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Human Development &
Capability Association

Agency, Well-Being and Justice

UCL Grand Challenges Prize winners – 2019

University College London (UCL) established a prize for the 2019 HDCA conference to encourage work that takes forward the conference theme of connecting capabilities through partnerships between academics and practitioners. At the conference closing ceremony, two prizes were awarded to projects that demonstrate meaningful engagement between academics and practitioners in using the capability approach and reflecting on the conference theme of connecting capabilities.

The prize committee was coordinated by Nina Quach (UCL), along with Dr Jasmine Gideon (Birkbeck), Dr Jonathan Gross (King’s College London) and Dr Tom Pegram (UCL).


Dr. Eli Wortmann-Kolundžija (Justus-Liebig University, Germany)

Project title: Current and Potential Contribution of Farmer Organizations (FO) to Farmer Empowerment and Sustainable Agricultural Development
Description: This project addresses the issue of reducing, malnutrition and poverty, by empowering farmers through farmer organisations to better deal with local limitations. Dr Wortmann-Kolundzija is collaborating with colleagues in Germany, Kenya, and Burkina Faso, and we hope that the prize will contribute to their efforts in making the materials available in several languages.
Comments from the jury: This project is a most innovative application of the capabilities approach and has a strong potential for creating meaningful impact.


Prof Diana Velasco (Universidad de Ibagué, Columbia) & Prof Alejandra Boni (CSIC-Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain)

Project title: Enabling transformation in universities: a comprehensive capability-friendly policy for the Colombian Universidad de Ibagué
Description: This projects aims at reshaping the university’s policy around the values of human development, equity, sustainability, and wellbeing, through a participatory process involving the entire university community.
Comments from the jury: We particularly appreciated the proposal’s approach to the “connecting” aspect of the theme Connecting Capabilities. It is also extremely relevant to several strands of our Grand Challenges programme, including Human Wellbeing and Justice & Equality.

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