The Small Grants Programme (SGP) is a corporate programme of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It provides support for community-based innovation and empowerment.

The SGP’s unique approach is based on three closely inter-connected pillars: global environmental benefits, poverty reduction and community empowerment. The eradication of poverty has been identified as the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. In a vicious cycle of poverty leading to environmental degradation and then to more poverty, poor communities become the victims themselves. But it is also at the community level where solutions and effective action can emerge.

The SGP is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 1992. SGP grant-making in 125 countries promotes community-based innovation, capacity development, and empowerment through sustainable development projects of local civil society organizations with special consideration for indigenous peoples, women and youth.

The programme supports biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, prevention of land degradation, protection of international waters, and reduction of the impact of chemicals and waste, while generating sustainable livelihoods.

Since its establishment, the SGP provided more than 20,000 grants in 133 developing countries, demonstrating that global environmental problems can be best addressed when local people are involved and direct community benefits and ownership are generated.

The SGP channels financial and technical support directly to Civil Society Organization (CSOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) mostly in poor and often remote areas for initiatives that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s livelihoods and wellbeing. The principle of “thinking globally, acting locally” has put the essence of sustainable development into action, based on the interconnected pillars of environmental protection, poverty reduction and community empowerment. As such, the SGP made Community Action, Global Impact its mission statement.

Most of the SGP grant-making is channeled through regular grants of up to US$50,000, but averaging US$25,000 per project. To further support organizations and communities in need of strengthening their capacity and experience in project design and management, there are also planning grants, which range from US$2,000 to US$5,000. More experienced country programmes can also access to strategic project grants, of up to US$150,000 and for regional or global initiatives.

Although grants are relatively modest, they have been effective in demonstrating innovative approaches to global environmental problems at the community level.

By working through small-scale interventions, the SGP can readily support community-based experimentation and test innovation. This approach proved to be effective in meeting community needs. Successful community strategies can then be replicated and scaled up through networking with other communities and civil society organizations, attracting in turn additional donor support. Global environmental benefits are generated through the cumulative effect of small-scale, community-based efforts and strategies.

For more than two decades, the GEF SGP has linked matters of local, national, and global importance through a transparent, participatory, and country-driven yet globally coherent approach to community-based project planning, design, and implementa­tion. Grants are approved by voluntary, multi-stakeholder National Steering Commit­tees, with a majority of civil society members, encouraging maximum country and community initiative and ownership.

National Steering Committee 

The National Steering Committee (NSC) is the main decision-making body of the SGP in a country. Non-governmental members represent the majority of the NSC membership. Strong, experienced, and technically competent civil society representation on the NSC is crucial as a means of keeping the SGP responsive to its mandate to work with CBOs and NGOs. Other NSC members include academic and scientific institutions, the UNDP Country Office and a representative from the government, making the NSC a truly multi-stakeholder committee.

The NSC is responsible for the overall oversight of the country programme, by providing input, endorsing and overseeing the implementation of the Country Programme Strategy –the guidelines for the implementation and grant making in each country programme.

The NSC reviews, selects and approves projects for SGP funding support.

All NSC members contribute to their responsibilities on a voluntary basis. Membership and responsibilities of the NSC are as below:

  • Main decision-making body of the SGP in a country.
  • Provides input and endorsement to the Country Programme Strategy
  • Oversees the implementation of the Country Programme Strategy.
  • Reviews and approves projects.
  • Helps with resource mobilization
  • Leads scaling up efforts through policy formulation and mainstreaming.  

The NSC decisions are adopted under the principle of consensus, and rarely resort to voting to determine whether a project is approved or a particular course of action is taken. Operationally, the decisions of the NSC are considered final. The objectivity, transparency and credibility of the NSC are of paramount importance to the success of the country programme. Thus, country programmes cannot consider proposals associated with organizations of NSC active members.

NSC members serve for a period of three years, which can be renewed for a maximum of one additional term. Nomination of the non-governmental NSC members is done in a consultative process with the civil society community in the country and is coordinated by the National Coordinator. The final list of NSC members is reviewed and finalized with the UNDP Resident Representative and ratified by the responsible Central Programme Management Team (CPMT) Regional Focal Point. The UNDP Resident Representative provides the appointment letters to NSC members on behalf of the SGP.

We the GEF SGP Small Grants Programme, implemented by UNDP Maldives is looking for individuals who are technically strong, passionate about contributing to community development and eager to engage voluntarily and serve as a member of our NSC in providing input, endorsing and overseeing the implementation of the GEF SGP Country Programme Strategy.

The following are focal areas by sector of representation needed in the NSC for period of January 2020 to December 2021.

  • NGO/ CBO
  • Media
  • Youth
  • Gender

Interested individuals are requested to send a letter of interest with the CV to copied to before 1st March 2020, 5.00 pm.

For further information, please contact:

GEF SGP Hotline: (+960) 7678767

Fathimath Saeedha
National Coordinator
GEF Small Grants Programme
United Nations Development Programme
Malé, Maldives

Tel: +960 334-3217
Fax: +960 332-4504

Hussain Jauson Lomo
Programme Assistant – Small Grants Programme
United Nations Development Programme
Malé, Maldives

Tel: +960 334-3205
Fax: +960 332-4504

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Maldives 
Go to UNDP Global