Five projects that received support through the ABI Small Grants Fund in its second year are showing benefits for conservation and communities in the Overberg.

Funded by the Table Mountain Fund, an associated Trust of WWF-South Africa, the ABI Small Grants Fund has provided support to eight projects since its inception two years ago. In the past year, five projects were awarded up to R20,000 each. The community-based projects all promote conservation action and awareness.

The Stanford Wood Stoves Project has provided eight ACE Biomass Cooking Stoves to project participants. Run by the Skills Exchange Project, it aims to use alien biomass in the cooking stoves. Participants are now testing different kinds of wood fuel – from thick branches of alien wood, to charcoal briquettes, to see what type of wood burns best. The project aims to create an additional micro-industry for wood contractors.

The Whale Coast Conservation-run Stripes the Eco Cat Project reached 16 schools and nearly 2500 learners during the past month. Stripes the Eco Cat formed part of a school expo in the Overstrand district. Stories of Stripes were read at Kleinmond, Stanford, Gansbaai and Hermanus schools. The conservation-related stories are told through the eyes of a naïve cat called Stripes, and are aimed at children who use English as their second or third language.

The Grootbos Foundation’s Dibanisa Environmental Education Programme supported 20 hockey players, aged 8 to 14 from Masakhane, to learn more about fynbos and marine ecosystems. The programme ended with a camp for the children at Uilenkraalsmond in March. The children learned about the importance of predators and water safety. Games with hockey themes to teach the children about the environment were also designed, while the children also received a surfing lesson.

The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (NWSMA) also received support for their project to encourage greater numbers of tourists to visit the Agulhas Plain. A staff member of the NWSMA is now completing his Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) Level 1 Nature Guiding category.

The next call for project proposals for the final year of the ABI Small Grants Fund was opened late in May, and runs until 19 June 2015. For more, click here.