GDI recognised at Making a Difference Awards


Colleagues and alumni were recognised in the Community Engagement and Environmental Sustainability categories.

The work of the Global Development Institutes researchers and alumni was recognised at The University of Manchester’s Making a Difference awards.

The ‘Ageing Well In Place’ project won the Outstanding Contribution to Local and Civic Engagement Award. Professor Diana Mitlin and Whitney Banyai-Becker are working with Sophie King and residents of Hopton Court, a tower block,  based near The University of Manchester. The project brings together tenants, their housing provider, the Manchester Local Care Organisation,  local voluntary and community sector organisations and two universities to co-produce solutions for elderly and vulnerable tower block tenants.  It aims to generate the evidence and impetus to have the flats classified as a ‘Naturally Occurring Retirement Community’, gaining additional support for older residents. 

The project stems from Diana’s longer-term support of the Community Saver’s initiative,  modelled on the Shack Dwellers International approach to community organising.

Sophie and Hopton Court organiser Tina Cribbin recently explored the project in an article on the GDI blog.

Our alumna Rita Robert Otu was also recognised at the awards, receiving a highly commended in the Environmental Sustainability category. Her project, ‘Musical Agriculture: A Song for Climate Change’,  seeks to address challenges such as deforestation,  climate change and environmental injustices,  by using music and food to initiate a variety of educational programs for key groups such as women and children.

Rita commented: “Our world is facing many challenges,  such as poverty,  hunger,  resource shortage,  environmental degradation,  climate change,  and increased inequalities and conflicts. To address such challenges,  The project Musical Agriculture (IWA-ANEM): A Song for Climate Change is directly related to five of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in helping to create a better world.  Through the catalytic power of music,  we confront environmental disaster and climate change.  Our project uses music and food to initiate a variety of education focusing on women and children on topics such as sustainable agriculture,  recycling,  food security,  Agroecology and environmental degradation.  On behalf of People Environment and Sustainability (PEAS) Foundation, we want to say a big thank you to the University of Manchester for highly commending our projects for the Making a Difference (MAD) Awards, 2022. We want to thank our Sponsors and Partners; IFOAM Organics International,  Semek Farms,  Beau Haven Farms,  Dr Unenobong Udoka (Paediatrician) and my other colleagues for their support towards the success of this project. A special thank you message to all the rural women farmers and children in Nigeria for their support and encouragement.  We are grateful. A fight for Climate Change is everyone’s responsibility. Act Now!!!”