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Masungi Georeserve wins the global Water Changemakers Award

The Global Water Partnership lauded a new generation of Filipino conservationists fighting for healthy watersheds.

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In an unprecedented year, many conservation efforts around the world have had to take a backseat. But the continued work of the Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal, has not gone unnoticed: the team has just received the inaugural Water Changemakers Award 2021.

Presented by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the Austrian Development Agency, the Water Changemakers Award is given to teams and organizations whose conservation work shapes water decisions that build climate resilience in their respective localities.

The Masungi Georeserve Foundation was chosen out of 350 nominations worldwide, lauded for its efforts to protect the Upper Marikina Watershed from quarrying, land trafficking, and other large-scale threats. Their win was announced at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021, which is headlined by leaders such as Bill Gates, Pope Francis, Ban Ki Moon, and Angela Merkel.

A protected property in Baras, Rizal, the Masungi Georeserve has been an active player in local conservation and ecotourism for over 20 years. To date, they’ve rescued over 1,000 hectares of land for reforestation and established 12km of trails for conservation monitoring.

This also isn’t the first international accolade they’ve received: the private conservation project has been awarded an Exploration Grant from the National Geographic Society and honors from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), among others. Project Manager Ann Dumaliang was also shortlisted for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)’s Young Champions of the Earth Prize in 2020.

Masungi Georeserve conservation efforts to save the Upper Marikina Watershed
Photos courtesy of the Masungi Georeserve Foundation.

"It is heartening to see the youthful idealism, hard work, and unwavering bravery of our team recognized especially through a most challenging time,” said Ann.

“We continue to urge our leaders to make the right decisions for the Filipino people. We also continue to engage and dialogue with different sectors, governments, local communities, and indigenous groups to join this movement and make a stand.”

Visit their website or @masungigeoreserve on Instagram to learn more about the project. You can also from Masungi Georeserve’s own Ann and Billie Dumaliang on The GRID Magazine Podcast here.

Rock formations as seen from Masungi Georeserve