Outstanding commitment - Stella Deetjen receives the environmental award Trophée de femmes
The Trophée de femmes awarded by the Fondation Yves Rocher honours and supports the work of women with outstanding commitment to environmental protection. At this year's ceremony on 22 February in Breton La Gacilly, Stella Deetjen won the first prize and received 10,000 € to support her projects. "I am very happy to receive this award, as it highlights Back to Life’s commitment to environmental protection, climate change, and resource conservation. Currently, we are able to save about 4.000 t CO2 per year through our projects. That feels significant and good. It is our responsibility and time is up against us – we need to protect our planet”, the Back to Life founder comments on the award. The jury explicitly considered the entire suite of Back to Life’s integrated projects initiated by Stella Deetjen to help protect natural resources and conserve habitats and ecosystems.
Through these initiatives, communities have seen the following results: Due to the installation of 2,421 energy-efficient, smoke-free stoves in the mountain region Mugu, the installation of 2,649 solar light home systems in Mugu and Chitwan, as well as the set-up of 57 biogas home systems in Chitwan, emissions of approximately 4,164t carbon dioxide per year can be saved. In addition, thanks to the energy-efficient stoves, the household consumption of firewood is decreasing up to 50% - also leading to reduced rates of deforestation. Moreover, families experience a significant reduction in respiratory illnesses due to 90% less air pollution inside their homes. By now, about 30% of the 10,000 households in remote and hard-to-access Mugu have been supplied with clean, off-grid energy by Back to Life.
Accompanying agricultural programmes, including the establishment of simple greenhouses and planting of fruit trees, also contribute to grow awareness and skills around organic agriculture amongst the rural communities. For the younger generation Back to Life supports various environmental activities in schools. This includes campaigns focussing on climate change and other environmental issues, greening of schoolyards, rubbish collection, and recycling.
"Thanks to Trophée de femmes, which is awarded in twelve countries, more than 400 women, who are passionate about making our Earth greener, have been recognised for their efforts over the last 16 years", said Claude Fromageot, Director of the Fondation Yves Rocher. Among 20 female candidates from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Cornelia Wieser from Vienna received the second prize for her commitment to the rivers in the Balkans and Elke Mannigel from Bonn was awarded the third prize for the protection of tropical forests and poverty reduction in Guatemala. "Even though we work in completely different countries, it is good to have an exchange. Suddenly, we were caught up in conversations that took us around the whole world. That was very interesting and each of us was able to gain from it", says Stella Deetjen.
Photo credit: Fondation Yves Rocher, Vincent Guihur