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SLUNCF Launches New Community-led, Nature-based Project

THE Saint Lucia National Conservation Fund (SLUNCF), was established in 2016 as a not-for-profit company and has been working with local community partners by seeking and providing sustainable finance to support the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of Saint Lucia’s biodiversity and natural resources.

The SLUNCF in its grant-making function seeks to raise funds from various philanthropic sources, including the local private sector and international funding partners. In this regard, the SLUNCF has secured a grant from the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) for a three-year project aimed at supporting grassroots community-based organizations (CBOs) and enhance their capacity through a program of training, small grants and mentoring.

In order to be considered for small grant funding, projects should contribute to improving the well-being of participants, whilst enhancing the collective capacity of CBOs to identify, under-stand, and address community problems – problems which are focused on environmental conservation, climate resilience; and nature-based community development initiatives which are sustainable over time.

The project has three components, viz., (a) creation of a small grants fund which will support community-led, nature-based development projects in Saint Lucia; (b) supporting the organizational strengthening of the SLUNCF to enhance its capacity as a community foundation; and (c) facilitating learning exchanges with other Caribbean Trust Funds. In addition, some targeted activities for responding to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be considered; e.g., supporting project beneficiaries in recovery activities such as enhancing their capacity for virtual training by increasing access to the internet.

The project was publicly unveiled at a virtual launch ceremony yesterday (August 24) to a mix of CBOs, SLUNCF Board members and potential partners. In addressing the virtual launch participants, Chairperson of the Board, Karolin Troubetskoy, stressed that, “the SLUNCF awarded five grants totalling XCD$286,245.00 last year to grantees whose projects contribute to capacity building for agencies and individuals, education and awareness in promotion of biodiversity protection and conservation; and supporting innovations in manufacturing, eco-tourism and natural resource management.

This current project which was formalized through a cooperative agreement between the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) and the SLUNCF and has a particular mandate to strengthen how the SLUNCF engages with the community and grassroots agencies, was developed out of the recognition that there needed to be more direct institutional support for community-based organizations (CBOs) and development”.

The launch was also addressed by Mr. Craig Henry, Chief Executive Officer of the SLUNCF, Dr. Sherry Constantine, the lead member of the Project Implementation Committee (PIC). Felix Finisterre, Project Coordinator, also provided an overview of the main aspects of the project, including objectives, key milestones and timelines.

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