DUBAI – The Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants awarded a total of U.S. $100,000 to ten deserving environmental projects from the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Jordan and Lebanon. The Ford Grants is 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 has awarded a total of $1.1million to more than 130 projects since its inception in 2000.
The 2010 winners boast an eclectic mix of project themes – from coral reef and Arabian Leopard preservation; to a campaign to reduce illegal trade in wild and endangered species; to beach cleansing using robots and student environmental networks and more. A noteworthy trend for this year sees youth spearheading initiatives, with students leading or actively involved in four of the ten winning projects.
“The 2010 Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants saw our most diverse and interesting set of environmentalists to date, and we were particularly pleased to see students so actively involved in conservation efforts,” said Larry Prein, Ford Middle East's managing director. “Through the Ford Grants, we look to help sustain and grow these projects and continue to create an impact and instill environmental awareness across our communities.”
In Doha, a group of students from the College of North Atlantic-Qatar created an environmental research robot to clean the beaches of Qatar’s Ras Laffan Industrial City – a nesting habitat for the indigenous but endangered Hawksbill turtle. The Ford Grants boosted their efforts to build new robots with $15,000.
Students were also involved and actively participated in the Eco-Student Network, run by the Jordan Environment Society. Active since 2008, this initiative encourages students to become advocates for the environment and learn more about issues affecting their surroundings. The network allows them also to freely discuss and raise environmental issues, and work on activities that help spread awareness to other students and the community in general. Ford awarded US$10,000 to this project.
Also based in Jordan and specifically targeting youth, the Badia Center for Ecological Education has embarked on an intensive capacity building and public awareness campaign through workshops for students and teachers. With its activities, the center aims to enhance public knowledge on the wealth of Jordan’s natural heritage, protect the fauna of the Northeastern desert, and maintain animal gardens that protect species’ natural habitats. With its US$10,000 grant, Badia Center for Ecological Education aims to fund capacity building and to produce educational materials to be distributed through the center.
“Getting youth actively involved in environmental issues must be an important factor in protecting our local environment, which is why we’re delighted to see this trend emerging across so many of the recipients of the 2010 Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants,” said Hussein Murad, director of Sales at Ford Middle East. “We hope that we can help plant the seeds of environmental responsibility in the minds of our future generation. Through the Ford Grants and the legacy of Henry Ford, who was in the business of not only creating good products but also goodwill, we continue to give back to our local communities.”
Since the programme’s launch over a decade ago, Ford has awarded more than $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 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 most recently, UNESCO Doha.
An independent panel of nine jurors consisting of academics, as well as experts from environmental ministries and agencies, choose the winning projects in 2010. The judges 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.
Each year, the Ford Grants make a total of US$100,000 available to 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. The programme is open to applicants from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.
The recipients of the 2010 Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants, GCC and Levant Chapter:
• Jordan Environment Society, for their project: Eco-Students Network; Category: Environmental Education. Grant awarded: $10,000
• Badia Center for Ecological Education, for their project: Capacity building and Public awareness; Category: Environmental Education. Grant awarded: $10,000
• Dr. Salwa Tawk, for her project: Arabic version of Urban Agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa magazine; Category: Natural Environment and Environmental Education. Grant awarded: $10,000
• Animal Encounter, for their project: Long Term effect of zoo education on wildlife conservation; Category: Environmental Education. Grant awarded: $10,000
• Biosphere Expeditions, for their project: Dhofar Arabian Leopard Project (previous winner); Category: Natural Environment. Grant awarded: $12,000
• Biosphere Expeditions, for their project: Musandam Coral Reef Project; Category: Natural Environment. Grant awarded: $10,000
• Environment Society of Oman, for their project: Community Education on Masirah Island, Oman, the World’s Largest Loggerhead Turtle Rookery; Category: Natural Environment. Grant awarded: $7,000
• College of the North Atlantic, for their project: Build an Environmental Research Robot to clean the beach at Ras Laffan Industrial City; Category: Natural Environment. Grant awarded: $15,000
• Emirates Diving Association, for their project: Reef Check; Category: Natural Environment. Grant awarded: $9,000
• International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), for their project: Prevention of illegal trade of animals in ME region. Category: Natural Environment. Grant awarded: $7,000
For enquiries regarding the Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.