Martha Farrell Award

Following last year’s inaugural award that received 125 nominations, the second Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment has been announced. Dr Martha Farrell was a passionate civil society leader, renowned and respected in India and around the world for her work on women’s rights, gender equality and adult education. She was killed in a terrorist attack on a guesthouse in Kabul, where she was leading a gender-training workshop with the Aga Khan Foundation.

The Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment has been instituted to honour Dr Farrell and her ideals. It is an initiative to discover, recognise and honour mid-career individuals and committed organisations for their valuable contributions in areas of work related to gender equality and women’s empowerment. These individuals and organisations can come from all sectors — government, business, industry or civil society.

The annual Award, jointly instituted by Rizwan Adatia Foundation (RAF) and Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), is given in two categories with a prize money of Rs 150,000 each: namely a) most promising individual (any gender) who has worked on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment consistently, and b) best organisation for gender equality, which has been consistently implementing practices to create gender-sensitive and secure workplaces.

In the inaugural edition, Rakhi Gope, a women’s rights activist from Falakata, West Bengal, was chosen as the ‘most promising individual’, while Majlis Legal Center from Mumbai was the ‘best organisation for gender equality’. The awardees were selected by a six-member jury, which included: a) Shabana Azmi, noted artist, actor and social activist; b) Kamla Bhasin, gender-equality activist, social scientist and author; c) Justice (retd) Ajit Prakash Shah, former Chief Justice of Delhi/Madras High Courts and chairperson of the Law Commission; d) Sushama Nath, India’s first woman finance secretary and currently member of the Finance Commission; e) Anuradha Das Mathur, founding dean of the Vedica Scholars Programme for Women and founder-director of 9.9 Media; and f) Anshul Tewari, founder and editor-in-chief of Youth Ki Awaaz (YKA).

Nominations for the second Martha Farrell Award will end on 30 November 2017. To know more about the award criteria, visit:

To apply, visit:

Global Change Award

The third round of the annual Global Change Award has opened for applications. Initiated by H&M Foundation, the award aims to protect our planet and living conditions by accelerating the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry. The five winners share a €1 million grant, along with a one-year innovation accelerator programme providing tailor-made support and access to the fashion industry.

Claimed to be the first such initiative in the fashion industry, the Global Change Award is primarily to recognise and facilitate early-stage innovation. Last year, more than 2,800 applications from 130 countries were submitted. Some of the winning innovations were leather made of wine-making leftovers, digital threads weaved into garments to ease the recycling processes, and climate-positive nylon made from water, plant waste and solar energy. It may be noted that neither H&M Foundation nor the H&M group take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations, as the aim is to influence the fashion industry as a whole.

‘Now in its third year, the Global Change Award has really become a positive force in the fashion industry. It has proven to be a true catalyst for the winners, giving them support and access to a valuable network so they can bring their innovations to the market quicker and better prepared. I’m really curious to see what disruptive innovations we will receive this time,’ Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB, said in an official release received by CauseBecause.

An expert panel selects the five winners and it’s then up to the public to distribute the €1million grant through an online vote. Besides sharing the grant, the winners are provided with a one-year Global Change Award Accelerator Program that will speed up the development of their innovations and maximise the impact on the industry.

‘Sustainable and responsible consumption is the way forward. We must find better ways to make what we use, and wisely use what we have. The Global Change Award is an important initiative to drive this forward. By intentionally and thoughtfully reusing, recycling, and repurposing, we can drive significant and radical improvements to our world,’ says Professor Edwin Keh, chief executive officer, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, and member of the expert panel.

To apply, visit