Small Grants Programme

Project background

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) is a global programme was established in 1992 a year after Rio Earth Summit in Brazil. The programme is implemented by UNDP on behalf of GEF partnership and executed the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The overall objectives of the GEF SGP is to support the initiatives of communities in developing countries to address environmental issues and strengthen livelihoods. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)

The GEF SGP in Timor-Leste commenced in 2012, following a country assessment conducted by a senior national coordinator. Hosted by the UNDP country office, in November 2013 the SGP officially launched in Timor-Leste.    

Project activities

Since 2013, the programme has channeled funds to local NGOs and CBOs to assist the initiatives of rural communities in addressing communities’ environmental issues and strengthening their livelihoods. It provides financial support and technical assistance to community groups, local NGOs and CSOs in developing the environment in GEF focal areas, namely conservation and protection of biodiversity, conservation of land degradation, protection of international waters and mitigation and adaptation climate change impact and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Currently the programme has reached up to 10 municipalities to support rural communities, including in the enclave of Oe-Cusse.   

Activities implemented by the communities together with the SGP grantees are; reforestation of the critical land of community, piloting agroforestry farming practices, rehabilitating mangrove forests, developing and distributing firewood-efficient cooking stoves, installation of solar power for rural communities who cannot access government electricity and promoting of horticulture through kitchen gardening to improve household income. In addition, the programme provides funding to NGOs and CBOs to assist community leaders and community members to establish traditional ceremonies or 'Tara-Bandu' to protect and conserve natural resources and protect community properties. The programme together with grantees provides capacity building to youth in rural areas on environmental protection, sustainable farming practices and savings and loan activities.

Project results

  • Rural communities become the actor of environmental and biodiversity conservation, as well as being able to protect their property.
  • Since the programme was launched in 2013, it has provided funds and technical assistance to 35 NGOs and 23 CBOs to support communities to solve environmental issues and strengthen theirlivelihoods.
  • More than 500 households have been assisted to solve their environment and livelihood issues.
  • More than 165 youth have received capacity building support in environmental development, sustainable agriculture as well as savings and loan activities.
  • Some communities have planted more than 100,000 tree and fruit seedlings on their fam lands and other areas that improve land cover. 
  • Farmers groups in 9 municipalities have piloted agroforestry farms with a total of 18 farms. In the municipalities of Liquisa, Cova-Lima and Bobinaro, the communities together with grantees conducted rehabilitation of mangrove forests, and at least 4 ha of mangrove forest have been rehabilitated and around 5,000 mangrove seedlings planted.
  • To reduce the use of firewood for cooking, especially in rural communities, the SGP provides funds to community to develop a fuel-efficient cook stove. With these funds, 155 rural households have used cooking stoves that save up to 50% firewood. In addition to reducing the amount of firewood needed for cooking, this initiative also reduces the amount of time that women and young girls spend collecting firewood in the forest. 
  • In 2016 – 2017, SGP together with grantees, installed solar power for 60 households in the administrative post of Liquidoe, Aileu Municipality. 60 households can now access light at night and their children are able to study in the evenings.

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