The ESD Okayama Award was established by the ESD Okayama Award Steering Board and City of Okayama in 2015, to showcase and promote ESD worldwide. 50 applicants applied for the ‘ESD Okayama Award’ with 29 applicants from 27 countries and 21 national applications from Japan. 30 applications were received for the ‘Okayama Regional Awards’. The initial screening left the jury with nine finalists for the global award and five finalists for the regional award. Finally the judges selected two winners for each award. However, the judges managed to select two winners for each award category. The most important factor was the contribution to ESD in local communities and the direct impact each initiative had in spreading ESD widely.
The ESD Okayama Award Presentation Ceremony was held at Okayama Municipal Chuo Kominkan on 13 December 2015. Dr. Kazuhiko Takemoto Chair of the ESD Okayama Award Steering Board and Director of the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) welcomed everyone to this event. After remarks from Hiroshi Miyatake, Chairman of the Okayama City Council, Masao Omori, Mayor of Okayama City handed the Award certificates to each of the four-award winning project representatives and congratulated them on their achievements.
Videos of each presentation and a summary of the ceremony can be downloaded here.
Winners of the global ESD Okayama Award
‘Library-oriented Community Learning Centers in Rural Cambodia’ by the Shanti Volunteer Association
The Shanti Volunteer Association tackles local urgent issues such as illiteracy and poverty through establishing and utilizing a community library. It raises the motivation of local residents to learn and join in activities. The organization considers local needs and promotes voluntary activities to develop a sustainable community. Capacity building is conducted for local residents, with the aim to run a CLC (Community Learning Centre) in the future. This project is recognized as a national model of CLCs in Cambodia.
‘Sustainable Development through protection and conservation of forests and biodiversity, education, society, economy and environment by addressing the negative impacts of Climate Change’ by Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM)
The Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) project focuses on transforming communities by increasing the living standard in areas such as Satkhira and Chittagong in Bangladesh. The project was highly credited with the diversity of people and the groups it addresses to tackle sustainability challenges.
Winners of the regional ESD Okayama Award
Winners were selected based on three criteria: 1) the project supports people that are aware of social and local issues and support them in learning and tackling these issues, 2) the project involves various stakeholders, and 3) it runs systematically, hence it is not managed by individuals and has the prospect of continuing in the future.
‘Okayama City Kyoyama District ESD Project’ by Okayama City Kyoyama District ESD Promotion Commission
The Okayama City Kyoyama District ESD initiative is based at Kyoyama Kominkan (Community Learning Centre) and involves various stakeholders that conduct community-wide ESD activities. The project has been continuing for more than ten years with a clear ESD vision and has improved continuously through its yearly evaluation.
‘Wakeshizutani Senior High School – Attractive School Project’ by Okayama Prefectural Wakeshizutani Senior High School
Wakeshizutani Senior High School joined the UNESCO ASPnet system in 2011 and promotes learning and practices for building a sustainable community through volunteer work by all students. All activities in and with the community are done by students during a period of integrated study. One article edited by UNESCO about the volunteer guide by high school students can be found here.
In order to showcase international and regional good practices on ESD, the jury also introduced short-listed projects. The ESD Okayama Award 2016 will be announced soon.