GEC, National River Care Fund award eight winning teams cash prizes totalling RM13,500
The global Environment Centre (GEC) and National River Care Fund (NRCF) recently paid tribute to eight groups for their outstanding achievements in river conservation efforts, which earned them the coveted River Care Award 2021.
Along with the recognition, the winning teams collectively received a total of RM13,500. The winning teams comprised three educational-based groups and five local communities – all of whom actively contributed to the care and sustainability of river basin management.
The Champion for the Overall Category: Local Communities, Kelab Kebun Rumah Pangsa AU2, impressed the four-member jury with their ongoing and sustained river and water conservation efforts within and around their urban community garden near the Klang River.
Their notable initiatives included periodical river clean-up and river monitoring activities, a rainwater harvesting project, and tree planting on the river bank.
The community garden has also become a platform to bring people closer to the river and as a hub for environmental education and is a catalyst to promote tourism and biodiversity conservation.
The winners were announced during the Virtual Award Presentation Ceremony of River Care Award 2021, officiated by Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Malaysia Director-General Dato’ Ir Nor Hisham Mohd Ghazali hosted at GEC headquarters in Petaling Jaya.
“GEC promotes smart partnership and multi-stakeholder engagement and in particular the involvement of local communities and interest groups such as these in sustainable river basin management,” said GEC Director, Faizal Parish, adding this year’s award was held in conjunction with World Rivers Day, celebrated on Sept 26.
“This has been a key enabler for GEC’s river care programme since its inception in 1998.”
This year’s award theme Recognising River Care Community Champions aimed to raise awareness among members of the public and encourage all Malaysians to implement localised, community-based action plans or initiatives, which are sustainable and able to protect and mitigate river-related issues.
The River Care Award 2021 was a recognition of river care champions from amongst 29 communities in Federal Territory, Johor, Kelantan, Perak and Selangor.
They were nominated for their efforts in driving sustainable projects under NRCF’s Cycle 1 to Cycle 6 grant programme, as well as other GEC-related community-based river care projects.
NRCF, a small grants programme initiated by GEC, provided RM470,000 in grants and training since 2015 to support more than 45 community groups carrying out river care activities.
Kelab Kebun Rumah Pangsa AU2 was a NRCF Cycle 2 grantee.
Meanwhile, under the Special Category: Educational Institution, Universiti Malaya (UM)’s Water Warriors – an on-campus environmental project team – won the top spot, earning a cash prize of RM2,000.
They are entrusted with protecting and conserving water bodies within the university campus and are primarily responsible for restoring Tasik Varsiti under their Project ReViVaL initiative.
They have also embarked on environmental education initiatives such as providing case studies for environmental-related courses in UM while conducting environmental education programmes for school students.
All the eight winning teams also received a trophy and a certificate.
The virtual award ceremony saw the participation of more than 60 guests via Zoom and Facebook Live.
In his official address, Nor Hisham expressed delight over the heightened levels of creativity among the various nominees of the award, as well as the manifold results these have yielded: from the river adoption and monitoring, selling community garden produce, pollution reduction, river trail and recycling used cooking oil for pollution reduction and as a source of alternative livelihoods for the local community.
He assured: “DID will continue to provide the necessary support to all non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, Friends of River Basin groups, local authorities, local communities and the private sector in their efforts to spearhead and drive initiatives for the conservation of the nation’s greatest asset – our rivers.”
Meanwhile, NRCF Advisory Committee Chair and GEC Council member Dato’ Ir Lim Chow Hock also said NRCF remained committed to supporting all levels of society. It connects them with the environment, especially the rivers, and instills a deep sense of appreciation for the entire river ecosystem.
“GEC set up NRCF with the sole purpose of encouraging civil society in Malaysia to care for the rivers and to support the setting up community-based establishments committed towards the conservation and preservation of all water resources in Malaysia,” he added. — @Forest