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9 Jul 2021

ICIMOD Mountain Prize 2020

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Women-led, place-based learning and strengthening schools in the mountains

ICIMOD Mountain Prize 2020

Our ICIMOD Mountain Prize was established to honour mountain heroes whose dedication and hard work directly benefits mountain communities across the HKH. Since 2018, we have sought nominations of individuals, organizations, or private sector entities based in the HKH or beyond whose outstanding efforts in enabling sustainable and resilient mountain development in the HKH region benefit the environment as well as communities, particularly the poor, the youth, and women. This year’s award was shared by two winners – the Jagrati Swayam Sahayta Group for their innovative work towards gender equity and transformational change in the mountains of Uttarakhand, India, and Binod Shahi for his exceptional work to improve mountain schools and opportunities for youth in Dolpo, Nepal.

The Jagrati Swayam Sahayta Group is a women’s self-help group based in Uttarakhand that offers courses on resilient leadership to university students. They have implemented place-based learning to create an immersive environment for over 500 students. This model has a central focus on valuing the landscape and preserving and promoting traditional culture. Women from the community are the trainers, helping students understand how resilient leadership is manifest in the dignity of work and in the valuing of community capital.

Binod Shahi, founder of the Snow Yak Foundation, also focuses his work on valuing the landscape and the community in the remote Dolpo District in Nepal. Through promoting increased enrolment in local schools, developing and distributing educational materials honouring local culture, and engaging “yak fellows” as outside motivators working in schools – living in local homes, developing educational resources, and encouraging teachers and students – he facilitates an environment such that families can access higher quality education locally and avoid the difficult family separation decisions of sending children away for education.

This year’s award was shared by two winners – the Jagrati Swayam Sahayta Group for their innovative work towards gender equity and transformational change in the mountains of Uttarakhand, India, and Binod Shahi for his exceptional work to improve mountain schools and opportunities for youth in Dolpo, Nepal.