At the 6th Annual Classy Awards ceremony on June 16, PCI was recognized with a Classy Award for our Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management (SAPARM) initiative. 

“We are honored to have been selected as a winner of the Classy Awards,” said Chris Bessenecker of PCI. “But most importantly, Classy has given us a platform to give voice to the voiceless. Pastoral communities are in danger. They are some of the most vulnerable communities on this planet. So it is critical for us to raise awareness around issues of climate change and resource scarcity among the quarter billion pastoralists in Africa struggling to survive. We believe SAPARM could be a breakthrough innovation that can significantly improve the resiliency of these individuals. Thank you for recognizing our work.”

Chris Bessenecker Classy Awards

Chris Bessenecker, PCI’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, speaks at the Classy Collaborative in Boston.

Last October, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) awarded PCI $1.3 Million to expand SAPARM. Google.org also partnered on this initiative, providing $750,000 as part of its funding for innovators around the world who are using technology to combat humanity’s biggest challenges.

SAPARM works to garner technological innovation to create beneficial change in Ethiopia, where the present drought and climate change has resulted in nearly 400,000 children who are severely malnourished and 10.2 million people need emergency food assistance.

SAPARM Ethiopia

Drought and climate change impact the ability of pastoralists, a main source of food in Ethiopia, to find grazing land for their herds using only traditional methods like scouting and word of mouth. SAPARM puts satellite derived vegetation data directly into the hands of pastoralists to help them increase their accuracy in finding pastures. This cost-effective, continuous feed of information is designed to lead to decreased herd losses, greater economic stability and resiliency of pastoralist communities, as well as better land management.

WATCH Classy’s video on our SAPARM project that was displayed during the awards ceremony:

“The Classy Awards team spends a year extensively researching social innovations from around the world, and this year’s pool of nominees was one of the strongest we’ve ever seen,” said Pat Walsh, Co-Founder and CIO of Classy.org. “We were impressed by PCI’s use of technology to confront resource scarcity and malnourishment in Africa, and are happy to be celebrating their cutting-edge work today.”

We applaud the other nine incredible nonprofits who were also recognized with a Classy Award!


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