WECF at COP26: Congratulations! Here are the 2021 Gender Just Climate Solutions award winners

We are proudly announcing this year’s annual winners of the Gender Just Climate Solutions Awards. Launched by the Women and Gender Constituency in 2015, the Award honours the fundamental contribution of gender equality and women’s organisations in the fight against climate chaos and demonstrates the necessity to integrate gender equality in all climate policies.

As Fatou Ndoye, Award winner from 2016 stated during the ceremony: “Women are at the heart of the energy system: to fetch wood, water, transform… This requires enormous physical efforts while at the same time educating and taking care of their children. With all these burdens, they are de facto distant from decision-making”.

Women hold the key to change in the fight against climate change and environmental pollution. While women in their own environments come up with brilliant, sustainable & affordable solutions against climate change, climate finance often goes to large infrastructure projects. Much less support is available for those who are paying a heavy price for the climate crisis and who would need the resources to adapt and survive the most.

Showcasing outstanding projects 

With the Awards we want to show that gender just climate solutions are already happening, transforming communities all around the world. Each year we therefore select three winners and launch a publication showcasing outstanding projects. The 2021 awards winners are:


IMECE, Turkey: Solar Age: empowering refugee women through solar engineering

Since 2018, the Solar Age project supports Syrian women refugees in Turkey. The Solar Engineering Course, a10-day theoretical and practical training in solar energy, benefitted 200 women refugees. Among them, 20 have also been trained to build EFE (Energy For Everyone) solar batteries, which are sold on the local market to generate revenues. The EFE batteries are specifically designed to provide for the needs of refugees. They integrate a flashlight for SOS signals and serve as an autonomous source of energy for mobile phones
to facilitate life-saving communication. The program additionally offers educational and language courses to children refugees.


TODOS JUNTOS, Guatamala: Mealflour: empowering indigenous women in Guatemala for climate resilient food sovereignty

Todos Juntos works since 2016 with indigenous women in Guatemala to improve their nutrition and environment. Supported by university researchers, the association trained 100 women in 4 communities, to set upmealworm farms that ensure an affordable and sustainable source of protein. Rural women are empowered as “ambassadors” of mealworm farming through a Train-of-Trainers program. They initiated a catalog of local food sourcesto preserve indigenous knowledge and improve foodsovereignty, incl. dietary recommendations. The catalog“Bienes Forestales” is disseminated in local Mayan languageand will be used to transfer ancestral knowledge to childrenand set up gardens of local plants.


FUNDACION PLURALES, Argentina: Strengthening women environmental defenders through a digital and advocacy network

‘Defensoras Ambianales’ empowers womenenvironmental rights defenders from indigenous peoples andlocal groups in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, with a genderjustice perspective. A network of over 1,200 women has beenbuilt, and an innovative mobile phone application (PLAC) waslaunched to inform, connect, protect and communicateefficiently. This supports the protection of territoriesdeteriorated by extractivism, agrochemical contamination andthe restriction of local actors’ civic space. A feminist schoolwas established in 2021 to strengthen local knowledge,technical and advocacy skills for climate adaptation andmitigation, with the aim to improve the groups’ resilience andamplify their demands.


All India Women’s Conference Calcutta: Women-led mangrove reforestation in Sunderbans, India

Frequent cyclones in the Indian state of West Bengal damage mangroves, destroy agricultural land and affect soil fertility. In this context,
inland and mangrove afforestation, as well as efforts to increase community resilience are crucial. This project, carried out by indigenous women, aims to train beneficiaries in the preparation of seedlings and the planting of mangroves. This protects the area from soil erosion and reduces the intensity of climate disasters. Women are also empowered economically through an organic farming and vermicomposting programme, which provides a sustainable source of income and ensures food security for local communities.

About the Award
Each winner receives a grant of 2,000 Euros, travel support for one representative to attend COP26, mentorship from the members of the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC), and opportunity to participate in a skills training workshop held by CTCN. Being the 6th year running, this year we had 157 applicants from all over the world.

Continued collaboration
The Climate Technology Centre & Network (CTCN) is inviting the winners from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 to a workshop on up-scaling gender just climate solutions, sharing of climate technology and finance. This is a continuation of our capacity-building cooperation initiated at COP23 and builds on south-south and technology knowledge sharing. It is a closed event but journalists are invited to come and interview the winners. You can download the publication in English, Spanish and French here