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New Small Grants Fund Can Help Civil Society Groups Combat Deforestation

With the launch of Global Forest Watch (GFW), anyone with an internet connection can now access troves of timely, high-quality information about where, when, and why forests are changing worldwide. The free, online monitoring system provides the open data and transparency necessary to improve forest management and enhance the livelihoods of forest-dependent peoples.

However, information alone cannot lead to real-world change—it takes the work of communities, organizations, and other stakeholders to turn this data in action. Now that we can see where trees are being lost, what can be done to slow or stop harmful forest destruction? How can we empower communities affected by poor forest management to use GFW to protect natural resources?

Enter the Global Forest Watch Small Grants Fund. The Fund, which we’re opening up for applications today, aims to support civil society organizations around the world to use the GFW platform in innovative and impactful ways. We have pledged an initial $375,000 for 2014 and are accepting applications through June 30. The Fund offers local organizations from around the world the chance to improve forest management in their own communities.

What Is Funded?

The Small Grants Fund seeks applications within the following categories to help meet our goal of improving forest management and enhancing local livelihoods:

  1. Projects that support forest-dependent communities, grassroots organizations, and other local stakeholders to access, comprehend, and apply information in the GFW platform in ways that positively impact people’s lives;

  2. Projects that use information in the GFW platform to conduct research or carry out advocacy to improve forest governance and law enforcement (e.g., through changes in laws, institutions, and/or practices);

  3. Projects that provide new information to or validate existing information on GFW (e.g., creation of a new data layer, validating areas of tree cover loss); and

  4. Other innovative projects that use GFW to empower civil society to better manage forests and sustain or mobilize local communities.

The Small Grants Fund supports projects ranging from 10,000 USD to 40,000 USD, with a completion date of no later than December 31, 2014.

Who Can Apply?

The Small Grants Fund is intended for registered non-profit, civil society organizations with full-time, paid staff. The fund is not intended for large, international NGOs or any for-profit establishments or government agencies. To learn about how Global Forest Watch is working with other types of stakeholders – including governments, companies, and international NGOs – please visit our website.

How Do I Apply?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, beginning today, March 10, 2014, and ending on June 30, 2014. Organizations are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. For more information on the application process, please visit the GFW Small Grants Page and click “How to Apply.”

How Can I Use the GFW Platform?

The possibilities are endless—from strengthening local community forest monitoring to producing new and improved data sets on the world’s vital natural resources. Below are some examples of how civil society groups can utilize the GFW platform to promote sustainable forest management and improve local livelihoods.

  • Gather information: Groups can harness data from GFW to help launch awareness campaigns about where deforestation is taking place and who is responsible.
  • Support the documentation of ongoing stories in local forests: Users can apply for funding to undertake on-the-ground reporting, using GFW as a platform to publicize local issues. This could allow groups to uncover threats to local resource rights, as well as conservation success stories.
  • Monitor forests from the ground: Organizations involved with community forest monitoring could use the information from GFW to better direct their efforts, validate and verify forest change data, and publicize observations collected from the field.
  • Determine deforestation drivers: Funds could also be applied to conduct research to determine the source of the tree cover loss (and/or gain)—be it agricultural commodities, infrastructure and extractive industry expansion, or subsistence activities.
  • Build capacity: Host a workshop for civil society organizations and community groups to train stakeholders on how to use GFW.
  • Create new data sets: Groups with the technical expertise to complete, update, or enhance forest-related data sets (such as concession maps, peat swamp mapping, and forest community lands) could apply for support to complete and then visualize newly produced data sets on the GFW platform.
  • And much, much more.

We look forward to supporting unique ideas about how to implement our global tool to create positive local outcomes for forests, people, and the planet.

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