Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 19th 2013 Contents A19
Thursday, September 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Starting this week in this Cleaning
Up The Mess environmental series is
a four-part public education series,
courtesy the Global Environment Facil-
ity (GEF) Small Grant Programme
(SGP) of the United Nations Develop-
ment Programme (UNDP).
This week, the focus is on helping
civil society groups make a difference
to their environment.
When we first met Sue-Yen Carrera
she was facilitating a meeting with the
Caura Valley Fire Guardians at the Caura
Valley Village Council (CVVC) commu-
nity hall. The lone female in the circle,
she had the full attention of the males
ranging from 19 to 65 years of age.
A primary school teacher and public
relations officer of the CVVC, Carrera
also wears the hat of project manager
for the village council s Fire Guardians
Funded by the GEF Small Grant Pro-
gramme and managed in conjunction
with the Forestry Division of T&T, the
project aims to protect the forest ecosys-
tem from forest fires and support liveli-
hoods through a payment for ecosystem
services (PES) approach to fire preven-
Fire Guardians protecting forest ecosystem
Community groups like the Caura Valley Village
Council led by everyday citizens are concerned about
their community s fragile ecosystem. They represent
a growing movement of conservation and sustainability
advocates finding solutions to issues affecting the
environmental, social, and economic space in which
While many community-based organisations (CBOs)
and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have
ideas they believe could address environmental chal-
lenges confronting their community, resource limi-
tations and the inability to transform these ideas into
viable projects, make it difficult for some groups to
get their ideas off the ground.
Fortunately civil society organisations are getting
the help they need to address these issues from the
GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the
Thinking globally, acting locally
The GEF is the largest public funder of projects
designed to address global environmental priorities
at the national level. Projects funded by the programme
fall within five focus areas: biodiversity conservation,
protection of international waters, prevention of land
degradation, climate change (mitigation and adaption)
and reduction of persistent organic pollutants.
A unique component of the GEF initiative has been
its Small Grants Programme, launched in 1992---the
year of the first Rio Earth Summit.
Rooted in the belief that global environmental prob-
lems are best addressed when local communities take
ownership, the SGP funds and provides technical sup-
port to, civil society organisations for community-
based environmental projects.
Grants up to US$50,000 can be awarded to groups
whose project proposals fall within the GEF s five
focal areas; satisfy the GEF SGP evaluation criteria
and demonstrate a clear consideration for and inclusion
of sustainable livelihoods and gender equality factors.
Examples of civil society organisations eligible to
apply include charities, community-based organisa-
tions, youth groups, faith-based organisations, village
councils, academia, professional associations and non-
governmental organisations. To date, the GEF SGP
has invested over US$450 million in over 12,000 com-
munity projects in 122 countries.
From Charlotteville to Caroni -
GEF SGP gains traction in T&T
The SGP s popularity and track record of success
have shown steady improvement since its introduction
to the twin island 17 years ago. Eighty-five projects,
implemented by 55 CBOs and NGOs in over 36 com-
munities throughout Trinidad and Tobago, at a total
cost of US$1.5 million are impressive numbers by any
The Caura Valley Village Council is one such com-
munity group that was successful in its application
for GEF SGP grant funding and Carrera credits the
work of GEF SGP staffers in guiding them to improve
their proposal and project design. The work of this
group and other SGP grantees would be featured over
the next few weeks in this space. We ll highlight their
best practices and share their advice to community
groups interested in protecting their environment.
The GEF SGP provides grants of up to US$50,000
to civil society organisations for projects in biodiversity,
climate change, international waters, chemicals and
land degradation. For further information on applying
for GEF SGP grants please visit:
www.facebook.com/GEFSGPTT. or call on 623 7056
ext. 252 or 254.
If your company or professional association is inter-
ested in partnering with the UNDP to mentor or coach
grantees of the GEF SGP, please call 623 7056 ext.
252 or 254."
If you wish to contribute to this guest series, send
in your ideas to Ira Mathur at email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org and join our Facebook
page at www.facebook.com/cleaningupthemess
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