Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Grant

WWF-US / James Morgan


WWF’s Russell E Train Education for Nature Program (EFN) invites proposals focused on collaborative capacity building related to (i) environmental and social impacts and risks of development projects on ecosystems and their services and (ii) enhancing inclusive conservation and sustainable development. The Environmental and Social Impact Grant aims to provide competitive financial support to teams and institutions working in Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar focusing on enhancing capacities to address environmental and social impact assessment capacity building needs with an emphasis on local communities and local practitioners.

The proposals should target diverse audiences involved in addressing social and environmental issues associated with the execution and management of conservation and development initiatives, particularly with a focus on WWF key goals including climate, food, forests, freshwater, oceans, and wildlife.

The proposed activities should be completed before August 2023 and applicants may request up to US$ 15,000. Please note that funding will vary and proposals should provide strong justification for all budgetary items. Applications must be submitted through the online portal by April 29, 2022 at 11:59pm ET.




At the heart of connecting nature and people is the inextricable link between inclusive conservation and sustainable development. Inclusive conservation plays a critical role in ensuring the diversity of human-ecosystem interactions with an emphasis on sustainable livelihoods and developing capacity to accelerate responsiveness in tackling potential adverse impacts to people and the environment. In Africa, efforts are underway to implement interventions and actions that collectively strengthen the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. However, the complexity of balancing loss of biodiversity with development continues to demonstrate that achieving inclusive conservation and sustainable development requires action to deliver institutional and individual capacities in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The capacities to achieve social, environmental and governance standards are still inadequate in many countries. International institutions and non-governmental organizations often rely on consultants to fill this gap, fulfilling requirements for due diligence, but not creating local ownership and therefore making implementation more difficult. Collectively strengthening capacities of country systems is crucial in ensuring ownership and accountability. This approach involves taking into account environmental and social risks while putting in place both direct mitigation measures and adaptation measures that are attuned to the long-term vision of inclusive conservation and sustainable development.

In the last 27 years, EFN has been at the forefront of advancing research, training, and education through the provision of funds to individuals and institutions to address critical challenges facing biodiversity conservation in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. EFN incorporates multidimensional and multi-partner capacity development strategies at different levels (individuals, institutions, and networks) and cycles (early, mid-career, and senior professionals). Further, WWF has made significant progress in implementing institutional mechanisms to enhance social well-being of communities and ensure adequate delivery of conservation outcomes in places where we work. Diversified efforts are needed to strengthen these institutional mechanisms and abilities, but cannot be reached without the work and support of national institutions, local communities and organizations, and youth, who often are ill-equipped to drive and achieve the goals of addressing environmental and social impacts.

Building on this extensive experience, the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Grant seeks to build capacity and empower communities to achieve development objectives and inclusive conservation with projects that robustly address environmental and social issues.


Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria to be considered for a grant:

  • Organization must be legally registered in an eligible country (Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar).
  • Teams or organizations must have a track record in capacity building related to environmental and social impacts, application thereof to local activities related to conservation and development; and ability to monitor results.
  • Organization must submit all required documents by the application deadline.
  • Organization must complete all grant activities before August 2023.
  • The proposals must include active learning, practical skill components, mentoring and/or field-based learning activity that build skills and knowledge for local stakeholders, institutions and networks. Priority is given to local organizations that focus on addressing challenges of development that affect ecosystems and their services and enhancing sustainable development and conservation.
  • Organizations must commit to show how they will accomplish expected outputs within the context of country-specific regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Organizations must commit to support work that is focused on WWF’s six ambitious goals including climate, food, forests, freshwater, oceans and wildlife.


Proposals should seek to engage diverse groups and sectors with emphasis on the following:

  • Developing skills, good practice, and standards. These should include hands-on activities and case-studies that directly address the dual institutional challenges and gaps to understanding and mitigating the potential social and environmental impacts and risks associated with development programs and projects and opportunities for enhancing inclusive conservation objectives to achieve sustainable development.
  • Engaging diverse stakeholders, including gender mainstreaming and involvement of local and indigenous people and communities.
  • Fostering a professional network among individuals and organizations with emphasis on collaboration and information exchange. Priority will be given to proposals that seek to strengthen collaboration with local associations (e.g., conservation professionals, impact assessment professionals, environmental journalists, urban and regional planners or environmental lawyers), and regional bodies.
  • Strengthening institutional capacities to address governance challenges related to conservation, development, and infrastructure projects and to improving the expertise and experience of individuals and communities to achieve impact assessment and conservation outcomes collaboratively, including attention to cumulative effects, strategic level cooperation and the use of nature-based solutions to environmental impacts and risks.

Proposals will identify their contribution to improving one or more of the following ten thematic areas:

  • Participation and dialogue with diverse stakeholders
  • Inclusion of young people and other underserved groups in conservation and sustainable development
  • Gender dimensions and mainstreaming
  • Inclusive and equitable use, conservation, and governance of natural resources
  • Restoration, protection, and management of biodiversity
  • Productivity and resilience of tropical ecosystems, ocean and coastal resource use
  • Equitable social and economic benefits to stakeholders
  • Cross-sectoral and long-term planning and management, risk identification and mitigation
  • Role of technology, capacity development, or innovation
  • Community-based management of natural resources and community enterprises linked to sustainable resource management


Project proposals will undergo a rigorous and competitive selection process and scored based on a set of criteria including, but not limited to the following score areas:

  • Proposed objectives and goals - the proposed work demonstrates an understanding of the rationale, the proposed activities are feasible within the proposed work plan, and the budget is realistic.
  • Project impact – both short- and long-term impacts as well as far-reaching outcomes on environmental and social sustainability beyond proposed timeframe whilst taking into consideration a risk assessment; Contribution to capacity development and ecological and social outcomes.
  • Project measurability - the proposed initiative has measurable outcomes and outputs.
  • Project scalability and transferability - the proposed activities can be scaled to context specific and are replicable.
  • Collaborations - projects that enhance partnerships with a clear outline of each stakeholders’ role in delivering the proposed objectives.


The call will close on April 29th, 2022 at 11:59pm ET. An overview of the grant timeline is below. The application is available here.

  • February 1, 2022: Online application portal opens
  • April 29, 2022: Deadline for proposal submissions - deadline extended
  • April-May 2022: Selection process
  • June 2022: Successful applicants informed
  • June-July 2022: Contracts signed, and grants issued


The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Grant, supported by Charlotte Bingham, seeks to build capacity and empower communities to achieve development objectives and inclusive conservation with projects that robustly address environmental and social issues. Charlotte believes the key to attaining inclusive conservation and sustainable development is collaboration at the local level among those who are engaged in development, conservation, and environmental and social impact assessment.

After 40 years doing environmental and social impact assessment, including training, Charlotte understands this is only part of the solution. She says, “Let us break down the silos of conservation, biodiversity restoration, impact assessment, economic development, etc., by interacting together whatever our roles (conservation managers, urban planners, impact assessors, food aid workers, farmers, fisherfolk, and so on). Let us focus on nature-based solutions and educate each other. To do so requires action anchored in thinking big about the whole planet and its interdependent resources, but at the same time delivering action locally, creating local ownership and using local knowledge to promote equity in access to resources and recognition of our place in nature.” Charlotte’s hope is that those who offer proposals will think broadly and deliver innovative solutions.


For all inquiries and questions about Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Grants, please contact [email protected].