The Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants, one of the largest corporate initiatives of its kind in the world, is looking to award a total of USD100,000 of funds to deserving environmental projects from groups and individuals across the GCC, Levant and for the first time, in Iraq, in a bid to help grass-root level conservation efforts.
Supported by UNESCO Doha, Ford is encouraging individuals, community and non-profit groups that have projects currently running in the areas of preservation of the natural environment, environmental education and conservation engineering to apply for the grants.
The Ford Grants programme, now entering its 13th year, has awarded a total of USD1.2 million to over 140 environmental projects from the GCC, Lebanon and Jordan since its inception. Application forms are available and can be downloaded from www.me.ford.com. The deadline to submit applications is July 10, 2012. Projects from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are welcome to apply.
In recent years, recipients of the Grants included efforts of different groups to raise awareness on conservation through education especially among students. Majority of these projects involve schoolchildren, engaging the youth to be environmental advocates at an early age. With funds received from Ford, these projects were able to continue with their missions in conserving the environment and activating the community’s participation.
An independent panel of jurors consisting of nine experts and academics from environmental agencies and institutions in the region will choose the winning projects. The jury panel was carefully selected in cooperation with UNESCO Doha, based on geographical coverage, experience and gender equality.
Recipients of the Ford Grants will be selected based on initiatives that demonstrate a well-defined sense of purpose, a commitment to maximizing available resources, and a reputation for meeting objectives and delivering planned programmes and services.
Larry Prein, managing director of Ford Middle East said: “We’re looking forward to receiving applications from the region especially from Iraq which is now included in the expanded coverage of the programme. We hope that the recipients which will be chosen this year will continue to provide the impetus and motivation for others to intensify their efforts in conserving the environment. But before this year’s recipients are chosen, we encourage everyone who is active in this field to send in your application for the Grants by visiting Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants page through www.me.ford.com.”
The programme was initially created to empower individuals and nonprofit groups that are donating their time and effort to preserve the environment. By providing the necessary funding and visibility, they hope to encourage the multiplication of similar grassroots efforts that they will serve as catalysts for change across the globe.
For his part, Dr. Benno Boer, UNESCO’s Ecological Sciences Advisor in the Arab Region said: “UNESCO is the lead agency of the United Nations Decade on Educations for Sustainable Development (2005 – 2014), adopting practices that foster sustainable development. With the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (known as Rio + 20), it is high time to discuss globally “The Future We Want”, and develop local practices that will make significant contributions to the Millennium Development Goal No. 7, which is “Environmental Sustainability”.
Environmental problems can only be solved, if they are identified, studied, and discussed, and activities implemented. One of the essential contributions to improve the ecological foot-print is via public awareness and engagement. There are many unsung heroes of the environment here in our region and we are seeking to support them through the available funds provided by the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants. Taking care of the environment is a huge task that requires technical, intellectual and financial resources. We hope that this programme will provide additional support to the ongoing projects being carried out by environmental groups and individuals. UNESCO has supported this initiative of Ford for some time in the Middle East – we most certainly hope that, based on the achievements and lessons learned, we can widen our ongoing partnership a broader international scale.”
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