Friday, June 1, 2012

Semi-Finalists Announced for first Land for Life Award

Semi-Finalists Announced for first Land for Life Award

24/05/2012 Bonn, Germany - From turning human waste into organic fertilizer
to scientific breakthroughs reversing desertification, the 15
semi-finalists of the Land for Life award find innovative and inspiring
ways to restore degraded land.

Launched by the UNCCD for the first time in 2011, the Land for Life Award
will recognize efforts that promote the natural health and productivity of
the earth’s soils.

Three winners will share a prize fund of up to 100,000 USD. They will be
announced on 17 June, the World Day to Combat Desertification in Rio de
Janeiro as part of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development, known as Rio+ 20.

More than one hundred applications were received from 52 countries. The
competition was open to individuals, NGOs, governments, business, media and
others that could demonstrate contributions to sustainable land management.

The winners will be selected by a Jury of ten experts from the field of
sustainable land management. The jury includes personalities like Dr.
Vandana Shiva, a renowned seed sovereignty activist from India, Ms. Yolanda
Kakabadse, President of WWF International and Dr. Camilla Toulmin,
Director, International Institute for Sustainable Development as well as
other respected experts from government, the UNCCD, civil society and

The fifteen semi-finalists are:

Alan Savory, Zimbabwe
A lifelong champion of sustainable land management, Alan Savory has
pioneered the concept of holistic land management, promoting sustainable
grazing particularly in the grasslands of Africa.

Chifeng Muncipal Government, China
In the arid lands of Inner Mongolia, the government of Chifeng faces a
serious fight of desertification, which threatens nearly 30 percent of the
total region. Through scientific policy planning and mass mobilization,
Chifeng has rehabilitated three-quarters of a million hectares of degraded
land, and on average each hectare of shelterbelt forest prevents 10 tons of
soil loss each year.

Community Efforts for Community Development (CECOD), Uganda
More than 85 percent of Ugandans live in rural areas, making their
livelihoods from the land. But over the years the school system has become
increasingly academic. Concerned with increasing knowledge of sustainable
development, CECOD has turned children into agents of change in rural
communities through creating a network of eco-schools, training of over
7,500 teachers and involving 34,700 children in micro projects, such as
organic farming and water harvesting.

DeCo! Ghana
Farmers in the savanna region of Ghana have low yields as result of poor
soils. DeCo! provides low cost organic fertilizer through a sustainable
business model, collecting local waste, fruit, vegetable and other biomass
residues to produce rich compost.

DESIRE-WOCAT, The Netherlands
A research network connecting people from local to global levels worldwide,
the DESIRE-WOCAT project has expanded the knowledge available about land
degradation and desertification by collecting case studies, establishing
indicators, and conducting trainings.

Dr. Liliya Dimeyeva, Kazakhstan
Working across borders and cultures, Dr. Dimeyeva has dedicated her
scientific research to creating green sea beds in the dry Aral Sea, an
important scientific breakthrough in an area facing severe land

Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE), Nigeria
Faced with advancing sand dunes in Northern Nigeria, FADE has planted a
wall of trees and conducted creative awareness raising about combating
desertification in Nigeria, including a reality TV show called Desert

Grupo Ambiental para el Desarrollo (GADE), Argentina
In Colonia El Simbolar in Northern Argentina, farmers struggled to make
ends meet, and large amounts of land were abandoned. GADE has led the
community to plant resilient native trees, Algarrobo Blanco, which can be
used for wood, flour and honey. The reforestation of nearly 7,000 hectares
has increased incomes of struggling farmers, and mobilized the community,
especially youth, to protect the environment.

The Great Green Wall, Korea & China
Set on the border between Korea and China, the Great Green Wall runs 16
hectares, and is surrounded by the Save the Earth Eco-Village. A
collaboration between students, governments, NGOs and businesses led by
Future Forest, the wall has succeeded in halting desertification and
preventing the encroachment of sand dunes.

Dr. Goaming Jiang, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Where many efforts to reverse desertification in northern China have
failed, Professor Jiang has proven that by ending the grazing of large
livestock and providing the community with alternative livelihoods, land
can be naturally restored.

Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), Haiti
Working in some of the poorest areas of Haiti, SOIL has developed an
integrated approach to the issues of inadequate sanitation, declining soil
fertility and extensive erosion. Through community driven ecological
sanitation, SOIL helps restore soils and improve agricultural yields, at
the same time improving the dignity and health of people without

Mr. Tie Shunliang, the Director of Forestry and Environment Protection
Bureau, China
Dedicating his career to afforestation and combatting desertification in
the tough conditions of western China, the efforts of Mr. Shunliang have
led to the restoration of nearly 25,000 hectares of degraded land. He also
pioneered wolfberry cultivation, with benefits to the environment and
additional incomes for 30,000 people, most of whom are women.

Terraprima, Portugal
Through technological innovation including an innovative use of legumes,
Terra Prima reduces costs for farmers for fertilization, land maintenance
and animal feeding.  The project potentially improves the soil health of 1
million hectares of land, at the same time offering opportunities for
large-scale soil carbon sequestration.

Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA), Turkey
The largest environmental NGO in Turkey, TEMA has mobilized people across
civil society, from children to farmers, gathering one million signatures
supporting a law for soil protection, as well as providing practical
leadership in the field for holistic land management.

Wand Foundation, Philippines
Many poor farmers in the Philippines lose their land in local mortgage
schemes known as prenda. The Wand Foundation helps farmers reclaim their
land, and increase soil fertility through providing fertilizer produced by
ecological sanitation.


For more information, please visit:

About the Land for Life Award
The 2012 Land for Life award is a collaboration between the UNCCD and the
Korea Forest Service, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and
Development (BMZ), the Global Environment Facility, International Union for
Conservation of Nature, the Qatar National Food Security Programme, the
Business Forum in Korea and the Elion Resources Group, China.

About the UNCCD
Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity,
were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development
during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole
legally binding international agreement linking environment, development
and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 195 signatory Parties
work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s
productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vegetables Everywhere

Vegetables can be grown everywhere, anywhere, hanging, crawling, sitting-down, tumbling-down...

Why vegetables?

Vegetables are a major source of cash income for smallholder farmers. 

Vegetables are vital for combating the "hidden hunger" of micronutrient malnutrition. 

Vegetables are essential for a balanced diet and good health. 

Vegetable research has the highest rate of return of any agricultural research. 

Exotic vegetables are globally important, and a source of cash income for smallholders

Vegetable menu

A pinch of salt, a dash of seasoning, some herbs, a little oil and Presto!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Indigenous adaptation of ecological sanitation system

Indigenous adaptation:  an ecological sanitation success in 

Sendong aftermath

By Mike Baños

CAGAYAN DE ORO – A home-grown adaptation of an appropriate technology developed in Europe, Latin America and Africa has successfully proven itself in actual field installations during the aftermath of the Tropical Storm Sendong disaster in this city and nearby Iligan.

“Ecosan was piloted by the Center for Advanced Philippine Studies (CAPS) in Tingloy, Batangas in 2000,” said Dan Lapid, CAPS President. Similar initiatives have since been implemented in  San Fernando, La Union; Panglao Island, Bohol; Balit Infirmary Hospital in Agusan del Sur; Bayawan and Dumaguete cities in Negros Oriental; Cagayan de Oro City and Libertad, Misamis Oriental.”

But it wasn’t until after Tropical Storm Sendong rampaged through Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities last December 17 that it had a chance to prove its worth in an emergency.

Locally fabricated Eco-San toilets were deployed by the Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation in cooperation with the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan Sustainable Sanitation Center and local partners in over 30 evacuation centers and schools in the two cities.

Dr. Elmer V. Sayre, in-house consultant, said WAND’s Eco-San toilet (also known as Urine Diverting Dehydration Toilet or UDDT) was originally designed to address the sanitation needs of the “base of the pyramid” (BoP): households too poor to afford their own toilets, those in remote areas not reached by government services, those with inadequate or no access to clean potable water, and those in conflict and/or disaster-hit areas.

“Present sanitation systems based on the flush-pour toilet operate on the premise that human wastes are better off disposed,” said Dr. Sayre. “But it is not effective in areas where there is no water or where septage is difficult to build as in the flooded zones of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro following the Sendong disaster.”

When the supply of potable water following the disaster became critical, especially in Cagayan de Oro, the dry/waterless Eco-San toilets proved a God-send.

“Ensuring sanitation for thousands of people during an emergency following a natural disaster is a challenge especially if the affected places lack water,” said Lilia GC. Casanova, CAPS executive director during a National Consultation Workshop on Guidelines for Implementing Ecological Sanitation in an Emergency held March 20, 2012 at Searsolin, Xavier University. “Until Typhoon Ondoy hit Manila in October 2009, sanitation during emergencies was not acknowledged as a concern.”

However, when portalets deployed in Manila after Ondoy and in Cagayan de Oro following Sendong proved too expensive to maintain and were rendered unusable after a few days, and latrines proved impractical, emergency workers turned to Eco-San toilets.

The Sustainable Sanitation Center of XU first installed two units each at the West City Central School and Macabalan Elementary School. WAND followed up with two locations in Cagayan de Oro and three in Iligan.  Some 158 units of the “single-vault” design (including 30 ceramic UD bowls donated by CAPS) were eventually deployed to various locations in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro for the duration of the emergency.

Built with locally available indigenous materials, one unit of the single vault Eco-San toilet could be built within half a day for as little as $112 compared to $2,790 for a portalet (incl. chemicals and installation). Daily maintenance costs for a portalet was $53 compared to $0.70 for the econ-san.

“Based on the experiences of the two cities and one academic institution that early on implemented the demonstration projects, the ‘Eco-san’ toilets have been shown to exhibit qualities that make it socially, culturally, economically and environmentally appropriate, making it a sustainable option,” wrote Ms. Casanova in her evaluation presented during the workshop. “These demonstration projects validated the results of researches and studies on the viability of the Ecological Sanitation system done by global institutions like the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) and German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ, today known as the GIZ).”   

Urine and feces collected from the Eco-San facilities were collected on a daily basis by WAND crews in both cities and brought to the NGO’s Eco-Village Demonstration Farm in Libertad, Misamis Oriental where they would be recycled as organic fertilizer.

“We would like to eventually proceed to the next step and offer Eco-San for permanent relocation sites where the residents themselves can maintain the facilities and recycle the wastes as organic fertilizer for their vegetable gardens, bananas, trees and flowers  thus literally ‘closing the loop’ between sanitation and food security,” Dr. Sayre said.

World health statistics show inadequate sanitation facilities and poor hygienic practices cause debilitating water borne diseases which account for over two percent of the combined GDP of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The UN Green Economy Report released last year for the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, Sweden cited how the Philippines loses about $1.4 billion (in 2005 prices) or some 1.5% of its GDP to problems caused by poor sanitation and lack of access to a clean water supply.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Israel Award

PH foundation bags Israel award

December 30, 2011, 3:45pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation in the Philippines recently bagged the 2011 Raanan Weitz International Competition on Integrated Development Projects held at the Weitz Center for Development Studies in Rehovot, Israel.
According to the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, Elmer V. Sayre and Jed Christian Z. Sayre of the WAND Foundation received the award for their project titled "Using the Rehovot Approach to Close the Loop Between Sanitation, Food Security and Biodiversity Improvement as a Means to Alleviate Extreme Poverty: The WAND Foundation Experience."
Sayre said the project was a product of intense study and research taking into account the available technologies in Israel and linking or combining it with the Philippine approach and experience.
"The design of the project focuses on ecological sanitation and the prevention of the spread of diseases, including the conservation of water, minimizing pollution and conservation of valuable fertilizer," Sayre said in a statement.
He also noted that the project aims to respond to the challenges of climate change, which has steadily drawn international attention every year, particularly the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
The award was given on the occasion of the 13th year since the death of Professor Raanan Weitz, who was the founder of Weitz Center for Development Study and a leader of the Israeli and International Development Planning.
Charge d'Affaires Ferdinand Flores, who attended the ceremonies and witnessed the conferment of the award to the winners, noted that Filipinos are born to excel in their chosen career, field of expertise and studies.
"Winning this award is a testament that Filipino intelligence is indeed being recognized around the world, and this time, in Israel," said Flores. "The embassy hopes that there will be more students coming from the Philippines who would provide award winning project designs at the Weitz Center.
The Weitz Center for Development Studies opened the 6th Integrated Development Projects Competition. We called professionals from developing countries to submit projects, which reflect the spirit of the "Rehovot Approach" formulated by Prof. Raanan Weitz. This year the competition focused on "Extreme Poverty Alleviation".
The Professional Committee of the Raanan Weitz Competition 2011 has recommended the Weitz Center to select Elmer V. Sayre and Jed Christian Z. Sayre from the WAND Foundation in the Philippines, with their project for First Place. Project Presentation and award granting will be held in a ceremony on December 19, 2011 in Rehovot, Israel.


Movable dry toilet for the poor.

Steel Dry Toilet

Photo of a deluxe steel-framed ecosan toilet good for high-end market, parks, special events, ranches and vacation homes.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

WAND Foundation Portable Ecosan Toilets for Typhoon Sendong Survivors

One of the most viable response for safe sanitation for the Typhoon Sendong devastated communities is portalets. The solution of international aid agencies coming to assist is this orange (or blue) imported, expensive and utterly useless type of portalets. Utterly useless because nobody knows how to pump the waste out, no vacuum pump is available and it needs a specialized vehicle to carry the effluent. After several days use, all 158 of these were filled to the brim, smells bad, and is a health hazard.

Our solution is portable, dry, urine diverting, dehydration toilets where the only “high technology” is the toilet bowl shown here which we are making ourselves.

One toilet can be installed within 3 hours. It can be transported where the victims are.

Aside from installing, we do capacity-building and advocacy, waste management and recycling and eventually using the waste as valuable fertilizer for small farmers.
Our main concern now is the thousands of survivors coming back to what is left of their homes without sanitation at all both in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Shown here are our portalets quickly installed where the survivors are returning. Our aim is to prevent a second wave of tragedy which is water-borne epidemic caused by open defecation.

The award we got from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a winner. People believe in our approach when I say we are backed-up by a prestigious award.

Bio-data of the In-House Adviser

Dr. Sayre’s work experience is varied and includes being an agriculture extension worker, a college teacher, a local consultant and an NGO adviser. He implements initiatives related to water system development, biodiversity, agro-forestry, and ecological sanitation, promoting a culture of peace, micro-financing and rural organizing with emphasis on the poor mainly in Mindanao, the Philippines. His initiatives have won much recognition, including an award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Explorations in Global Health for his work on ecological sanitation. He was an Endeavour Leadership Fellow in Australia in 2007 and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in Bellagio, Italy, in 2010. He has published manuals on community-based seedling nurseries and tree planting and on promoting a culture of peace in Mindanao, as well as a book on ecological sanitation. He is also a published poet and short-story writer.

Description of the WAND Foundation

The Wand Foundation started operation in 2003 (then called the Local Empowerment Foundation or LEF) with projects focused on promoting health, sanitation, nutrition and improved livelihoods among the poorest of the poor and mainly in 5 municipalities in west Misamis Oriental.  It has also expanded its activities in Lanao del Norte with its promotion of culture of peace project and in Zamboanga del Norte with its sustainable small farm development project.  The Wand Foundation is a winner in the 2003 Panibagong Paraan and a finalist in the international Development Marketplace held in Washington DC in 2005. It is a First Prize winner in  an international competition on integrated rural development in Israel.  In June 2008, it was decided to change the name of LEF to WAND Foundation since LEF rhymmes with  left  or leftist which is a common name of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the 80’s in most of our project areas. The executive director of the Foundation, Cora Sayre has more than 20 years experience in rural development work and has attended a number of international training programs, notable of which is the 6-month social leadership course at the Coady International Institute in Canada, the environment leadership course at the Smithsonian in the USA, rural enterprise in The Netherlands, sustainable agriculture in Israel and the 6-month ecological alternative to sanitation course in Sweden and in India.    The WAND is a recent winner in a Bill and Melinda Gates competition for global health and a laureate of the prestigious Tech Awards in the USA.