At the GDN today there were presentations by three finalists for the Japanese Award for ‘Most Innovative Development Project’ for 2009. The award is granted to the institution whose project “embodies a fresh approach to an important development need and holds great promise for benefiting the poor in developing and transition countries.”

Three three finalists this year are:

* Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB)
ANSAB is committed to biodiversity conservation and economic developement in Nepal through community-based enterprise oriented solutions, typically the development of non-timber forest products and markets.

Here’s a video interview with ANSAB’s Bhishma Prasad Subedi about their work in Nepal:

* The South African Social Investment Exchange (SASIX)
SASIX makes carefully selected social development projects in South Africa available as investment opportunities with a social return.

Here’s a video interview with Carol Tappenden:

* Colegio Virtual Iberoamericano
This no cost, totally online high school in Ecuador has around 1200 students in 42 communities, both rural and urban-marginal, and provides these youth with access to computers and a curriculum to complete their high school degree.

Each of the three are doing very interesting and innovative work – it was fun to hear their presentations and their answering the tough questions from the audience.