Ford To Provide USD100,000 to Help Environmental Projects in the Middle East

465Ford Motor Company will award a total of USD100,000 in Conservation and Environmental Grants to help fund existing environmental projects in the Middle East region. For the first time, the programme is extended to environmental projects in Yemen in addition to the GCC, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The deadline to send applications is on September 14, 2014.

Ahead of its 15th anniversary next year, the Ford Grants, which help grass-roots level projects in the Middle East, are already looking back on more than 150 successful green initiatives.

Over USD1 million has been allocated since the initiative first started in 2000 and the support helped projects to study and conserve the region’s rich biodiversity, to support recycling schemes and green building initiatives, as well as to raise conservation awareness. The Ford Grants is one of the largest corporate initiatives of its kind in the region, created to empower individuals and non-profit groups that are donating their time and efforts to preserve the environmental well-being of their communities.

In terms of monetary contributions, the Grants programme has had a significant impact in Lebanon, where a total of 37 projects received grants worth US$322,500 to date. In the Gulf, green projects from Saudi Arabia received the largest amount of support with a total of US$193,000 given to organisations in the Kingdom since 2000. Environmental projects in Oman received nearly US$160,000 in funding, while UAE-based projects were given US$149,500.

“As we look back on the programme’s heritage in the region, we are increasingly aware of the impact the Ford Grants could have had on the local communities where we serve our customers, supporting environmental groups and helping educate the public on important issues,” said Kalyana Sivagnanam, director of Ford Middle East & North Africa. “We are proud of the Ford Grants initiative in this region and of all the projects it has helped go further.”

In 2013, 17 environmental projects from Lebanon, Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq also received various grants. All of the entries awarded this year showed diverse methods in promoting environmental awareness and conservation across a broad spectrum of communities in the region. Themes ranged from awareness campaigns on saving water and sorting waste, awareness campaigns on renewable energy, a smartphone app allowing users to conduct simple energy audits at home and share with neighbours, and many more.

From Saudi Arabia, one project was selected as last year’s recipient of the initiative. The Curriculum Design for Wilderness Leadership Education in Arabia, submitted by Mrs. Aishah Abdallah was chosen as among the winning projects receiving USD6,500 grant. The project is a curriculum outline for wilderness leadership programs in the Arabian Peninsula designed to prepare wilderness leaders who are competent to plan and carry out environmentally-sound expeditions, to live and travel in wild lands safely and responsibly with minimal environmental impact. It is tailored to the natural ecosystems of the Arabian Peninsula, the activities and wilderness skills that are suited to them, and the heritage of cultural values, as well as constraints and opportunities of the society.

Individuals, community and non-profit groups that have projects currently running in the areas of preservation of the natural environment, environmental education or conservation engineering can apply via the online form (http://fordmegrants.com/en) until September 14, 2014, for a chance to share the total grants of USD100,000. Eligible countries include: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Yemen.

The Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants has seen support from various governmental and non-governmental environmental authorities from around the Middle East, including the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Emirates Wildlife Society, the Arab Forum for Environment & Development (AFED) and UNESCO Doha.

Winners are chosen by an independent panel of jurors consisting of academics, as well as experts from environmental organisations. The judges – who are carefully selected in association with UNESCO Doha, based on geographical coverage, age and gender equality – 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.

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