GEF Small Grants Programme


Kenya is endowed with globally significant terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity: the country is home to over 6,500 plant species, more than 260 of which are found nowhere else in the world, and there is a higher concentration of large mammals in Kenya than almost anywhere else on the planet. The country's varied and diverse ecosystems are of paramount importance to socioeconomic development, with a strong cultural identity and a large proportion of livelihoods linked to agricultural activities, and the fact that forest, wetland, and seascape ecosystems are central to the lives of many communities, particularly in rural areas.  

Kenya is extremely susceptible to climate-related effects, and extreme weather events pose serious threats to both Kenya's rich biodiversity and the socioeconomic development of the country. The key drivers of the economy are primarily natural resource-based, and therefore climate sensitive; cumulative impacts of climate change over the next two to three decades have the potential to reverse much of the progress made towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs) and Vision 2030, the development blueprint of the country. The costs of climate change impacts, especially droughts and floods, could be equivalent to 2.6% of Kenya’s annual GDP by 2030, with devastating consequences for the environment, society and the wider economy.

Project objectives

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) of UNDP, which was launched in 1992, the year of the Rio Summit, channels financial, technical and capacity building assistance directly to civil society organizations for activities that conserve the environment while enhancing people’s wellbeing and livelihoods. Special consideration is given to projects that support women groups, the youth, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. SGP recognizes that environmental degradation such as the destruction of ecosystems and the species that depend upon them, increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, pollution of international waters, land degradation and the spread of persistent organic pollutants are life-threatening challenges that endanger us all. However, poor and vulnerable communities - SGP's primary stakeholders - are most at risk because they depend on access to natural resources for their livelihoods and often live in fragile ecosystems.

In Kenya, since 1993 SGP has supported over 400 small grants projects in the areas of Biodiversity, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management, International Waters and Chemicals. SGP entered its Sixth Operational Phase in Kenya in 2017, and three ecologically sensitive areas of global and national significance were selected for the implementation of this Phase: the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests - both protected under the World Heritage Convention - and the biodiversity-rich marine ecosystem of southern Kenya. While these areas provide important ecosystem services to the country and are essential for the livelihoods of pastoralist, agricultural, and fisher communities, they all present different levels of biodiversity loss and land degradation, exacerbated by climate change.

Through the project, SGP will provide grants to community organizations in rural areas of the Kenya Lakes System in the Great Rift Valley, the marine ecosystem of Southern Kenya, and the sacred MijiKenda Kaya forests, to develop and implement adaptive land/seascape management strategies that enhance social, economic and ecological resilience built upon and maintained through the production of global environmental and local sustainable development benefits. 



June 2017


February 2022






UNDP Office for Project Servic


Global Environment Fund Truste









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