GWIA wins the Dubai International Award for Best Practice Transfer

The Grassroots Women’s International Academy (GWIA) has won international recognition in the sixth cycle of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment (DIABP) in the Best Practice Transfers category. Representatives of the Nest! Foundation that harbours the GWIA archives, hosts the GWIA website and has published the GWIA handbook, accepted the award on behalf of all GWIA participants.

The prize was handed over by the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Industry and Chairman of Dubai Municipality Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and expresses recognition of a grassroots practice that has been successfully repeated and transferred into many contexts, countries and groups accross continents and continues to serve and spread as a valuable format and tool of validating grassroots knowledge.

The Nest! Foundation has been initiated by Monika Jaeckel, the founder of GWIA and coordinator of the first 6 GWIAs, that were hosted by the German Mother Center Movement as part of the Expo 2000 in Germany.

The objective of the Nest! foundation is compiling and generating grassroots knowledge in the field of community building and community development, stimulating the recognition of such knowledge and subsequently transferring this knowledge for reinvestment in projects serving community building and community development.

Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN-Habitat, in her speech mentioned that the award has been recording continuous growth in terms of participants and quality of the best practices projects.

"For the first time, two winners are identified specifically for having transferred their experience to others. This is a very significant development. It strengthens the value of the Dubai International award as a learning tool," she added. Everybody who has been participating in a GWIA over the years may be proud to be part of this UN accredited success story!!

All 12 award winners said they were proud to hear the news that they had won the Dubai International Award. "Recognition at local and national levels is very important for our work. But international recognition tells us that even by world standards, we are doing something right, we are doing something good, we are doing something that others can learn from," their representative said while addressing the gathering.

The Dubai International Award for the Best Practices has since 1995 attracted more than 4,000 entries from over 140 countries. The number of laureates reached 42 from all over the world. The number of submissions to the sixth cycle held now, was 715, of which 48 initiatives were short listed by the Technical Advisory Council (TAC). An independent International Jury selected the best twelve practices to win this cycle's Dubai International Award. The 12 winners were all deemed to have made outstanding contributions in improving the quality of life in cities and communities. The jury based their decisions on criteria of tangible impact, partnership, and sustainability and also took into account considerations of leadership and community empowerment, gender equality and social inclusion, and innovations that can be replicated.

The Grassroots Women's International Academy (GWIA)
So far 11 GWIA’s have been held, which have contributed to a powerful exchange and transfer of best practices, from North to South, from South to North, from East to West and vice versa as well as between groups in the same region, who were, previously isolated from each other. The Dubai prize will be used towards a further GWIA, which will be held in June 2008 in Barcelona, Spain on the subject of dissemination of the Mother Centers methodology.

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