U-Recycle Initiative Africa has emerged winner of the 2023 Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program.
U-Recycle Initiative Africa advances environmental education, a circular economy, youth development, and climate action. Its PlasticWize Fellowship initiative is designed to build the largest campus movement geared towards tackling plastic pollution in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. This initiative is designed to empower university students across Nigeria with the knowledge, tools, and resources to take a stand against marine plastic pollution through proactive, comprehensive, and creative interventions.
The Global Environment Facility selected 23 civil society organizations as winners of its 2023 Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program, a novel initiative reflecting a commitment to support and elevate community-driven climate and nature projects and the unique contributions of Indigenous Peoples, women, girls, and young people across the GEF partnership.
The winning projects were announced during the GEF Assembly, a once-every-four-year gathering of 185 countries taking place in Vancouver.
Each awardee will receive a grant of up to $100,000 and gain access to networking, training, and knowledge exchange opportunities through the GEF, a family of funds that finances international efforts to address biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.
The winning organizations will be celebrated during the Assembly’s Partnership Forum and will share their experiences in a number of panels and sessions throughout the week, reflecting the GEF’s focus on supporting environmental action and results through a “whole of society” approach.
“Global environmental challenges affect us all, but their impacts are almost entirely locally felt. It is our privilege to celebrate and fund these locally-designed, locally-led remedies for climate resilience, coastline protection, biodiversity conservation, and more.
The Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program is a concrete example of our focus on supporting civil society and lifting up the voices and innovations of Indigenous Peoples, women, youth, and others who have been historically under-represented in international environmental financing and policy.”
The 23 winners were chosen from nearly 600 applications, by a selection panel made up of the GEF’s CSO Network, Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Group, and Gender Partnership, as well as youth representatives linked to international environmental conventions.
They span 26 countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bolivia, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uganda.
Esther Morenikeji Emmanuel of U-recycle Initiative Africa, one of the winning groups, said support from the Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program would help expand the organization’s efforts to reduce plastic waste in Nigeria.
In her words:
“If you want to see change, you have to start small in the areas where you can have a direct impact. It is also easy to begin taking action locally because you can see the issues so clearly.”
Tom Bui, Canada’s representative on the GEF Council, welcomed the Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program as a cornerstone of the gathering in Vancouver where a record number of civil society representatives are sharing their perspectives and priorities, on the stage and at the table.
The Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program is funded by the Global Environment Facility’s two climate change adaptation funds – the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) – which have worked for more than 20 years to close financing gaps and provide targeted funding to meet the specific needs of the world’s most vulnerable countries.
It builds on the record of an earlier SCCF- and LDCF- funded initiative, the Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation, which has provided two rounds of seed funding for innovative initiatives designed to help address the effects of the climate crisis.