Philippine entry wins top prize in BBC's World Challenge 2010

One year after Efren Penaflorida won as CNN Hero of the Year, the Philippines again wins a global tilt for great, changemaking ideas when  Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI), an organization based in Bacolod City, bagged the top prize in BBC’s World Challenge 2010.

According to its website, World Challenge “is a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grassroots level.” Now on its sixth year, it is organized and supported by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.

“[This global competition] is about championing and rewarding projects and businesses which really make a difference,” the World Challenge website further said.

AIDFI bested11 other entries from Denmark, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia. Their project entries ranged from a coral park run entirely on solar power and water heating; a student-founded “solar energy kiosk” powering a remote African village; an online portal that connects African entrepreneurs with funding from donors and investors from around the world; and a number of others.

According to the official project description for AIDFI’s World Challenge entry:

AIDFI ram pump - BBC World Challenge 2010
The hydraulic ram pump of AIDFI | Image from BBC World Challenge website

It’s baffling how some inventions fail to achieve a tipping point. The hydraulic ram pump – which has been around for a couple of centuries. falls into this category. The Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI) is determined to see the ram pump finally come into its own. Using the power of a river’s flow to literally push water uphill without any other energy input, it’s proving to be a boon for poor villagers living in mountainous regions.

The ram pump can save both hours of back-breaking work carrying water and cash where expensive water pumps are replaced. AIDFI has introduced the ram pump to over 170 upland villages, and has plans to spread the benefits far and wide among poor communities.

*Learn more about the ram pump and how it works HERE.

According to AIDFI’s website, “The awards ceremony will be broadcast on the 4th of December 2010 on BBC World News and to be announced on the website on the same day and profiled in Newsweek magazine in the December 21 issue which will be on sale on 14th of December 2010.” The victory was announced ahead of time to Philippine viewers through the late-night news program Bandila, and supposedly confirmed by the BBC.

Bacolod NGO wins BBC World Challenge

Bacolod NGO wins BBC World Challenge
By Carla Gomez
Inquirer Visayas

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines—A Bacolod nongovernment organization has won the top prize at the BBC World Challenge 2010 for its perfected model of a hydraulic ram pump that has brought water to remote villages in the Philippines and other parts of the world.

The Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI) based in Barangay (village) Mansilingan, Bacolod City, won the top prize of $20,000, according to Hazel Stuart, a British national based in Bacolod City.

Stuart, who makes television documentaries, said in an email that she attended the awarding ceremonies held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Monday.

“Auke Idzenga of AIDFI won the whole thing out of 800 projects worldwide. It got down to 60, then 12, then the final three,” Stuart said.

The entry from Peru came in second and Guatemala was third place.

Idzenga, the AIDFI chief executive officer, was in Amsterdam and has yet to issue a statement on AIDFI’s BBC World Challenge victory.

According to the BBC World Challenge website (, the awards ceremonies will be broadcast on December 4 on the BBC World News and announced on the website on the same day.

Now on its sixth year, the BBC World Challenge is a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at grassroots level.

On November 18, AIDFI’s entry “Running Water Uphill” also won the Community Initiative Award of the Energy Institute Awards held in London.

The AIDFI program centers around the locally perfected model of the old hydraulic ram pump, a device that can pump water to very high elevations without the use of electricity or fuel.

AIDFI has so far installed 170 ram pumps for about 50,000 beneficiaries, Idzenga said earlier.