Reviewing GEF-Small Grants Programme projects

December 31, 2021

Men and women in Tsangpo under Thrimshing, Trashigang readying their land for rehabilitation

To review the remaining activities of the ongoing 23 projects of the GEF-Small Grants Programme, an annual review and planning workshop was organized from 16-18 November. About 30 participants from the CSOs, community-based organizations (CBOs) and gewog (block) extension officials attended the workshop themed ‘impact, inclusion and innovation’ - the core approaches of SGP’s operational phase 7 (2020-2024). The workshop was also attended by UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative Khurshid Alam, representatives from Gross National Happiness Commission and SGP’s steering and technical committee members.

GEF-Small Grants Programme is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB). 

During the workshop the progress and plan for the remaining activities were reviewed and results of past projects were showcased.   Participants also exchanged project results, experiences and good practices, and knowledge on project implementation. SGP’s review and planning workshop promotes peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices and lessons and problem solving through reflective learning. 

New project managers and officials were oriented on SGP’s processes, progress reporting, financials norms, soft skills, and knowledge management practices. The workshop participants also gained exposure to innovative knowledge products such as photo-stores, videos, how-to-manuals, and creative use of social networking sites by grantees. Participants also learned about results-based management and monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management and communication, and photography basics.

Participants celebrating SGP-UNDP’s 200th project milestone

Currently the 23 micro projects are under implementation spread across eight districts, implemented by five CSOs, one religious organization and 17 CBOs. They are supported by government technical agencies and gewog-based Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) extension officials. Some of the CSOs grantees are Tarayana Foundation, Loden Foundation, Bhutan Ecological Society, Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Handicrafts Association of Bhutan, and Respect Educate Nurture and Empower Women. Some of the community-based organization grantees are Bhutan Birdlife Society, Youth Advocacy Network-Bhutan, Zhenphen- a youth group for people with blindness, Chubjekha women group, Community Forest Networking Group of Zhemgang, and Sarphu Fishery Farm among others.  The projects mainly in areas of biodiversity conservation, water, sustainable forest and land management, and climate change are concentrated in Pema Gatshel, a SGP’s operational phase 7landscape. For 2021, a cumulative total of 28 projects (see list below) are implemented, supported by SGP’s steering committee and technical committee members. 

In January 2021, 10 projects were approved, of which nine were supported for COVID-19 response under SGP-UNDP’s COVID-19 response offer. In August 2021 seven more projects were approved by SGP’s steering committee achieving a milestone of 200th project supported under SGP and Royal Government over the last 23 years. 

Venerable Khempo Karma from Pemalingpa Foundation presenting the progress of the project 'Watershed Management of Tamshing Chhu through Integrated Water Resource Management to enhance ecosystem services

List of GEF-SGP Projects, 2021

Projects approved in January 2021 (COVID-19 response offer)

1.      Attaining food self-sufficiency for women through Organic farming during COVID-19 situation in Chubjekha (USD 34,900), Chubjekha Women Group, Paro.

2.      Capacity building for citizen science and ecological restoration of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Bhutan (USD 30,600), Bhutan Birdlife Society.

3.      Fishery Development for rural livelihood and conservation of fish species in Sarphu (USD 24,770), Sarphu Fishery Farm, Chukha

4.      Nature for all - an inclusive nature garden for persons with disabilities (PWDs) (USD 30,380), Zhenphen Group (youth group composed of PwDs).

5.      Reverting Degraded Fallow Land into Climate Smart Agriculture in Thrimshing (USD 37,280), Dripla Hazzey Sonam Deytshen.

6.      Water catchment management to provide 24x7 water supply for community vitality at Jagathang (USD 8,670), Chitheun Tshogpa, Paro.

7.      Watershed Management of Tamshing Chhu through Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) to enhance ecosystem services, (USD 27,700), Pema Lingpa Foundation.

8.      Young Environmental Advocates Initiative for Bhutan (USD 17,200), Youth Advocacy Network Bhutan.

Lions Share Fund

9.      Community-Based Aquaponic Agriculture, Virtual Tourism and Community Awareness (USD 45,000), Bhutan Ecological Society.


10.   National policy dialogue(s) regarding the sustainability and upscaling of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLs) conservation approach (USD 33,000), Bhutan Ecological Society.

Projects approved in August 2021

11.   Community-based eco-friendly production of plates and cups from areca nut palm leaf for women’s livelihood in Menchu Chiwog (USD 30,400), Menchu Penden Tshogpa, Pema Gatshel.

12.   Developing climate resilient communities through appropriate adaptation and mitigation interventions at Yagyur and Khengzor, Pema Gatshel (USD 45,900), Tarayana Foundation.

13.   Promoting nature-based solutions and alternative livelihoods through introduction of bamboo handicrafts for Norbugang NWFP Group (USD 27,000), Shingman Group, Pema Gatshel.

14.   Community-based clean and renewable energy for Aja community in Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (USD 50,000), Bhutan Ecological Society.

15.   Promotion of agro-forestry to reduce slash and burn practices for livelihood diversification (USD 22,900), Bangyul Vegetable Group.

16.   Socially inclusive rehabilitation of fallow land for sustainable agriculture and farming in Dawami (USD 49,800), Dawami Norjuenmai Sanam Detshen.

17.   Soil and land management to enhance farmland in Labar and Bongman, Pema Gatshel (USD 24,000), Shingming Thenkhe.

Other ongoing projects

18.   Building Climate Resilient Community through Sustainable land and forest management in Thasa village (USD 32,000), Tarayana Foundation.

19.   Building community resilience through youth-based small-scale beekeeping for sustainable rural livelihood and ecosystem enhancement (USD 30,100), Budashi Beekepers, Zhemgang.

20.   Innovative community-based sustainable bamboo enterprise development to reduce pressure on forest resources in Lower Zhemgang (USD 44,900), Handicrafts Association of Bhutan.

21.   Leveraging Cultural and Scientific Knowledge and Practices for Environmental Conservation in Tali (USD 33,550), Loden Foundation

22.   Promotion of Biogas cooking in rural homes of Chimmong to reduce GHG emissions and enhance health of women (USD 38,300), Chimong Gonor Thenked Gongphel Tshogpa.

23.   Improving Peling wetland and agricultural lands through integrated community-based conservation approaches in Dechhenling, Pema Gatshel, (USD 38,500), Royal Society for Protection of Nature.

24.   Floriculture to improve livelihoods of women and girls in difficult circumstances in Gawaling, Thimphu (USD 41,500), RENEW.

Big Cats Innovation Programme

25.   Community-based integrated approach for tiger conservation in Dangchu (USD 50,000), Chubar Dendupcholing Community Forest Group.

26.   Conservation of tigers through compassion and alternative livelihood interventions in Buffer Zone of RMNP (USD 50,000), Bhutan Ecological Society.

27.   Fostering Community Participation in Snow Leopard Conservation in Jomolhari Landscape (USD 50,000), Soe, Yaksa, Lingzhi Snow Leopard Conservation Committee.

28.   Protecting Tiger and its habitat outside the protected areas through community participation in Zhemgang Forest Division (USD 50,000), Community Forest Networking Group.