News / 31 March 2022

Well-deserved recognition for small grants funds!

We are exited about the news that Ms MacKenzie Scott decided to entrust substantial funding to a wide range of small grants funds from Both ENDS' partner networks*. These small grants funds are unique as they are set up and led by people, often activists themselves, from the country or region in which the fund is based. Most mainstream conventional funders admit they have difficulties reaching community based organisations and grassroots groups themselves. Small grants funds know better than anyone how to reach local communities, who to support and what kind of financial as well as non-financial support is most needed. Thus, they bridge a wide funding gap. Both ENDS applauds this recognition of the important role of these funds in the funding landscape. We hope this encourages more funders to join!

Small grants funds support community-based, inclusive approaches to environmental conservation and restoration. They assist genuine sustainable socio-economic development – rooted in respect of human rights, womens rights in particular, and the needs and aspirations of young people. They assist young women and men to help build resilient communities in the face of abating climate change and threat of destructive external interventions from mining, mono-culture plantations and ill-designed infra projects.

Low threshold accessibility

These funds are agile and well informed about local conditions and they offer low threshold accessibility to grassroots groups quickly, when the need and momentum is there. This, whilst maintaining accountability about the allocated funds. They are able to award small grants at the right time, to the right organisations. Small grant funds on average provide grants between 1,000 and 15,000 euros, with an average of 5,000 euros. Such financial support is often also accompanied by capacity strengthening and networking building activities. Small grants funds work on a basis of trust and help achieve shifting decision-making power to grassroots organisations.

Establishing and strengthening small grants funds

This is why, over the course of 25 years, Both ENDS has invested in both the establishment and strengthening of environmental justice small grants funds in the Global South. Moreover, since 2015, through the Global Alliance for Green Gender Action (GAGGA), an alliance by FCAM, Mama Cash, Both ENDS and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, over 20 environmental Justice and women's rights funds are supported as an effective and inclusive avenue to reach their own social, ecology and climate objectives.

Indispensable for development funding

Small grants funds are thus an indispensable part of the global system of funding for development, equality and environmental and climate justice. Both ENDS, GAGGA and our small grants fund counterparts are contributing to a growing body of evidence that these funds are able to reach those local groups.

Within diverse coalitions we are in continuous dialogue with both private foundations and bilateral and multilateral agencies to increase funding for small grants funds. In partnership with the National Postcode Lottery and other funders such as Porticus, the Netherlands ministry of Foreign Affairs and other partners, Both ENDS will continue to support and promote small grants funds.


* Such as Prospera, Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres, Fondo de Mujeres Del Sur, FRIDA (The Young Feminist Fund), Mama Cash, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, Fondo ELAS, Fundo Casa Socioambiental (CASA), Micronesia Conservation Trust, Samdhana Institute and Women's Fund Asia.


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