In December 2019, The Lab’s Sustainability Prize at EARTH University was awarded to Yesenia Sandra Cahuana Condori for the project: YAKU sin límites (Water Without Limits). The $10,000 prize is awarded annually to the student project that best exemplifies The Lab’s five core principles of sustainability. Yesenia plans to use the funds from the prize to implement her project in Arequipa, Peru.
YAKU is a project that involves the fabrication of biofilters—pollution control devices—to purify water. Through YAKU, Yesenia demonstrated a waste-to-resources approach by assembling biofilters from waste fibers from various industries. She initiated and led the construction of a prototype artisanal oven in order to produce and then extensively test the filters for their ability to remove contaminants from water. She found that biofilters were a viable and economical means of providing clean water to low-income families. She plans to take this project to scale in Arequipa, Peru, where her enterprise will employ women, particularly single mothers. Her ambition is to bring the project to production on a national, and later international, scale.
We look forward to learning how Yesenia moves forward with YAKU, and we extend a special thank you to Ivor and Barbara Freeman and Joshua Arnow and Elyse Arnow-Brill for their continued support of The Lab’s Sustainability Prize at EARTH University.