ABI connects community-based projects and municipalities

ABI has launched a new programme to bring community-based projects and municipalities even closer together. The ABI Small Grants Fund is funded by the Table Mountain Fund, an associated Trust of WWF South Africa. Through it, up to 20 community-based projects in the Overberg will receive support from ABI.


ABI partners will choose appropriate projects to receive support, through a selection working group. The selected community-based projects will have to link to one of ABI’s five theme areas: climate change, land-use planning, responsible tourism, environmental education or renewable energy.


According to Lesley Richardson of the ABI Coordination Office, the ABI Small Grants Fund aims to encourage close interaction with municipalities in the Overberg region, at the same time helping to develop the necessary skills to implement conservation programmes.


“It’s hoped that through the ABI project, community-based projects can become integrated into municipal development plans. This will allow municipalities and projects to work closely to reach our combined conservation and community targets.”


She says building environmental and biodiversity concerns into municipal planning processes will enjoy major long-term benefits. “Civil society may sometimes not see the importance of participating in municipal processes such as their Integrated Development Planning (IDP). This project will aim to create awareness both in civil society and among municipalities, allowing greater collaboration between the two.”


The municipal ward system is seen as an important avenue to ensure this collaboration, with ward committees instrumental in mobilising community-based projects. There are four B-municipalities in the Overberg region: Overstrand, Cape Agulhas, Swellendam and Theewaterskoof. 


Projects will need to meet certain criteria to be considered and can either co-fund those already in the municipal IDP, or kick-start new initiatives that the local authorities can help fund. ABI’s theme leaders will play an important role in rolling out the programme, which will run over the next three years.


For more information on the ABI Small Grants Fund, contact Lesley Richardson: info@agulhasbiodiversity.co.za 

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