- The Ecolodge Awards - International Ecotourism Club

Other Years: 2004 | 2006
Background | Rules | Winning Project Details & Implementation: 1st Winner | 2nd Winner

2005 1st Winner: With the financial support of, Rainforest Retreat created an organic agriculture association in the village of Galibeedu, near Madikeri in Karnataka state, India.
The members of the Association: from left Muthupande, Shivanna, Ganapathy, Mutthana, and Vasu.


Fresh green tea leaves are being steamed

Organic beans grown by Muthupande, harvested by his wife, the powder visible on some of the leaves is wood ash to keep ants and other insects away.

Rice flowering (early Nov) in Shivana's field. The crop will be harvested in late December.


T R Vasudeva's Rice field

Making organic compost

Ganapathy's Tea field

Awards Background

Building on the successful implementation of the 2004 joint project with Ranweli Holiday Village, the Ecolodge Awards 2005 sought to fund and implement two Ecolodge projects, in line with the ECOCLUB Ecotourism Criteria and Philosophy.

The Awards opened on June 1, 2005 with a live presentation of the 9 candidate projects at our Live Chat Centre and closed on July 1, 2005, the 6th anniversary of ECOCLUB, with the announcement of the two winners:

1st Winner: Rainforest Retreat of Karnataka, India
Project: Establishment of an Association of local small Organic Growers in the nearby village, Galibeedu.

2nd Winner: 3 Rivers, Dominica
Project: Installation of a hydraulic ram pump system in the nearby village health centre

For full details on all the candidate projects please visit The Ecolodge Awards Forum
For the winning announcement click here

Transparency Pledge

Like last year, the project implementation was closely monitored, and details, including photos, was posted on-line at this page as soon as it is was made available to ECOCLUB. Ecolodge Awards 2005 Rules

Eligibility & Responsibilities: The 2005 Awards were only open to active ECOCLUB Ecolodge Members that were already Members on 1 March 2005. Past winners could not participate in this award and for the next three years after their win. Ecolodge Members could only submit projects that costed up to Euros 500 to fully implement while projects had to be implementable within 6 months. Winners agreed to inform ECOCLUB about project implementation progress each month and to send adequate photographic proof to enable us to document progress online at this page,

Prize: The Awards are exclusively funded by our Members, with the prize money being a percentage of Membership fees. The prize money in 2005 grew 50% to Euros 750 (approx USD 1,000). There was a first prize of Euros 500, and a second prize of Euros 250. Half of the prize money was to be awarded on July 15, and half upon completion of the project. In the end, the second prize was paid for practical reasons in advance in a single instalment, while the first prize was paid in two instalments, with the final instalment paid a month before completion so as not to delay the project.

Deciding the Winners: The winners were determined by email vote by our Members. Candidates were not allowed to vote. Each Member named their favourite project for 1st prize and 2nd prize. 1st prize votes counted for 1 vote while 2nd prize votes for half a vote. The Ecolodge project with the highest number of total votes, won 1st prize. and the second, won 2nd prize. Voting opened on June 1 and closed on June 30.

Award Timeline: 

15 March 2005: ECOCLUB sent a Project Proposal form to all ECOCLUB Ecolodge Members on March 15, 2005. Interested Ecolodge Members returned the completed project proposal forms by 15 May 2005.

30 May 2005: Projects posted and announced on-line.

1 June 2005: The Awards kicked off with a Live Presentation of the candidates at the Live Chat Centre, on June 1, at 15:00 GMT. From June 1, and until 30 June 2005, projects were discussed at a dedicated Ecolodge Award Forum at the Community. On the 1st of July 2005, the 6th anniversary of ECOCLUB, the winner was announced at an on-line live Event at the Live Chat Centre.

1 July 2005: Winners Announced at special 6th ECOCLUB Anniversary on-line Meeting.

15 July 2005: Euros 250 paid by ECOCLUB to 3 Rivers Lodge, Dominica, representing the full amount for the 2nd Prize, to cover half the costs of the 3 Rivers Project.

19 July 2005
: Euros 250 paid by ECOCLUB to Rainforest Retreat, India, representing the first instalment of the 1st Prize.

16 November 2005: Euros 250 paid by ECOCLUB to Rainforest Retreat, representing the final instalment of the 1st Prize.


1st Winner  - Project & Progress Details:

1st Winner: Rainforest Retreat of Karnataka, India - Original Proposal

Project: Establishment of an Association of local small Organic Growers in the nearby village, Galibeedu.

Project Description: The last couple of years have seen a substantial increase in tourism to Kodagu district in Southern India but very little of it is sustainable. Nor does it bring benefits to the local village communities whose economies are essentially agriculture dependant. We have been developing and practicing and promoting organic farming practices for the local crops of this area for the past 10 years and are now in a position to help convert the local farmers to sustainable practices and help them market organically grown produce.

One of the best target group of clients for this organic produce are the many domestic and international tourists now visiting this area. All of our guests are happy to buy organic spices and coffee etc from us. in the long term, we envision a small shop in our local Galibeedu village (run by a cooperative or association) that would sell locally grown organic produce. First we need to encourage some of the small stakeholders to convert to organic farming practices. For this week we propose to set up a cooperative or association made up of the local small growers and create a small fund to subsidize the purchase of raw materials (manure, EM (effective microorganisms) solution, rice bran, neem oil, etc.) necessary for organic farming practices. We will provide advice and help train someone to monitor the farms etc. and finally help them realize a better price for their produce.

Total Project Budget: EUROS 500 (Rs 27,500)

Project Budget Breakdown: Rs 7500 will be used to establish and register a formal association (3-5 families anticipated to join initially - they will be the models for the rest of the village) the balance of Rs 20,000 will be deposited with an account in the name of association and used by the association to purchase EM (effective Microorganism) solution and other materials and we will provide training how to use this EM solution for Organic cultivation

Project Completion Schedule: The project can be initiated in July and by September (end of monsoon) the association established and registered. By September we will start with educating interested persons on making compost, and dealing with pests without resorting to pesticides. By December / January some of the 1st rice harvest will be available (as well as coffee and cardamom, etc) and it can be marketed to some of the tourists visiting this area. This is a long term project but some results will be evident by 6 months time.

Lodge Details:


9 July 2005: Rainforest Retreat Reports: "A draft Memorandum of Association has been prepared, and provides the name of the founding members of the Association. The draft will be taken to an advocate to be converted to 'legalese', put on a stamp paper and have it registered or attested etc. A copy of both documents would be sent to ECOCLUB within the coming weeks. The 1st meeting with the future members of the association took place on the 8th of July, and all are enthusiastic."

11 August 2005: Rainforest Retreat Reports: "Unprecedented rains and damage in Madikeri, which has come to standstill for 2 weeks due to the heavy monsoon. One of the new associations founding members (Mr Vasudeva) had his paddy crop completely destroyed, and he will have to replant next week. A report of what will be purchased with the funds and how the materials will be used and distributed, would be sent to ECOCLUB as soon as possible."

1 September 2005: A copy containing the details of the Deed of Partnership for the Organic Association was sent by post to ECOCLUB. More details and pictures are also expected shortly.

9 September 2005: Rainforest Retreat Reports:

"The Galibeedu Organic Association has been formed. The rice planting was undertaken in July and is expected to be ready by the end of December. Other crops are tea (ready for picking and processing), coffee and vegetables. We have made a demonstration to prepare EM (effective microorganisms) and use it to make compost and directly treat the plants for more robust health. Other methods such as the use of cow urine and botanical pest repellants have been discussed and will be implemented. We will now collectively purchase and distribute the raw materials required for preparation of various composts and crop protection agents.

Below is a list of Association Members and details of their organic produce so far:

Ganapathy, age 45 yrs, small holding near Galibeedu village.
He has approx ½ acre of mature tea he has not put any chemical fertilizers for the past 2 yrs. We will introduce organic manures and initiate foliar sprays with EM (effective microorganisms) based solutions. The next crop of tea that is harvested (within the next 2 weeks) will be processed into green tea with our guidance and we will also help to package (we propose to print labels in the name of the association and sell directly to the tourists visiting this area.

T R Vasudeva, age 40 yrs, small 3 acre rice holding in Galibeedu village.
He has prepared his field with organic manure and planted paddy in July. There was a lot of erosion during this monsoon and some had to be replanted in August. The field is looking ok and we will advise him to prepare some organic manure and also some EM based sprays as well as a spray with plant extracts that have insect repellent properties. His rice will be purchased by golden mist plantation and possibly exported. Some will be purchased by the Rainforest Retreat to serve to guests.

Shivanna, age 36 yrs, small joint family holding near Rainforest Retreat.
He has not used any chemical fertilizers or pesticides for the past 3 yrs and has 1 acre of paddy and 6 acres of coffee and pepper. The rice is for home consumption and we will apply the same techniques as with Vasudeva to help ensure a good and healthy harvest. The coffee and pepper (harvest Jan / Feb) can be sold for a premium as organic thru some of our contacts.

C K Ponnappa (Muthanna) age 46, large unmaintained ancestral holding 
of which a small part is actively cultivated. He will grow vegetables and fruit in about 2 acres, most of which will be purchased by the Rainforest Retreat and some will be available for sale to clients. Vegetable cultivation will begin by Sept 15 as it is still raining and some areas are flooded.

P Muthupande, age 32 yrs, supervisor for Mojo Plantations (Rainforest Retreat) 
has been given ½ acre land to cultivate vegetables that will be purchased by the rainforest retreat. He is knowledgeable with our methods so he will also be responsible for demonstration of the various methods of organic cultivation developed here and supervise and check the work on the other plantations.

1 November 2005: Rainforest Retreat Reports: "The partnership deed for the association was finalised, the names and missing info was filled in and all members have signed. Rainforest Retreat had to do the organising, the purchases and arrange delivery of materials to the Association. The purchases with cash and all the accounts are being kept." Detailed report published in the November 2005 issue of ECOCLUB

16 November 2005: As the project nears completion, the final instalment of Euros 250 paid by ECOCLUB to Rainforest Retreat.

1 December 2005: Rainforest Retreat Reports: "The vegetables are finally growing but we've had some strange weather. Tamil Nadu was flooded last week and another cyclone is expected to hit this weekend."

13 December 2005: Rainforest Retreat Reports: "One of our Members (Vasu) has been suffering from a flairup of malaria and another has gone out for a week.

21 December 2005: Rainforest Retreat Reports: "The tea is being packaged, organic vegetables have begun, and the rice harvest will begin in a couple of days. Now we will begin packaging and marketing. Initially we at Rainforest Retreat are doing the packaging and marketing and helping with the processing. Hopefully the Association can become independent and supply ready-packaged products but that will take more time. Our idea is to take a percentage of the final sale price of each packaged product and put it back into the account of the Association so that it also has some income to sustain itself."

26 January 2005: With the project completed, Dr Anurag Goel, proprietor of Rainforest Retreat and Coordinator of the Project, presents his experience from the implementation of the project and future plans at an online Member Meeting.

2nd Winner  - Project & Progress Details:

2nd Winner: 3 Rivers, Dominica - ORIGINAL PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Original Project: Installation of a hydraulic ram pump system in the nearby village health centre. (Actual: Installation of a hydraulic ramp pump at the organic farm of a Drug Rehabilitation Centre)

Project Description: The Sustainable Living Initiative Centre (SLIC), Dominica, was officially launched on 27th February, 2005. The Sustainable Living Initiative has been established to promote awareness of environmental issues and specifically to promote the use of simple technology to minimize negative impact on the environment and conserve natural resources in Dominica. To this end we are running a training programme where both students and villagers can experience sustainable living first hand and acquire skills to adopt environmentally responsible lifestyles. We would like to install a hydraulic ram pump system in the village health centre, which will then provide a regular water supply for the medical facilities in the village. At present water is not in regular supply at the centre. As well as providing a constant water supply for the health centre, the aim would be to hold a workshop on hydraulic ram pumping at the health centre during installation, thus training other locals in the use of hydraulic ram pumping and its environmental benefits. The graduates of the workshop will then be encouraged to hold similar workshops in their own villages. We already have a small amount of funding to help graduates buy the necessary equipment if they successfully complete the course.

Total Project Budget: EUROS 490

Project Budget Breakdown: Ram pump EURO 295 Shipping EURO 75 Pipework EURO 120

Original Project Completion Schedule: one day workshop to be held within 2 months of winner announcement.

Lodge Details:


21 July 2005: 3 Rivers Reports: "We have ordered the pump and it should arrive within 2 weeks."

28 July 2005: 3 Rivers Reports: "The new Ram Pump has arrived in Dominica. A meeting was planned for Monday 1 August, later postponed to 6 August. Notices have been up in the village this week advising people of the meeting, and the village councilors have been telling people about it. 20 people are expected to attend the final installation workshop."

6 August 2005: 3 Rivers Reports: "A preliminary meeting was held at the village health centre, with representatives from the village council, to discuss the installation of the Ram Pump in the village health centre. Concerns were voiced about the future maintenance of the equipment. It was explained to the meeting that the idea was to hold a workshop during installation, so that the members of the community would be equipped with the knowledge to maintain the system. The village council said it would seek a volunteer to take responsibility for the ram pump's upkeep. It was agreed that the following Saturday, the 13th, a demonstration of how the system works would be held, and hopefully a few people would become interested in accepting maintenance responsibility. Meanwhile the village council will ascertain the best day for the main installation workshop."

13 August 2005: 3 Rivers Reports: "A demonstration of how a Ram Pump works was held in the river adjacent to the health Centre. A good wet time was had by all. The system was screwed together temporarily, and by the end of the day, water was flowing from the end of the pipe. A date for the main installation workshop will be set shortly, and at that time, a concrete intake will be built in the river, and protection for the pipes will be set in place, as the river is prone to occasional flooding and therefore the equipment needs protecting."

13 August: Ram Pump demonstration

16 September 2005: 3 Rivers Reports: "The date for the installation workshop is still not set. There have been a few delays due to other activities in the local villages, but we have a meeting with the council on Tuesday to finalize a date, which should be within the next month or so."

28 September 2005: 3 Rivers Reports: "The workshop has been officially planned for the end of October, but we are hoping this will move forward. SLIC, the sustainable living initiative, has some new blood. We now have a volunteer helping out with the project, and she is going to visit the villages more frequently than we were able to do, and try and get people really enthusiastic, and trained up at the same time. Her first test project is going to be working on the ram pump."

31 October 2005: 3 River Reports: "I had to leave for China on the 26th of October, to attend the IH & RA international Congress in Beijing, where we were the recipient of the 2nd prize in their environmental award. After this I have to go to London for the WTM. We will be back in Dominica on 21 November. My new assistant is working with the village council to hopefully implement the last stages and complete the project before I return ".

21 December 2005: 3 River Reports: "We have been having some bureaucratic problems here. The nurse at the health centre was really enthusiastic and said we could go ahead with the ram pump. However, the hierarchy of the health service here is not so straightforward as we had been led to believe. We are waiting for permission from the ministry of health to do the installation. Meanwhile, the new volunteer decided not to stay after all, so the extra help is no longer available. The idea has, however, developed in the meantime. One of the authorities concerns, was the maintenance of the system. Just above the health centre is a store and an old lady who has no water supply; currently she carries water from the river and is finding it difficult. What we have proposed to the health authorities is that we supply the old lady and the store, as well as the health centre, and the owner of the store has agreed to be responsible for the maintenance of the system. We held a meeting in October to teach people how the system works, and they do now understand how simple it is. However, we cannot go ahead and install it until we have received the relevant permissions, which should be forthcoming in the New Year."

12 January 2006: As the bureaucratic obstacles could not be overcome, 3 Rivers were asked to come up with an alternative proposal, so that the ram pump would not be wasted. Mr Jem Winston, proprietor of 3 Rivers and Coordinator of the project, came up with a brilliant alternative: the ram pump would be installed at the organic farm of a Drug Rehabilitation Centre!

Details as follows (as provided by 3 Rivers):

Dominicans Against Drugs ( DAD) is a dynamic community youth organisation in the Senhouse area of Castle Bruce. With some twenty young people and several adult helpers, this organisation has been in existence for six years. Having started as a church children's club, it will soon register as an NGO. DAD has developed a number of programmes serving the community, these programmes include:

DASH (DAD's After School Help) assisted by the Ministry of Education and the Drug Prevention Unit, The Feeding Programme for fifty children three times a week, this is funded by an International NGO, the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Services, specialising in emergency communications, they are also supporting DAD as it seeks to establish an amateur radio base to enhance the clubs function as a shelter during hurricanes. An Agricultural Training Programme for young unemployed people in danger of using illicit drugs will commence, this is supported by the British High Commission.

Locally DAD is working in collaboration with Lifeline Ministries, a registered NGO which acts as fiscal partner and provides, administration and evaluation and monitoring services.

DAD needs water from the river for both the greenhouse and rabbitry which are being used for the agricultural training programme. The water will also fill a tank by the house to provide a supply for the feeding programme and an emergency supply for the community members in times of emergency when the water supply sometimes blocks.

3 Rivers proposed, and they have already agreed that they would dearly like the ram pump to irrigate their training farm, and supply the building which they use for their studies with water. Mr Jem Winston carried out a site inspection and the location is ideal for the pump.

26 January 2006: Mr Jem Winston, proprietor of 3 Rivers and Coordinator of the Project, presents his experience from the progress of the project and the problems encountered, at an online Member Meeting.

15 February 2006Mr Jem Winston, proprietor of 3 Rivers Ecolodge and Coordinator of this Project, reports that the second prize winning project has been successfully completed!

"On February 11th, as planned we ran the ram pump installation workshop at the Dominica’s against drugs building in Castle Bruce. The workshop was a tremendous success. It was attended by the office helper for Dominicans Against Drugs (DADS), the maintenance man for the property and a handful of local members and helpers, as well as a student from Vermont University who is here on a studies abroad programme. The students were first taught how the pump works in theory in the classroom.

Then the group went in the river and learnt how to measure the head and flow rate of the river, which is essential for determining whether the pump can work, and how far / high it can pump the water. In general, the class were told that such a pump can, in general, pump water about 5 times higher than the head of the feeder to the pump. After this, a suitable position was found in the river for setting the catchments area, and then a feeder pipe was run down the river to the place where the pump was to be installed. After running a couple of tests to ensure everything was functioning correctly, the pump itself was installed, sending water up the hill to the position of the water storage tank.

The idea is that the pump will be used to fill the tank, which can then serve as a supply for both the green house and the rabbit house, as well as serving as a back up supply for the main building. The students finished the day having gained not only a good understanding of the ram pump, but also having learnt how to measure the river for both ram pumps, and the same routine is used for measuring rivers with a view to hydro installations. The man responsible for maintaining all the equipment for DADS was there, and was taught in extra detail how to monitor and check the pump, so that if a fault does occur, he is able to fix it quickly.

As well as being very educational, a good time was had by all, and by the end of the day, the water was flowing. The staff at 3 Rivers, and the members of DADS wish to say a huge thank you to the ECOCLUB and all of its Members."


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