has set up its first solar energy kiosk in Gakenke district in Rwanda.

Sealed "battery boxes" are on constant charge rotation, and so when the lights go dim villagers can come and swap their box for a fresh one. The students dream is to have a sun-powered recharging kiosk in every isolated village.

World Challenge 08