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United Nations Development Programme

UNDP Global Environmental Facility (GEF)/Small Grants Programme (SGP)-Ghana


Understanding GEF/SGP Activities in Ghana

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grant Programme (SGP) was launched in Ghana in 1992 under the auspices of the UNDP, to provide financial and technical support to community level initiatives that simultaneously conserve and restore the environment whilst enhancing the well-being and livelihood of the local people.

Since its inception, the GEF/SGP has funded over 70 different projects countrywide funding to date comprise of US$1.4 million from GEF and US$1.5 million from other partners in cash and in-kind equivalents. The over project portfolio is made up of 70% biodiversity, 20% climate 2% international waters and 8% multi-focal. Maximum grant amount per project is US$50,000 but average disbursement is about US$20,000 grants channeled through NGOs and Cobs.

Decisions about grant award are based on strategic directions from the National Steering Committee made up representatives from the NGO community, Government Ministries and Departments, UNDP and the Universities.

The environmental problems GEF-SGP is addressing include

Fig 1. Deforestation a common problem in Ghana
Land degradation

The GEF-SGP reconciles global environmental priorities with local needs and operates on the belief that global environmental problems can best be addressed if local people are involved and there are direct community benefits and ownership. The GEF/SGP The projects are addressing many adverse environmental problems and enriching the lives of many people all over the country.

One of the guiding philisophies of the GEF/SGP approaches has been to reach the maginal populations and isolated communities, especially when there are no donors or NGOs present, where development "baseline" conditions simply have not been met.

In these common situations, the GEF/SGP - given its limited grant funding - mobilize other resources and organizations (NGOs), private sector concerns, international donors, government agencies, UNDP programmes) to help provide the co-financing, technical assistance, capacity-building, gender training, income generation component or whatever non-GEF element may be necessary for a project's success. These project components are often vital to achieving local acceptance and ownership of SGP interventions.

GEF-SGP in Perspectives:

Building Capacities for effective Environmental Resource Management: New Initiatives and Partnerships

The bane of most environmental NGOs operating in Ghana have weak capacities to plan, source for funds, implement, monitor and evaluate projects.. For every 10 new project proposals the GEF-SGP secretariat received, only one may have been well formulated. This situation has not helped the country to mobilize internal resources to draw more from the global environment facility fund.

The GEF-SGP has responded to this problem with a two-pronged strategy aimed at strengthening the institutional capacities of NGOs problem identification and proposal writing and forging new partnerships among them to increase their voice for positive change.
Since the beginning of the year, the GEF/SGP has implemented series of regional and district level training workshops. Between January and June 2004, about 90 different environmental NGOs and CBO’s all over the country were trained to understand and appreciate GEF thematic areas, the country strategy and priority areas; project identification, planning, participatory project monitoring and evaluation of GEFABLE project.

This activity was executed in collaboration with Learning Helping Living, a local NGO recognized for its ability to train and build capacities of community-based organizations. At the end of the training participants were issued with certificate of participation.

Organizing the capacity building workshops has generated rich package of best practices, and experiences in applying GEF thematic areas to sustainable development in real socio-economic circumstances. In addition, regional networks of the environmental NGO/CBO have been formed to share and exchange information, mobilize funds and technical support in project implementation.

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