After a long wait, Seychelles NGOs are now bracing themselves to access UNDP's Small Grants Programme.
[Victoria 18/03/2008]Way back in 1992 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administered Small Grants Programme (SGP) was launched. SGP which is a purely environmental grant is meant to support the activities of NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in developing countries.
The core support areas covered under SGP include “climate change abatement, conservation of biodiversity, protection of international waters, reduction of the impact of persistent organic pollutants, and prevention of land degradation while generating sustainable livelihoods.”
Ever since this grant which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) was launched it has consistently eluded Seychelles, despite the country’s multi-faceted and yet fragile ecosystems.
The concern of the leading Seychelles NGOs has been focused on solving key environmental problems and harnessing credible and committed manpower mobilization which owing to the bureaucracy lining up the access to these funds were at a cliff-hangar position. The frustration emanating from the sheer bulwark of obstacles posed by ‘criteria’ and a plethora of other rules had torn off and consumed plenty of energy.
The good news is now here.
Seychelles is now going to access the funds. Owing to years of commitment genuine conservation work has now been bolstered. The catchy slogan of SGP is summed up in four words “community action; global impact.” This message will now be felt all across Seychelles.
There are still certain key elements to be put in place including a national committee and the formulation of a country strategy. NGOs are still strategising on this. The funds are expected to be online by mid year.
This is an important opportunity for Seychelles civil society who must move ahead quickly. Liaison Unit of Non Governmental Organisations of Seychelles (LUNGOS), the government, Nature Seychelles, and key UNDP officials need to be praised for lobbying hard and never relenting in their zeal. It is significant to note that Nature Seychelles has never wavered in her steadfast determination to bring SGP to Seychelles and has had many meetings and correspondence on this subject over the years.
“Now that the SGP is finally here it is almost an anticlimax. But NGOs will need to work hard if they are to produce winning project proposals and importantly provide excellent results through good implementation.” Surmises Dr Nirmal Shah, CEO of Nature Seychelles.[ENDS]