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7 Jan 2022 | Press releases

Honouring pandemic heroes of the mountains

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Every year, the ICIMOD Mountain Prize is awarded to an individual, organization, or private sector entity based in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) or beyond for outstanding efforts in enabling sustainable and resilient mountain development in the HKH region to benefit the environment as well as communities – particularly the poor, the youth, and women.

This year’s award recognizes the contributions that individuals and organizations made to the HKH mountains and its people during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mahila Umang Producers Company (MUPC) for their innovative work supporting women’s self-help groups during the pandemic in the mountains of Uttarakhand, India. MUPC is a collective of self-help groups and producer-members engaged in promoting sustainable livelihoods through micro enterprises. As a women’s producer collective of 165 self-help groups with a membership of over 2500 women, MUPC enables small scale producers to have increased access to markets for their local products. MUPC’s use of crowdfunding to address the crisis brought on by the pandemic not only supported its members but also provided extra support to the government. While the pandemic devastated mountain communities dependent on marginal livelihood options, MUPC ensured that the community built through the producers’ collective remained supported.

Community Homestay Network (CHN) for their innovative work within the tourism industry in Nepal. This sustainable and socially responsible tourism development initiative organized through a digital platform provided direct financial support, along with access to new markets, networking opportunities, and skill development trainings, to help tourism entrepreneurs in Nepal who were hit hard by the pandemic. CHN’s approach diversity sources of income and products, and improving access to markets through their “Koseli” programme, provided relief and a sustainable means for local communities to continue to support themselves as the tourism industry rebounds from the shocks of the pandemic.

ICIMOD mountain prize 2021 winner

Honourable mentions

This year also saw honourable mentions given to the following:

  • Gurunjur Welfare Organization of Ghizer District, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, a youth-led NGO that conducted COVID awareness and relief activities to support Gurunjor village development.
  • Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative of Dewathang, Bhutan, which focused on urban farming and support to small scale producers during the pandemic.

ICIMOD mountain prize 2021 winner

How the prize is awarded

The Dr Andreas Schild Memorial Mountain Prize Selection Committee assesses the achievement of the individual, or organization, or company being nominated in any of (but not limited to) the following work areas. This year’s award focused on the individuals and organizations whose work contributed to building the resilience of the HKH communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the HKH
  2. Access to water
  3. Sustainable production systems for food/nutrition security and income
  4. Climate change adaptation
  5. Disaster risk reduction
  6. Access to clean energy
  7. Technologies or innovations, including ICT, for mountain development,
  8. Promotion of economic/income-generating opportunity or/and investment
  9. Policy advocacy
  10. Mountain ecosystems/biodiversity conservation

Past winners include Jagrati Swayam Sahayta Group (2020) of Uttarakhand, India; Binod Shahi (2020) of Nepal; Didar Ali (2019), one of the founding members of the Bulbulik Heritage Centre in Gulmit, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan; the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board of Bangladesh (2019) and the Global Himalayan Expedition (2018).

For more details about the prize, please visit https://www.icimod.org/mountainprize

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