News  >  Blog

Classy Names Project Concern International’s SAPARM Program a Winner of the 6th Annual Classy Awards

Published 06/30/2016 by Global Communities

BOSTON – Classy, the world’s first social impact platform with the goal of helping organizations solve social problems more effectively and efficiently, announced that Project Concern International’s (PCI) Satellite Assisted Pastoral Resource Management (SAPARM) program has been selected as a winner in the 6th Annual Classy Awards. The event took place on Thursday, June 16, in Boston’s Innovation District.

The Collaborative + Classy Awards bring together top social innovators from around the world for a unique three-day experience of speaker series and networking opportunities that culminates in the Classy Awards.

“The Classy Awards team spends a year extensively researching social innovations from around the world, and this year’s pool of nominees was one of the strongest we’ve ever seen,” said Pat Walsh, Co-Founder and CIO of “We were impressed by PCI’s use of technology to confront resource scarcity and malnourishment in Africa, and are happy to be celebrating their cutting-edge work today.”

PCI’s SAPARM works to garner technological innovation to create beneficial change in Ethiopia, where the present drought and climate change has resulted in nearly 400,000 children who are severely malnourished and 10.2 million people need emergency food assistance. Drought and climate change impact the ability of pastoralists, a main source of food in Ethiopia, to find grazing land for their herds using only traditional methods like scouting and word of mouth. SAPARM puts satellite derived vegetation data directly into the hands of pastoralists to help them increase their accuracy in finding pastures. This cost-effective, continuous feed of information is designed to lead to decreased herd losses, greater economic stability and resiliency of pastoralist communities, as well as better land management. With about 225 million pastoralists on the African continent, this innovation is game-changing—winning it a coveted Classy Award.

PCI was one of over 1,300 program submissions from 1,100 global organizations reviewed by Classy this year. The submissions were evaluated by members of the Classy Leadership Council, an honorary board of leaders and experts who collectively determine the winners of the Classy Awards. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector. The Leadership Council is composed of a diverse group of 110 experts representing academia, community foundations, for-profit corporations, global NGOs, industry experts, media professionals, nonprofits, philanthropists, private foundations, policymakers, public figures, social entrepreneurs, and a student Fellow.

The Classy Leadership Council then selected 100 finalists, 10 of which were selected as winners and announced on stage at the 6th Annual Classy Awards. PCI was selected based on the scale and scope of their mission, the innovation of their approach, ability to solve the problem, and organizational effectiveness.

“We are honored to have been selected as a winner of the Classy Awards,” said Chris Bessenecker of PCI. “But most importantly, Classy has given us a platform to give voice to the voiceless. Pastoral communities are in danger. They are some of the most vulnerable communities on this planet. So it is critical for us to raise awareness around issues of climate change and resource scarcity among the quarter billion pastoralists in Africa struggling to survive. We believe SAPARM could be a breakthrough innovation that can significantly improve the resiliency of these individuals. Thank you for recognizing our work.”

The Collaborative + Classy Awards, presented by Southwest Airlines and Classy, are produced in partnership with Guidestar, Stanford Social Innovation Review,, Plenty Consulting, WePay, GOOD, Babson College, and Echoing Green. For more information on the Collaborative + Classy Awards and to register for the event, visit

About Classy
Classy is the world’s first social impact platform with the goal of helping organizations solve social problems more effectively and efficiently. Since launching in 2011, Classy has helped more than 2,500 social enterprises including Oxfam, World Food Program USA, and National Geographic to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Classy also hosts the Collaborative and Classy Awards to recognize excellence in social innovation. Based in San Diego, CA, Classy employs a staff of over 180 people and was recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the world’s 10 Most Innovative Companies for Social Good. Classy is backed by investors including Mithril and Salesforce Ventures. For more information, visit or follow Classy on Twitter: @Classy.