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Breaking the Barriers campaign lands Christian Aid climate change award

An overseas Christian Aid project has won an award at Parliament for taking action to protect the things we love from climate change.

Genevieve Lomax and Paula Plaza, representing Christian Aid’s Breaking the Barriers programme, headed to the Palace of Westminster for The Climate Coalition’s Green Heart Hero Awards on 11 March.

The ‘Breaking the Barriers’ programme won the Overseas Inspiration Award in recognition of their use of sustainable energy products and technologies to increase rural women’s income, improve working and living conditions, promote gender equality and strengthen women’s social status.

Women’s groups in South Omo, Ethiopia celebrate
the Breaking the Barriers programme

Through ‘Breaking the Barriers’, Christian Aid have supported women to create and own Sustainable Energy Enterprises in some of the poorest and remote off-grid communities across Africa and Latin America. These groups receive training in sustainable energy and business skills, and can access finance through savings and loans groups. It’s estimated that upwards of 3 million people will benefit.

Genevieve Lomax, Programme Communications Advisor at Christian Aid, said: “We are so pleased at Christian Aid to have won the award for overseas inspiration. This is a fantastic achievement and we would like to thank all our wonderful staff and partners who are working so hard to make this programme a success.

“It recognises meaningful development through sustainable energy can only be achieved when women are involved in this process. At Christian Aid, tackling climate change is central to our work as it is the world’s poorest people who are feeling the worst impacts of climate change.”

Ángela López (right) at a technical workshop on
solar panels to understand the general concepts
behind a photovoltaic system.
(Photographer OCDIH)

The awards ceremony also saw wins for Baroness Jenny Jones in the Greenest Peer category and Simon Clarke MP as Greenest MP and had the Palace of Westminster’s Terrace Pavilion at full capacity. The second annual ceremony featured an incredible audience, including over 40 MPs from across all major political parties, sport and business leaders, well known TV personalities, and inspirational community members. It was presented by TV and radio presenter Clive Anderson.

The annual Green Heart Hero Awards are coordinated by The Climate Coalition, a group of more than 130 organisations – including the Women’s Institute, CAFOD, National Trust, WWF and the RSPB – who together represent over 15 million people nationwide.

The ceremony followed the fifth year of the hugely successful Show The Love campaign and showcased the diversity, passion and innovation of individuals, businesses and organisations taking action on climate change.  

Clive Anderson said: “The Green Heart Hero Awards are the finale to a month-long celebration of the things we love that could be lost forever to climate change.

“The Show the Love campaign has been turning hearts green for Valentine's Day for the last five years and this year's campaign has reached more hearts than ever before.”

The Climate Coalition is holding events throughout the year for people to get involved with, including a climate and environment mass lobby of parliament on the 26 June.
Find out more at theclimatecoalition.org

Main photo: Genevieve Lomax receives the award from Barry Gardiner MP

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