This women-led initiative arose in 1998 in response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Mitch on sixteen agrarian Garifuna communities. These peoples of Afro-indigenous descent have traditionally been socioeconomically marginalized in Honduras, and their agricultural livelihoods were hard hit by the loss of 70% of the country’s crops due to heavy flooding. Beyond initial disaster relief efforts, the initiative has sought to improve local resilience to future environmental disasters. By conserving forests, incorporating sustainable agricultural practices for hillside farming, adopting appropriate technologies, rehabilitating beaches, and supporting the land reform efforts of disenfranchised Garifuna communities, Comite de Emergencia Garífuna is helping to ensure that future generations of Garifuna are able to live prosperously and in balance with healthy ecosystems. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.
Equator Initiative Case Study - Garifuna Emergency Committee Of Honduras
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