Regional Focal Point Intitiative

Funded by the Netherlands Committee of the IUCN

For over 12, years, the Netherlands Committee for the IUCN (IUCN NL) has provided small grants to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) throughout West Africa.

In 2005, IUCN NL decided to test a new approach to grantmaking by soliciting assistance from a partner located on the ground.

Known as the Regional Focal Point, EFA assists IUCN NL by:

  • increasing the level of technical / strategic input from the region with regard to overall strategic choices of the IUCN NL small grants programme;
  • increasing cooperation and synergy amongst the NGOs that receive IUCN NL support;
  • increasing the capacity of these NGOs;
  • enhancing the “green voice” of local NGOs; and
  • reducing the administrative functions of IUCN NL headquarters to improve on the quality of assistance they provide to the region.

Specific activities undertaken during the 2005 – 2006 project cycle include:

  • monitoring of grants in Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea, Ghana, and Senegal to better understand what makes a project successful and share experiences among West African NGOs;
  • country- and regional-level capacity building in project development, advocacy and video production designed to improve NGOs ability to raise awareness and draw attention to conservation issues in West Africa;
  • networking and sharing of lessons between IUCN NL grantees and other partners through regional debates, meetings and workshops; and
  • fostering a spirit of collaboration among green actors in West Africa.

As IUCN NL grantees increased their cooperation and information sharing, they decided to formalize and increase this cooperation to further strengthen the environmental movement in West Africa. The GAWA network, an informal alliance of national environmental coalitions, benefits from training and networking opportunities supported by the Regional Focal Point Initiative.

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