Entering its 13th year, the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants, the longest-running private initiative of its kind in the region,makes available a total of USD100,000 of funds to environmental activists in the GCC and Levant region to help them further their projects and raise awareness about the environment and much needed efforts for conservation.
Supported by UNESCO’s Doha office, the programme is now open and receiving applications for grants from not-for-profit on-going environmental projects that are seeking additional funding. Application forms can be downloaded from www.me.ford.com with the deadline of submission set for July 10, 2012.
This year also marks the addition of Iraq to the GCC/Levant Chapter of the Ford Grants, bringing to nine the countries that Ford’s green initiative covers. Projects from Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can apply.
An independent panel of jurors consisting of nine experts and academics from environmental agencies and institutions will choose the winning projects. The jury panel , which has been carefully selected in cooperation with UNESCO Doha, based on geographical coverage, experience and gender equality, will look for 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, Ford Middle East's managing director, said: “Since 2000, the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants have provided much needed financial support to various local community initiatives. Through the programme, we are able to extend our hands and connect with the communities where we operate in together with our dealers,hoping to make a significant contribution to the betterment of the environment.”
Dr. Benno Boer, UNESCO's Ecological Sciences Advisor in the Arab Region, said: “This year, the UNESCO Doha Office continues to support the efforts of the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants in recognising deserving projects andhonouring the people who work tirelessly to protect the environment. Ford is to be commended for their commitment to this community initiative and for giving the opportunity for grass-root level projects to expand and grow.”
The winners in 2011 included projects saving coral reefs and protecting marine resources in Kuwait, Oman and the UAE, initiatives in Lebanon that engage communities to recycle for a good cause, become eco-police and protect natural resources, setting up community theaters to inculcate environmental awareness in Jordan, volunteerism to collect and segregate plastic waste in Kuwait, and many more.
H.H. Sh. Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi, also known as The Green Sheikh, who also supports the Ford Grants as a Programme Ambassador, said: “Protecting the environment is like a race against time. We must act now for the future generation. More so, we encourage the youth from the region to play an active role in raising awareness to conserve the environment. The power is within today’s youth to make a difference and be the environment’s defender. By simply minding your actions to avoid unnecessary use of energy and resources and be an example to your community, you are already contributing significantly.
“Reach out to people within your neighbourhood who are working on a project for the environment and help them continue their work. Let’s help connect them to the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants to get additional assistance to pursue their environmental projects,” Al Nuaimi added.
The Ford Grants are part of the company’s efforts to support grass-roots level initiatives that protect and preserve the environment and natural resources in the GCC and Levant countries, and have awarded a total of US$1.2million to more than 140 projects since its inception in 2000.
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 can apply.
Since the programme’s global launch over a decade ago, Ford has awarded more than US$2,000,000 in grants to over 300 high-quality projects throughout Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Central America, Middle East and Puerto Rico to further their environmental initiatives.
The GCC and Levant Chapter of the Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants has seen support from various governmental and non-governmental environmental authorities including the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Emirates Wildlife Society, the Arab Forum for Environment & Development (AFED) and UNESCO Doha.