The Centro de Educação Popular e Formação Social (CEPFS), BrazilFoundation grantee project in 2006 in the state of Paraíba, is among the five finalists for the Innovation in Sustainability Prize. Instituto Ethos de Empresas e Responsabilidade Social (Instituto Ethos) and USAID are giving out this award for the first time to recognize innovative and sustainable projects that improve quality of life.

The award evaluates methodologies, techniques, systems, equipment and processes that are economically viable, can be replicated, and minimize the negative impact of society on the environment.

CEPFS started in 1994 with the goal of developing, along with small farmers from the semi-arid region, social technologies adapted to their context. Today, over 900 families have benefited through the construction of cisterns to catch and treat rain water, which gives them access to drinking water.  The impact of this work includes more productivity among small farmers, through more adequate management of natural resources, better quality of life for their families, reduction and prevention of disease caused by the consumption of contaminated water.

“It is important to highlight that the main innovation CEPFS has achieved is in the way it works. We see technology not as an end, but as a means. Its use allows for families to become protagonists, consumers and also environmental managers. They recognize that the environment needs to be worked and used in a sustainable way,” says José Dias, Executive Coordinator, CEPFS.

The prize winner will be announced during the Sustainable Technologies Exhibit, which will take place at the same time as the Ethos International Conference, between 27th and 30th of May, 2008, in the Palácio de Convenções do Parque Anhembi in São Paulo.

The Sustainable Technologies Exhibit will bring information and knowledge about available sustainable technologies, promoting the development, production and wide use of these technologies.

Ricardo Young, president of Institute Ethos, explains “with this award, we want to highlight what sustainability really means, in the original sense of the term, which summarizes the idea of development as economic progress, social inclusion and environmental balance. Together, these three variables help build a just and more harmonious society, with opportunities to all and guarantees of a livable planet for future generations.”

For more information, please visit www.premiosustentabilidade.org.br.