The presentation of the "Save your River"
Small Grants Programme was held by Wetlands International Black Sea
Programme on 30 September - 1 October 2004 in Kyiv. Fifty-one
representatives of the environmental NGOs (members of the Ukrainian
Rivers Network and Public Council of All-Ukraine Environmental NGOs
that functions under the aegis of the Ministry of the Environment of
Ukraine), Ministry of the Environment of Ukraine, State Agency for
Protected Areas, State Committee of the Water Industry of Ukraine,
Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Taras
Shevchenko National University, UNDP-GEF Dnipro Basin Environment
Programme and British Council all took part in the workshop.
The Small Grants Programme was implemented in 2003-2004
with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and
Food Quality. Registered organisations - members of the Ukrainian
Rivers Network (all-Ukrainian association of NGOs working on the
conservation and rehabilitation of rivers) - were awarded grants.
Grants did not exceed 5,000 Euros, however only well-prepared and
high-quality projects received the maximum possible grant. Twenty
eight projects were supported.
Amongst the projects presented were: Wetlands
International Black Sea Programme's project, directed at supporting
NGOs working on the conservation of small rivers, and the Ukrainian
Rivers Network, its web-site and CD, "Small Rivers of Ukraine:
Public Participation in their Conservation and Sustainable Use",
as well as a training course on "Public Participation in the
Conservation of Small Rivers". Each project leader delivered a
presentation on his/her project.
The participants discussed the projects presented and it
was agreed that the Small Grants Programme had had important
practical results. It had promoted the consolidation of environmental
NGOs and increased the participation of the general public in river
conservation, allowing new ideas about nature use to be realised.
Contributing to the success of the Small Grants Programme was the
emphasis on: practical activities in river conservation, involving
young people and children, increasing the awareness of the local
population, publishing and disseminating informative material, and
co-operating with local authorities. The Small Grants Programme had
helped to promote the enhanced capacity of environmental NGOs to
conserve and rehabilitate rivers. It had also been useful in
establishing partnerships between NGOs and government bodies and
increasing of the role of civil society in solving environmental
Participants recognised that the Small Grants Programme
on the Conservation of Rivers should be continued. They also proposed
that activities to promote public participation should be continued
and suggested the following directions: enhancing the importance of
public monitoring of the state of rivers and its influence on
decision-making at the local level; the preparation and conducting of
public campaigns; the development and implementation of Local
Environmental Action Programmes focussed on the management of
small-river basins; and the preparation of the scientific rationales
for the establishment of protected areas.
Participants also mentioned that the workshop had been
of a high organisational and professional standard and well run. The
undoubted highlight of the workshop was the performance entitled
"Adventures of a Water Droplet" by the children's
environmental theatre of "Yunisphera" Public Children's
Association from Boyarka town, Kyivska Oblast.