Mon | Jun 14, 2021

Earth Today | EFJ offers funding support for conservation projects

Published:Thursday | June 10, 2021 | 12:14 AM
Barrington Lewis
Barrington Lewis

LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL entities now have an opportunity to have their projects financed, despite the gruelling realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is thanks to the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), which currently has an open call for proposals, inviting eligible non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to apply for grants under a range of themes. The themes are climate change adaptation, watershed conservation/protected areas management and capacity building.

The expectation is that the grants will provide a lifeline for entities that have been struggling under the weight of the pandemic, particularly with respect of the capacity building offering and especially for those operating in the seven priority sites for the Forest Conservation Fund.

The sites are the Blue and John Crow Mountain; the Cockpit Country Forest Reserve, plus outlying forest reserves; Litchfield Matheson’s Run and Stepheney-John’s Vale forest reserves; the inland portion of the Negril Protected Area, plus the forested area in and around Dolphin Head Mountain; the Portland Bight Protected Area; other forest reserves and Crown lands managed by the Forestry Department; and Sprint Vale and Bogue Forest Reserves plus the upper and lower Black River morasses.

“Providing a pool of funds to address the capacity issues of entities operating in the priority sites, especially given the impact of the pandemic, is one way the EFJ is helping with the challenges being faced,” said Chief Executive Officer Barrington Lewis.

“Specifically, a maximum of $8 million will be made available, per grant, under this focal area and it can be used, for example, in the procurement of fixed assets that will further enhance the work of these groups,” he added.

Funding sources dry up

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on a number of environmental NGOs, as funding sources dry up with the reprioritisation of support towards the COVID-19 response and the imposition of physical distancing restrictions and curfews.

“We recognise those challenges and we have been working with implementing organisations with a dynamic set of processes to not only have the projects timely and successfully implemented, but also effectively monitored and evaluated,” Lewis noted.

Since 2016, the EFJ has been one of the largest funders of local NGOs, awarding, for example, US$5.9 million to 143 grants under two phases of the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund (SCCAF). The SCCAF was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank through the then Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. Most recently, 46 projects received J$240 million through the European Union/Forestry Department gender-sensitive Alternative Livelihoods Call.

While not putting a figure on the value for this year’s call for proposal, the EFJ boss said they are interested in receiving good-quality proposals.

“For climate change adaptation, the EFJ is seeking projects that will be implemented in a very short time frame and grants will have a maximum award of $5 million. Areas that can be addressed include climate-smart agro-businesses, climate-resilient cropping systems, such as greenhouse and aquaponics; and water management, inclusive of water catchment and conservation measures,” Lewis explained.

The third theme has a sub-focus on natural disaster risk reduction, reforestation and alternative livelihoods.