The 2021 winner of the Rafael Gallo Palomo Award “Safeguarding the Future of Our Rivers,” given by the Costa Rica National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds, is the Los Santos Rural Electrification Cooperative (Coopesantos) for their program to protect water resources.
Honorable Mentions for the award include the National Strategy for the Recovery of Urban Watersheds 2020-2030, Clean Rivers from the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), and the Fundación Rutas Naturbanas (“Naturbanas Routes Foundation”).
The awards ceremony was held on September 27 at the National University in Heredia. Most of the 10 participants in this year’s competition, along with sponsors and officials from the Costa Rica National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds, attended the event. Roberto Gallo, Rafael Gallo’s son and co-director of the Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA), Victor Gallo, Rafael’s brother, and RAFA co-director Shannon Farley also attended.
Roberto Gallo, together with National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds Director Roberto de la Ossa, and Awards Jury President María del Rosario Alfaro González, handed out the award and certificates to the participants.
The Rafael Gallo Palomo Award is given every two years. Winners receive a beautiful hand-carved statue made by the sculptor Mario Parra Brenes, winner of the National Prize for Culture “Aquileo J. Echeverría.”
The 2021 Award was co-sponsored by eight national organizations linked to the defense and protection of the environment: Foundation for Peace and Democracy (FUNPADEM), Central American Institute of Public Administration (ICAP), Interdisciplinary Program for Research and Water Management of the National University (PRIGA), Osa Conservation, La Salle University, Tirimbina Biological Reserve, ANAI Association, and Guardians of Nature.
The Costa Rica National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds is a volunteer-based citizen organization that actively works for the defense and sustainable care of water sources in Costa Rica with the purpose that “our rivers safely reach the sea.” The organization created a national award in 2018 to recognize and stimulate people, activities, projects, programs, organizations, and entities that defend and care for the water sources in Costa Rica. The first Rafael Gallo Palomo Award was given in 2019 to Río Urbano (“Urban River”).