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28 September 2021

Marjan Centre Researcher shortlisted for prestigious environmental prize

John Kahekwa, a research partner of the Marjan Centre is shortlisted for the inaugural Earthshot prize

POPOF news

John Kahekwa, research partner of the Marjan Centre for the Study of Conservation and Conflict, and his organisation, the Pole Pole Foundation have been announced as finalists in the inaugural Earthshot Prize, in the Protect and Restore Nature Category, the environmental equivalent of a Nobel prize.

John Kahekwa has been a partner of the centre within the department of War Studies, since 2012, where members have been working to spread the word about the success of his approach to conservation and its global significance. Research has estimated that his blueprint for conservation is applicable to more than 90% of Protected Areas worldwide, with the potential to transform the conservation of biodiversity in the 21st Century.

John is from a small town in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He runs a small, community-led Non-Government Organisation called the Pole Pole Foundation. Despite being a pioneer in his field, he struggled for many years to gain much in the way of acknowledgement of his outstanding efforts, let alone attract the attention and trust of the wider international community concerned with environmental protection.

The Marjan Centre awarded him its inaugural Marsh-Marjan award in 2012. The award recognizes the efforts of individuals who have, often at great risk to themselves, and without much wider recognition, contributed to the protection of the environment, the welfare of local communities, and the safeguarding of endangered species in hostile conditions, frequently in active warzones.

King’s partnership with John provided him with the foundation to establish the value and credibility of his work, creating a positive cycle of success, which has seen him achieve more prestigious accolades in succeeding years, building his profile and gaining the opportunity to share his knowledge with the world.

The Earthshot Prize

Launched by Prince William last October, the Earthshot Prize is the most prestigious global environment prize in history, designed to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next ten years. The Prize aims to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism, by highlighting the ability of human ingenuity to bring about change, and inspiring collective action. In doing so we can create a safer, more beautiful world for future generations.

The winner will be announced on 17th October during a global televised award ceremony which is being broadcast by the BBC in London, as well as globally on the Discovery Channel. Prior to this there will be a BBC TV series and radio series broadcast and a new publication, ‘Earthshot: How to save our planet’ showcasing inspirational case studies of the solutions happening globally to repair our planet, released in the UK on Thursday, 30th September.