Phase 1 of the Small-Scale Initiatives Programme
Small-scale projects in the South : an effective tool for biodiversity conservation
In 2006, the FFEM developed its first “Small-Scale Initiatives” programme to support NGOs in the South in implementing projects for biodiversity protection and local development. 55 projects were financed during the first phase, essentially in French-speaking Africa.
The results are real: hectares of mangroves are now protected in Benin , fishing communities have created a marine reserve to protect octopuses in Madagascar, a community-managed reserve has been created to protect hippos in Niger …
All of these projects also have a local development component that ensures income generation for local populations, from biodiversity protection (e.g. from ecotourism) and sustainable resource uses.
These small-scale projects are flexible and managed directly by NGOs. They are achieving real results in terms of biodiversity protection and mobilisation of local populations. These projects are also recognised for their cost-effectiveness in achieving results. Major financial institutions like the Global Environment Facility or the World Bank are increasingly investing in projects of this type. They are indeed a promising tool, to be supported and promoted, in the protection of the world’s biodiversity.
Real achievements on the ground
Many interesting activities:
- creation of community-managed game reserves to bring back wildlife and help natural resource stocks to recover (Madagascar, Benin),
- development of ecotourism activities in Madagascar’s mountains and in some wetlands of Benin
- sea turtle watching along Africa’s coastlines
- protection of mangroves (Gabon);
- extraction of essential oils (Madagascar)
- creation of gardens for medicinal plants that have disappeared in the wild (Senegal, Burkina Faso)
In Gabon, the collaboration of three SSI beneficiaries led to a common project to develop environmental educational materials for the national school system - a fine example of South-South cooperation!