Geotourism Challenge 2010: Places on the Edge - Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations

Geotourism Challenge 2010

Places on the Edge - Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations

Competition Information

Competition News

Winners Announced! The three winners will each receive a prize of USD $5,000:

You may continue to read and comment on all entries. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Winners of additional prizes:

The winners of the prize are Hacienda Tranquila from the Galapagos, Privately Managed Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area - Reef Guardian from Malaysia, and Alma Natura ecologia mistica y aventura - Donde nacen los ríos from Argentina.

The winners of the Premio Carbonocero from Fundación Plan21 are Promoting ecotourism and sustainable agriculture in communities surrounding La laguna de apoyo from Nicaragua, Plan de ordenamiento de la comunidad de Añangu from Ecuador, and Creating a Sustainable World - International Education Program from the Dominican Republic.

The joint prize from StepUp Travel, MatadorU, Xola Consulting and the Adventure Travel Trade Association is awarded to Blue Ventures from Madagascar.

Congrats to all of them!

Entries from Latin America and the Caribbean had the opportunity to apply for up to US $5 million of co-financing from the IADB and Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).

Learn more about the 10 initiatives selected by IADB/MIF that will receive co-financing (up to 50%), once they have gone through the institutional and technical analysis required for the MIF's final approval.

Welcome Letter

Dear Changemakers Community,

If you live by a large body of water or waterway, or have visited shoreline destinations, you have experienced the beauty and fragility of these places. Coastal, shoreline, and freshwater destinations are fruitful oases—breathtaking places that feed, calm, entertain, and inspire us. But they are under intense development pressure from mass tourism that obliterates the environment and character of a destination. Because entire ecosystems and food chains depend on healthy, vibrant coasts and shorelines, it’s up to us to keep these precious destinations intact.

Ashoka’s Changemakers, National Geographic, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) are hosting the Geotourism Challenge 2010: Places on the Edge: Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations competition to find innovative solutions for coastal, waterway, and island destinations that protect the environment and strengthen the heritage and livelihoods of local residents. We’re looking for sustainable models from organizations of all sizes, individuals, and global corporations that enhance—rather than degrade—the unique character and beauty of oceans, rivers, bays, lakes, estuaries, and waterways, and the culture and heritage of their inhabitants. We welcome creative applications of technology, cultural and business practices, science, policies, and social organization.

The top three entries will win US $5,000 each. The best two entries submitted by 6pm EST, October 20, 2010 will be eligible to each win US $500. Through Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Opportunity 2010, the IADB and MIF will provide up to US $5 million of co-financing for competition entries that provide innovative ideas for sustainable destination management by micro to medium companies in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region.

Shorelines are under tremendous development pressure from tourism and growing populations. Miles of pristine shorelines in places like Mozambique, Maldives, Brazil, and Peru are in jeopardy. Unsustainable development and the effects of global warming are threatening onshore and marine wildlife habitats including estuaries and sea grasses, the mangrove forests on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Central America, and coral reefs in the Caribbean. Development pressure puts entire food chains at risk while undermining the livelihoods and heritage of local residents.

How can we develop coastal, waterway, and island destinations without destroying the land, the water, or the lifestyles of the local people by creatively mobilizing resources including technology and other tools? What does the ocean provide for you, and what are you doing to give back? What are the sustainable business models for the world’s coasts and shorelines that respect the values of geotourism—“tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture and the well-being of its residents?"

Submit your innovative ideas that:

  • engage and educate tourists and local residents
  • prevent or curb pollution and waste
  • protect wildlife, coral reefs, and fisheries
  • promote construction of innovative sustainable structures that withstand natural disasters like hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis

Join us in this global competition to protect the unique beauty, culture, and character of the world’s threatened coastal, shoreline, and freshwater destinations.

-The Changemakers team

Competition Guidelines & Criteria

The Places on the Edge: Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations competition is open to all types of individuals and organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:

  • Reflect the theme of the challenge: Places on the Edge: Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations. The scope of the competition is to identify innovative solutions that will allow coastal, waterway, and island destinations to protect the environment and strengthen the heritage and livelihoods of local residents. Entries are invited from organizations and individuals in all countries.
  • Indicate growth beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated impact and sustainability. While we support new ideas at every stage and encourage their entry, the judges are better able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual stage and have demonstrated a proof of impact.
  • Are submitted in English, Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

Please complete the entire entry form and submit by December 1, 2010, 5PM US EST. All decisions of the judges will be final.

Assessment Criteria

The winners of this Changemakers Collaborative Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: This is the knock-out test; if the work is not innovative the judges will not give it high rankings. The application must describe the systemic innovation that it is focused on. The innovation should be a unique model of change demonstrating a substantial difference from other initiatives in the field with the possibility for large-scale expansion.
  • Social Impact: It is important that the innovative idea provides a system-changing solution for the field it addresses. Some innovations will have proven success at a small level, while others will have potential to grow, engaging millions of people. Still others will achieve their impact quickly, while some will seed change for the long term. Regardless of the level of demonstrated impact, it is important to see that the innovation has the ability to be applied in other countries. This will be judged by considering the scale strategy, ability to be replicated, clear how-tos, and the entrant's ability to formulate a clear "road map" to reaching larger goals.
  • Sustainability: For an innovation to be truly effective it must have a plan for how it will acquire financial and other bases of support for the long-term. Entries should describe not only how they are currently financing their work, but also how they plan to finance their work in the future. The most successful entrants go beyond discussing whether or not they will charge for services and describe a business plan. They should also demonstrate that they have strong partnerships and support networks to address an ongoing need, and to aid in scalability and the maintenance of a clear financial strategy.

Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules

Online competition submissions are accepted until December 1, 2010 at 5PM US EST. At any time before this deadline, competition participants are encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the Changemakers discussion. Participation in the discussion enhances an entrant's prospects in the competition and provides the community and the judges an opportunity to understand the entrant's project more completely.

There are four main phases in the competition:

  • Entry Stage, September 8 - December 1, 2010: Entries can be submitted until 5PM US EST on December 1st, 2010, and throughout this stage anyone can participate in an online review discussion with the entrants.
  • Online Review and Judging, December 2 - January 12, 2011: Online review and discussion continues. Simultaneously, a panel of expert judges and a team of Ashoka staff select the competition finalists.
  • Voting, January 19 - February, 2, 2011: The Changemakers community votes online to select the award-winners from the field of finalists.
  • Global and Regional Winners Announced - February 9, 2011


Early Entry Prize: The best two entries submitted by 6pm EST, October 20, 2010 will be eligible to win US$500. Being an Early Entry Prize winner does not preclude you from winning the competition in any way, or guarantee finalist status. All entries will be equally evaluated per the Changemakers criteria at the completion of the entry period.

Finalist: A panel of independent judges will select between 10 and 15 finalists from all of the entries submitted in the competition. All entries will be evaluated pursuant to the criteria as stated above. From among these 10-15 finalists, the Changemakers' online community will vote for 3 winners. In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken by a vote of the independent judges. Any person may sign into and register with Changemakers at: to vote.

The top three entries will win USD $5,000 each.

Winners will be announced on February 9, 2011.

Participation in the challenge provides the opportunity to receive feedback from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff, judges, and the Changemakers community. Showcasing initiatives and demonstrating social impact advise potential investors about how best to maximize the strategic impact of their investments.

Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Opportunity 2010 for Latin America and the Caribbean Region

Through the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Opportunity 2010, the Inter-American Development Bank and MIF will provide up to US $5 million of co-financing for competition entries that provide innovative ideas for sustainable destination management by micro to medium companies in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region. Apply for this co-financing for your project by submitting an entry to the Geotourism Challenge 2010: Places on the Edge- Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations competition. Read the guidelines for applying for this MIF Opportunity 2010 co-financing.

The Much Better Adventures Prize

Much Better Adventures will select three winners from all of the Geotourism Challenge 2010 entrants to receive a free, lifetime, upgraded level of membership to, as well as access to services and mentoring to build and improve their adventure tourism product. Learn more about this opportunity and the criteria that will be used to select the prize winners.

Disclaimer - Compliance with Legal Restrictions

Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.

The IDB's Multilateral Investment Fund is offering up to US$5 million in co-financing for projects. To apply, enter this competition and click on the “MIF Opportunity" tab. See guidelines for details.

Judges Panel

Bruce Poon Tip

Founder, Planeterra Foundation & Gap Adventures

Dinu Bumbaru

Policy Director, Héritage Montréal

John Francis

Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration, National Geographic Society

Julia Marton-Lefèvre

Director General, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

Sylvia Earle

Explorer in Residence , National Geographic Society

Yves Lesenfants

Technical Advisor , MIF/IDB - Sustainable Tourism Cluster