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Since 2006, the Small-scale Initiatives Programmes (PPIs) have supported African civil society in conserving nature and improving local living conditions. Launched by the FFEM in 2006 and supervised by the IUCN French National Committee, the approach truly is one of a kind. Relying on local support and subsidies averaging €30,000, the PPIs play an important role in enhancing the skills of stakeholders on the ground, boosting their legitimacy in the public debate and inspiring them to innovate for the environment and socio-economic development.

In 15 years, the PPIs have supported over 300 projects in around thirty countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa. Subsidies totalling almost €20 million have been awarded to biodiversity conservation projects run by 262 local organisations. Beyond project financing, CSOs have also benefited from technical and organisational support to enhance their skills implementing and monitoring small-scale projects, with a view to ensuring the sustainability of these projects and the reproducibility of the PPI approach.

This publication presents the results of an intersecting capitalisation exercise between stakeholders of the PPI (sub-Saharan Africa) and PPI OSCAN (North African CSOs), so the lessons learned from these programmes can be shared in order to improve financing practices and support civil society in its efforts to protect nature.

In line with France’s international commitments, PPIs are the main tool used by French cooperation directly financing African CSOs for actions specifically related to environmental protection. PPI and PPI OSCAN have enabled networks and alliances to be established and structured between stakeholders working on the same issues and/or in the same region.