UNEP’s 2020 Young Champions of the Earth Award

The United Nations Environment Programme recently named seven dynamic Environmentalists as its Young Champions of the Earth.

Prize winners

The following seven people won the UNEP 2020 Young Championships of the Earth Award

  • Nzambi Matee of Kenya. He is a material engineer and is receiving the award for producing low-cost construction materials from recycled plastic waste and sand.
  • Xiaoyuan Ren of China. He leads MyH20 organization that tests and records quality of groundwater in rural China. He is awarded with the prize for developing an application that will educate the communities in rural areas about the sources of clean water.
  • Vidyut Mohan of India. He is the co-founder of Takachar. He has built affordable and portable biomass upgrading equipment. It allows farmers to prevent open burning by converting crop to fuels, activated carbon and fertilizers.
  • Lefteris Arapakis of Greece. He founded Enaleia. It trains, empowers and incentivises local fishing community to collect plastic from sea. The collected plastic is recycled into fashion merchandise such as socks and swimsuits.
  • Niria Alicia Garcia of USA. Niria coordinated alongside community of indigenous activists to bring life to the historical journey of the Sacramento chinook salmon along the largest water shed of California.
  • Fatehmah Alzelzela of Kuwait. Fatehmah established Eco Star, a non-profit recycling initiative. It exchanges trees and plants for wastes from schools, homes and businesses in Kuwait. The company has so far recycled 130 tonnes of metal, plastic and paper.
  • Max Hidalgo Quinto of Peru. Max founded Yawa. He built portable wind turbines that can harvest 300 litres fo water per day from atmospheric humidity and mist. It uses air to water technology.


The Young Champions of the Earth prize is awarded every year to seven entrepreneurs under the age of thirty. These entrepreneurs should have bold ideas for sustainable environmental change. The winners of the award receive mentoring, seed funding, communications support to amplify their efforts.

The Young Champions award aims to inspire more young people to get closer to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26, that is to be held in Glasgow in November 2021) and the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (to be held in Kunming in May 2021).




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