Four Adaptation Projects Approved in South Africa through Innovative Community Program Funded by Adaptation Fund

South African National Biodiversity Institute Implements Projects through ‘Enhanced Direct Access’ Approach with Community Small Grant Facility

Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2016) — In an innovative approach to respond to local climate adaptation needs, a pilot Community Adaptation Small Grants Facility in South Africa funded by the Adaptation Fund (AF) has reached a milestone with the approvals of its first four projects.

A US$2.44 million program funded by AF and implemented by the Fund’s accredited National Implementing Entity (NIE) for South Africa – the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) – the Small Grants Facility (SGF) aims to channel resources to support responses to climate change that are identified and implemented by affected local communities.

As an NIE, SANBI is also part of the Fund’s pioneering Direct Access modality – which provides developing countries the opportunity to access resources and build local and national climate adaptation capacity directly.

“One of the strengths of the way the Adaptation Fund works is that it allows us to respond in a multi-pronged way to the needs of the communities in the areas where we are working,” said Mandy Barnett, Project Director for SANBI. “In the Small Grants Facility similarly, we have interventions looking at climate resilient livelihoods, climate smart agriculture, and climate proof settlements responding to the needs expressed by the communities in vulnerability assessments and the project development process.”

The overall SGF project is focused on two areas of South Africa that are especially vulnerable to climate change – the Mopani District in Limpopo within the northeast and the Namakwa District in the Northern Cape of the northwest part of the country. Both are subject to warming temperatures, increasing intensity of rainfall events and variability, water scarcity and droughts, seasonal shifts and storm-related disasters that will negatively impact already stressed, rural and poor communities that have limited capacity to adapt. The SGF strives to increase climate resilience and socio-economic systems in the two areas by working directly with local stakeholders and anticipated beneficiaries to reduce their vulnerability and increase their resilience to climate change.

The SGF further aims to implement climate adaptation response strategies into local practices so that assets, livelihoods and ecosystem services are protected from climate-induced risks by providing small grants to vulnerable communities that deliver tangible and sustainable benefits; empowering local institutions to identify and implement adaptation response measures; and compiling and sharing lessons learned to facilitate scaling up and replication of SGF approaches.

After issuing a call for SGF project concepts in October 2015 and following a thorough review process, the first four project concepts were approved for contracting and implementation by SANBI’s Steering Committee. Local communities will work in partnership on the projects with community-based organizations to build resilience to climate change.

“The SGF builds on the principles of Direct Access and involving and empowering communities through capacity building and delivering tangible benefits,” said Adaptation Fund Board Chair Naresh Sharma. “So this is very good news and an important achievement for the enhanced Direct Access modality.” 

The four approved SGF projects include:

  • Community members of the Suid Bokkeveld and Soebasfontein villages in partnership with the Environmental Monitoring Group will work together to respond to increasing temperatures and limited water resources by insulating houses, enhancing water harvesting and installing water-saving techniques through the introduction of compost toilets.
  • Livestock farmers in the Leliefontein village will benefit from the “Biodiversity and Red Meat Cooperative-Land & Livestock Adaptation” project through an implementation partnership with Gondwana Alive that will ensure that village farmers have livestock that is better adapted to current and future projected climate conditions. “I will benefit from this because there is an idea of also planting grain for the animals,” said Jakob Oortman, a farmer in Leliefontein, which is in the Northern Cape. “It will help the animals during times of drought so I am ready to take this on.” “It is our communal area where we are grazing with the livestock,” added Banie Links, another Leliefontein farmer. “So we intend to improve it in order to have sustainable livelihoods through an organization or cooperation.”
  • Vulnerable small-scale rooibos farmers of the Suid Bokkeveld community will enhance rooibos (legume plant variety) production and processing by optimizing the sustainable use of land and water resources in collaboration with the Heiveld Cooperative, which is a community-based cooperative in Nieuwoudtville.
  • Communities across Namakwa will benefit from a savings project that will ensure vulnerable communities have access to financial services like savings and credit to build more adaptive capacity through better financial management mechanisms.

For a video about the SGF project, click here. SANBI also works with an executing entity (SouthSouthNorth) and local facilitating agencies (Conservation South Africa in Namakwa and CHoiCe Trust in Mopani District) to carry out the projects.



Since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has committed US$338 million to support 52 concrete, localized climate adaptation and resilience projects in 46 countries, with 3.57 million direct beneficiaries.

Communications: Matthew Pueschel, or +1 202 473 6743




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