The meeting, the GEF National Dialogue Initiative, held at the Plantation Club and attended by NGO, government and GEF associate representatives, saw the announcement of the commencement of the NGO-focused GEF Small Grants Programme.
Through the Small Grants Programme US$250,000 will be available annually to be split between a range of NGO projects.
“GEF funds are a vital lifeline for NGO led action,” said the CEO of Nature Seychelles, Nirmal Shah, after attending the two day GEF meeting.
“International donor organisations, such as the GEF, help fill financial gaps which can easily occur in NGO led projects in small countries, such as Seychelles, where commercial sponsorship of conservation work is limited.”
Under the Small Grants Programme NGOs can make one funding application per year, for a grant of up to US$50,000, though allocations of around US$25,000 are more common.
In addition, NGOs may also be able to act as implementing agents for elements of larger, government run GEF projects and can apply for GEF medium sized projects.
“Nature Seychelles has already successfully implemented two GEF medium sized projects, one on island management and one on avian ecosystem management, so there is considerable NGO experience in dealing with this kind of mechanism,” said Nature Seychelles’ Project Coordinator, Kerstin Henri.
“The GEF initiative is a valuable spotlight on the work that we do and I think we can be proud that we have consistently been granted GEF funding thanks to our achievements,” said Mrs Henri.
“It is vitally important that we in the environmental conservation community achieve tangible results which prove the worth of the GEF and other funding mechanisms,” she added, stressing the good governance principles promoted through GEF funding.
For high-membership but low-budget grass roots organisations such as the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles, access to GEF funds allows them to carry out projects which would otherwise be impossible.
“We are already able to mobilise a very large number of Wildlife Club members. With the possible addition of extra financing we can add so much more to the education, environmental understanding, enjoyment and action on the part of the club members,” said Wildlife Clubs Coordinator, Lyndy Bastienne.