Many groups and communities in the global South are trying to preserve natural resources and long-standing ecosystems. But their funding often comes from the North, and northern donors are seldom set up to make the relatively small grants these groups need. To help get round this problem, Dutch organization Both ENDS, a member of the Greengrants Alliance of Funds, supports small grants funds in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Last February, the Dutch Postcode Lottery awarded Both ENDS’ partners and former partners €1 million to increase capacities for in-country fundraising.
When Both ENDS started 25 years ago, it was clear that the major challenge was to assure that money would flow to those organizations that were best positioned to make a difference in their own countries and regions but which remain invisible to US or European foundations. Apart from catering to the existing demands effectively, the funds we started would be able to increase funding from their own constituencies. We also supported several community-based networks to include small grant funding as an integral part of their programmes.
As an example of what this can produce, one of Both ENDS’ funds, the Non-timber Forest TFP small grants programme, gave a grant of $5,000 to Samata, a local NGO, to resist the construction of a thermal plant in the Nuapada Swamps in Andra Pradesh, India. (Photo shows migrating birds in the Nuapada Swamps, whose habitat was saved by the actions of local NGO Samata.) In order to build the plant, East Coast Energy was draining water from the swamps, whose 100 acres shelter birds during their annual migration. The drainage would have destroyed this habitat. Samata conducted research and raised awareness through the media and lodged a judicial complaint. In 2010, the court ordered the plant be set up elsewhere.
At the moment, Both ENDS works directly with seven small grants funds around the world that generate funding locally and globally. In addition, we run our own small grants fund, the Joke Waller-Hunter Initiative, to support the development of young environmental leaders.
Small grants have impact. They require little bureaucracy. They can be easily disbursed and reporting requirements kept simple. Most of all, small grants support people and organizations who lead peaceful struggles to keep the bond between them and nature alive.
For more information
Contact Both ENDS director Danielle Hirsch at firstname.lastname@example.org