USAID Partner Receives International Recognition for Combating Climate Change and Reducing Disaster Risks

ACHM named the winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

For Immediate Release

Thursday, July 8, 2010
USAID Zimbabwe

Harare, July 8, 2010 – Long-term USAID partner the Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM), based in Matabeleland North Province, was last month named the winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge for devising progressive land management techniques to combat climate change.

ACHM’s Operation Hope program received US$100,000 to further develop its work at a conferring ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on June 2. Through Operation Hope, ACHM and its U.S. sister organization, the Savory Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have pioneered a successful approach to management that recognizes that culture, land, livestock, and economy are indivisible.

Operation Hope demonstrated to Buckminster Fuller Institute judges that practicing what is known as holistic management, and increasing (rather than decreasing) livestock numbers can restore degraded grasslands in Zimbabwe to higher productivity and health and improve water retention and flow in streams, even during dry years. The approach contradicts accepted practice and theories of resting land from animal grazing. Instead, the approach re-establishes the symbiotic balance between plant growth, soil building, water retention, and the behavior of herding animals. In so doing, the program helps reduce the risk of disaster for vulnerable Zimbabwean populations by strengthening food security, improving water supplies, and mitigating drought.

USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Karen Freeman congratulated ACHM and noted that “sustainable methods of reversing desertification and combating climate change are USAID priorities, as is strong community involvement in development. Our partnership with ACHM and the Savory Institute combines the two and confirms the validity of a holistic approach. We are thrilled that the Buckminster Fuller Challenge exists to recognize and support such important initiatives," said Freeman.

Since 2005, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) has provided more than $1.1 million to support ACHM’s Operation Hope program, which restores degraded land to thriving grasslands rich in biodiversity, brings water sources back to life, helps mitigate the effects of global climate change, and increases crop yields to enhance food security.

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge recognizes initiatives that take a comprehensive, anticipatory, design approach to radically advance human wellbeing and the health of the planet's ecosystems. The Challenge is sponsored by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, which is accelerating the development and deployment of whole-system solutions that demonstrate the potential to solve some of the world's most significant challenges.