Community renewable energy efforts boosted by latest round of funding

Eight biogas projects, seven in Upolu and one in Savaii, will be implemented, thanks to the latest round of funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP).
This is the first time the UNDP GEF-SGP has supported biogas projects in Samoa.
The use of biogas – largely considered a clean energy source that recycles organic waste into renewable energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions – is part of the nation-wide push for renewable energy consumption to minimize the heavy reliance on traditional sources.
A total of 35 community projects are being funded under this new grant, totalling more than $1,600,00 Tala.
“The Tanumapua Baptist Church is blessed to be a part of this exciting opportunity where we are being provided with these biogas units.
The benefit we will have through being able to make our own cooking gas, the health benefits from not having to be exposed to smoke while cooking, and the organic fertilizers that the units provide will be life changing for our community group. We can’t thank GEF-SGP enough for supporting our project,” said Edwin Tamasese, Project Coordinator, Tanumapua Baptist Church.
Other key thematic areas the new funding is supporting include organic farming, waste management, marine reserves, mangroves replanting, gender empowerment, collaboration, innovation, policy approaches, and scaling up of existing smaller projects.
“This grant will enable our community to contribute to a green environment through waste management and healthy living by encouraging our youth to champion the environment cause and be proactive in piloting vegetable keyhole gardens,” said Leuluaitumua Richard Tafua, Saleaumua Youth.
An inception workshop was held today in Savaii, and yesterday in Upolu, to sign the Memorandum of Agreement between the successful community applicants and SGP, and to hand over their grants.
“On behalf of our group, we would like to thank SGP for the informative workshop. We are delighted that our proposal is one of the fortunate ones,” said Aolele Robert Pereira, Project Coordinator, Lalomanu Village Women’s Committee.
“Today’s inception workshop highlights the important role of local communities, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples as key agents of change to address global challenges including climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.
It also underscores the important role of partnerships and financing to achieve Sustainable Development Goals,” said Jorn Sorensen, Resident Representative, UNDP.
Since its establishment in Samoa in 2003, SGP has supported environment-focused programmes, delivering an estimated US$5.2 million dollars for about 300 small grant projects on climate knowledge and advocacy, capacity building, financing, technology transfer, adaptation and mitigation.