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The CareLa Contest

Idea fetching competition on ecological restoration


The CareLa Contest- Idea fetching competition on ecological restoration (Kerala),  which is initiated to support global ecosystem restoration efforts as part of the United Nations decade of eco-restoration. We are looking for young innovators and change makers to come as a team to help build resilience in Kerala through Eco-restoration.  Sustera foundation and ATREE-CERC with the support of Antrix Corporation invites young enthusiasts from Kerala to apply for the competition.

What is the UN decade of eco-restoration?

It‘s a massive global call by the United Nations to mobilize political and financial support and challenges everyone to restore the world’s degraded and deforested ecosystems. The Decade unites the world behind a common goal: preventing, halting, and reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. The restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded land from now to 2030 could generate 9 TRILLION US Dollars and remove 13 to 26 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases. 

What does an incentive-based approach to eco-restoration mean?


Imagine young people cleaning beaches, planting trees, helping bring back green in urban cityscapes. Now imagine these people coming together, healing their landscapes, collaborating and exchanging knowledge and skills, and inspiring others to do the same, while generating an income from such activities. This will help to scale up the restoration efforts and a chance for a healthy future.


Prize and Support


The first two winning teams will receive a grant of upto ₹25,000/- each (depending on the scale of the project) for implementing the prototype of the project and the opportunity to showcase their idea during the final round table which would be organized by the Sustera foundation in . November, The winning ideas will be featured in the policy document which is being prepared by the Sustera Foundation as part of round tables. The winning team will also be given extensive mentorship and support for scaling up the restoration ideas. 


Runner Up teams would receive support/guidance in fundraising. They will also receive mentorship if required.

Competition details

The CareLa contest provides students and youngsters from different sectors of the state of Kerala, an opportunity to present their ideas of incentive-based models of eco-restoration in front of the expert panel and avail attractive grants for practical implementation of the solution. The objective of the program is to welcome “Implementable Solutions" from youngsters and  students in the guidance of faculty to improve the environmental performance of the state and thus build resilience to future climate uncertainties. “We also encourage the team to replicate (best practices) from around the globe which suit the context of Kerala”. Teams should submit an application describing their ideas that helps to protect or restore the environment, create a more sustainable future, and create an additional livelihood for the community. The shortlisted applicants should compulsorily undergo 3-day online (6-hours) boot camp organized by Sustera Foundation.



  • Teams of 4 or less members, led by youth (Age group 18 - 30) can apply.

  • With at least 3 members of the team based in Kerala.

  • One of the team members can be a college faculty (i.e. could be above the age bracket)

  • Idea should help in facilitating eco-restoration in Kerala.

  • Idea should be scalable, viable, replicable and promote incentive based eco-restoration.

(Scalable-potential of a solution to be expanded; Replicable - it can be duplicated in another location with similar traits)

  • Idea having an inherent pay back structure is preferable.

  • We encourage teams from vulnerable and indigenous communities to apply.


  • Viability, scalability and replicability are three key aspects in the selection process. The idea has to be viable now and in the future. There has to be a scope for scalability and should hold the potential to be replicated in other geographies and within other communities. 

  • Quality of work plan and application will be part of the assessment criteria. A solid work plan with detailed timelines for the project is important. 

  • Team profile and capabilities - Your profiles should present evidence that you are a curious, innovative and passionate individual.

  • Quantifiable Impact - The solutions that you put forth should have the ability to demonstrate a quantifiable impact.

  • Innovation and Sustainability - The innovation quotient and sustainability of the idea will be assessed.  

  • Usefulness and Originality - The ideas submitted should be able to  create a greater impact for the community or the environment. We also encourage the team to replicate (best practices) from around the globe which suit the context of Kerala by reimagining it to fit the social, geographical features of the state. 

  • Multiple Co-benefits - We look for ideas that can initiate multiple co-benefits like incentives in different forms, livelihood generation, biodiversity conservation, food security or so on. 

  • Positive Impact - The selection board will assess the overall positive impact that the project is capable of creating. 

  • Location of implementation - We encourage participants to think of location specific solutions to begin with. 

  • Additional advantage if the solution can be blended to existing state or national programs/schemes.



  • Call for application. 

  • Review of application.

  • Short-listed participants need to be part of an extensive online boot-camp organized by the Sustera foundation and ATREE-CERC which will help connect with mentors and develop skills to implement ideas.

  • Teams then pitch their idea in front of experts with a presentation/ video through the online platform “Zoom'' and would be evaluated b y our jury members.

  • Best projects will be shortlisted and the team members will be able to present it during the roundtable discussion.

  • The best project will get financial and mentorship support for practical implementation. (Best two projects get up to ₹25,000/- each)


Tip: can give you some suggestions on understanding benefits and co-benefits.

*During Rebuilding Kerala during 2019 Floods under Divya Iyer, Director of Employment Guarantee Mission in Kerala used this program to restore farmlands, canals, streams, wells and rivers, in addition to common public assets such as school playgrounds, Anganwadis, mangroves and streetlights, all of which were rendered useless after the floods. These activities are done by exploiting the wage employment under MGNREGA.

**Virginia seagrass restoration project: conservation scientists have spread more than 70 million seeds in the bays there, restoring 3,600 hectares (9,000 acres) of an ecosystem devastated by disease in the 1930s. The work has brought back eelgrass (Zostera marina)—a keystone species that supports crustaceans, fish, and scallops, and is now absorbing the equivalent of nearly half a metric ton of CO2 per hectare per year. Now, the Virginia Nature Conservancy is aiming to turn those tons into carbon credits that it can sell for cash.

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