Activists from Nepal, Nigeria, and Brazil and an organization from Israel were named the winners of this year's Right Livelihood Award, often called the "alternative Nobel," the Associated Press reports.
The award was launched in 1980 by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull to recognize work he felt was being ignored by the Nobel Prizes, which honor achievements in science, peace, literature, and economics. Splitting a €200,000 ($270,000) prize, this year's recipients include Nnimmo Bassey, chairman of Friends of the Earth International and director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria, who was honored for helping to reveal the ecological and human consequences of oil production as well as his efforts to strengthen the environmental movement in his home country and globally, and Catholic Bishop Erwin Kraeutler, who was recognized for his efforts to help save the Amazon rainforest from destruction and his support of the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil.
In addition, the nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights-Israel received the award for its work to bring health care to Palestinians who have been cut off from services, while Shrikrishna Upadhyay, the founder of Support Activities for Poor Producers of Nepal, was honored for his efforts to combatt poverty in Nepal.
"What is so special with [Upadhyay's] way of working in this very poor country is that it is really development work from the bottom up," said von Uexkull. "He doesn't go to a village and offer some kind of technical solution, but he starts by making people aware of why they are poor and what they could do to become richer. Then he helps them organize themselves."