ABI to support community-based projects


The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) is to support up to 20 community-based projects in the Overberg, in a project designed to help develop the necessary skills to implement conservation programmes. The ABI Small Grants Fund will kick off in time for World Environment Day, on 5 June.

ABI secured funds from the Table Mountain Fund, an associated Trust of WWF South Africa. The project will be rolled out over the next three years. The aim is to make funds available to community organisations for projects linked to ABI’s five themes. These are: climate change; land-use planning; responsible tourism; environmental education and renewable energy.

According to Lesley Richardson of the ABI Coordination Office, it’s hoped that through the ABI Small Grants Fund, the project will work closely with municipalities in the Overberg region. “The community-based projects ideally should be integrated into municipal development plans, allowing 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.” 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.

The ABI Small Grants Fund will start during World Environment Week, from 3 to 7 June, from where ABI will start preparing to meet with key stakeholders who will assist in rolling out the project. The World Environment Day theme this year is ‘Think. Eat. Save.’ – aimed at stopping food waste and food loss, for a sustainable future. Richardson says, “Sustainability is a cornerstone for ABI under its five themes, therefore making this the perfect time to launch the new project.”

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

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