Gender Just Climate Solutions Awards 2023 – Meet the winners!

Tuesday 5 December was a day we have been building towards for months: it was time for the Gender Just Climate Solutions Awards! Sustainable and gender-just solutions to the climate crisis already exist on the ground and many of them are women-led. This is why WECF and the Women and Gender Constituency promote and support outstanding projects that provide grassroots climate solutions, have women leadership and promote gender equality. At each yearly Awards ceremony – taking place during COP gatherings – we showcase the winning projects of the three Award categories; Technical Solutions, Non-Technical Solutions, and Transformational Solutions. Awardees receive a monetary prize of 5000 Euros and can join a mentoring and skills training programme to build further capacity and allow for the scaling up of good practices. Additionally, by becoming part of our global network, awardees will be able to connect to other, international organisations and bring their message to the forefront of global climate change discourse. Read more about the Gender Just Climate Solutions Awards and the projects that were nominated this year in our publication here.

We are proud to present this year’s winning projects! Read more below about the inspiring projects from Bangladesh, Kenya and Pakistan.

1. Winners in the category Technical Solutions: AzuKo and Nirapod Bangladesh Songstha

Winners: Jo Ashbridge (AzuKo) and Apu Roy (Nirapod Bangladesh Songstha)
Project: Build for Safety: women contributing to climate-resilient housing in Bangladesh 
Country: Bangladesh 

In Dinajpur, Bangladesh, a construction training programme led by AzuKo and Nirapod Bangladesh Songstha (English: Safe Bangladesh Organisation) supports impoverished women with a comprehensive strategy. The programme contributes to enhancing community resilience to climate-induced disasters by promoting eco-friendly design and locally available materials. In addition, it aims to strengthen women’s skills in the male-dominated building sector. This multifaceted initiative challenges patriarchal norms and persisting gender inequalities by fostering democratic decision-making for women in their communities. AzuKo also supports women’s saving groups through low-interest loans and financial training. 

About the winners: 

Jo Ashbridge is passionate about humanitarian architecture and sustainable development. Her work includes constructing single room shelters in Vietnam, authoring guidelines for disaster relief shelters, improving earth construction within low-income communities across Bangladesh, and evaluating community-led development in rural China. In 2014, Jo set up the architecture charity AzuKo to grow the impact of co-design. She is an alumna of Echo++ and the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and former Chair of Small International Development Charities Network. Jo regularly speaks on architecture and design for international development. 

Apu Roy is a shelter expert, specialising in low-cost housing in rural areas, and is passionate about helping communities build resilience in a changing climate. He has been involved in a number of high-profile building projects across Bangladesh, including the award winning Rishipara Mandir Paathshala bamboo school. Apu is Project Manager at Nirapod Bangladesh Songstha (Safe Bangladesh Organisation). He leads community engagement, site management and programme evaluation.

2. Winner in the category Non-Technical Solutions: Paran Women Group

Winner: Naiyan Kiplagat (Paran Women Group)
Project: Bolstering Indigenous women’s knowledge and resilience to climate change impacts 
Country: Kenya 

Paran Women Group is a unique network of 64 Indigenous women Civil Society Organisations that has engaged over 1000 women and girls in climate mitigation and adaptation strategies aimed at improving water and food security for their communities, as well as reducing poverty, strengthening women leadership and promoting environmental governance through socio economic empowerment initiatives, advocacy, capacity building and training programmes for Indigenous women and youths. They have established kitchen gardens and are generating alternative sources of income through organic briquette making, native species tree planting, beadwork, medicinal herb collecting, and beekeeping. Their winning project helps reducing deforestation and CO2 emissions from firewood and reinforcing climate resilience in severely affected areas of Kenya through conservation agriculture and rehabilitating local seeds and crops. It promotes gender justice by supporting women’s leadership and decision-making power in Indigenous communities. 

About the winner: 

Naiyan Kiplagat is a grassroot women’s leader with over 20 years of experience in local-level practice work with and for Indigenous women. She works on climate change adaptation and mitigation through her efforts around reforestation, energy efficient cook-stoves and training other Indigenous women to become climate defenders. All her work is rooted in local traditions and ecology and centers the protection of women and girls as vital stewards of the environment. She supports women’s and girls’ leadership, creating solutions and fostering space for them to learn and grow. She also engages in policy advocacy at all levels to highlight the role of Indigenous women in sustainable development. 

In 2019 she was awarded by the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life for her leadership efforts, which has had multi-dimensional impact in the areas of human rights, Indigenous rights education and environmental preservation, which, as in many other rural areas in the Global South, has become a major issue in her country. 

Naiyan attended a course in human rights and advocacy skills at the Global School of Leadership, Columbia University. She is the cofounder and director at Paran Women Group is also a member of the African Indigenous Women Organisation.

3. Winners in the category Transformational Solutions: Baithak and DASTAK Foundation

Winners: Ayesha Amin (Baithak – Challenging Taboos) and Hira Amjad (DASTAK Foundation)
Project: Framework for gender-equitable climate disaster response 
Country: Pakistan

In their efforts to use gender-just approaches to respond to increasingly disastrous floods in Pakistan, Baithak – Challenging Taboos and DASTAK Foundation have developed a strategic and comprehensive framework tool offering guidelines for gender-equitable climate crisis responses. These responses are designed to meet the gender-specific needs of women and girls during climate crises and prioritise their health, well-being, and safety. Before its creation, extensive stakeholder engagement was conducted, including social listening sessions involving 30,000 menstruating women and girls, direct consultations with 5,000 individuals affected by floods, and collaboration with 40 grassroots organisations and experts. 

About the winners: 

Ayesha Amin is a feminist climate activist with over 10 years of experience in working on the intersecting themes of gender justice, climate change, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and technology for gender equality. She is the founder of Baithak – Challenging Taboos, a women led, feminist, grassroots organisation that works for gender justice in Pakistan. 

Her expertise and passion lie in designing human-centered solutions to build agency of girls and women in local communities to enable them to exercise their bodily autonomy. Her work is centered around communities that are most affected by climate crises in Pakistan. Through her advocacy, activism, and research, she has advised international organisations including the UN agencies, the Pakistani government, grassroots organisations, and the private sector to make their climate crises response gender equitable. 

In recognition of her expertise and advocacy, Ayesha was invited to speak at the UN Headquarters during the Sixty Seventh Session of Commission on Status of Women. She is a member of the UN Women’s 30for2030 Network, an Acumen Fellow, Rise Up’s Youth Champion, DKG World Fellow, Rally Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator Fellow, Westerwelle Foundation’s YFP fellow, ICFP Youth Champion, and Specialist Leader for the Community Engagement Exchange Programme. She has been honored with several prestigious awards for her work, including awards by the President of Pakistan, Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, Youth Ministry of Pakistan, and Governor of Punjab, Pakistan. 

Hira Amjad is an award-winning feminist and a social and climate justice leader with expertise in developing knowledge products and programmes, organisational transformations, leading campaigns and organising communities. She is currently serving as an Executive Director at DASTAK Foundation, Global Advisor – Asia-Pacific at FRIDA (Global Feminist Fund), Fellow (Asia Programs) at Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and Regional Grant Advisor at WomenWin. She founded DASTAK Foundation in 2019, a registered women/survivor-led non-profit, with the mission to decolonise the women’s rights movement, advance social justice and mainstream experiences of young girls and women in policy discourse. 

As a visionary leader, she is on a mission to create civic spaces for feminist activism, strengthen mechanisms to prevent sexual and gender-based violence and to advance sexual and reproductive health rights of girls and women during emergencies and conflict. Hira has also been actively involved in humanitarian relief and disaster risk and recovery, and her work with young women and girls during the 2022 floods under ‘Dignity Campaign’ in Pakistan supported 15000 menstruating women and 500 pregnant women. She has used her experience in the field to advocate for feminist climate justice and work on the integration of a gender-lens and grassroots knowledge in humanitarian action. These efforts have, among others, resulted in the development of the TABEER Climate Alliance, aimed at mobilising and including youth and women in climate action. She was awarded the Human Rights Award by Geneva Center for Human Rights and Global Dialogue for her work towards sexual and gender-based violence prevention in Pakistan in 2021.


Are you a journalist/working for media and interested in these projects?

To plan an interview with (one of) the winners, please contact Gaia Zanaboni, 

About The Women and Gender Constituency 

The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) is one of the nine stakeholder groups of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Established in 2009, the WGC now consists of 34 women’s and environmental civil society organisations, who are working to ensure that women’s voices and their rights are embedded in all processes and results of the UNFCCC framework, for a sustainable and just future, so that gender equality and women’s human rights are central to the ongoing discussions.