The GEF, UNDP Small Grants Programme, India
Retreat at Shilpi Resort, Near Shilpgram Udaipur
14th January-17th January, 2009, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India


Workshop Report      Acronym

CCF         Country Cooperation Framework
CDI         Capacity Development Initiative
CDM        Clean Development Mechanism

CEE         Centre for Environment Education
GEF         Global Environment Facility
GHG        Green House Gases
GOI         Government of India
KBPA       Kaun Banega Bharat ka Paryavaran Ambassador
M& E       Monitoring & Evaluation
MoEF      Ministry of Environment & Forest
NC          National Coordinator
NGO        Non Governmental Organization
NHI         National Host Institution
NSC        National Steering Committee
RAF         Resource Allocation Framework
RCs         Regional Coordinators
SGP         Small Grants Programme
SOPs       Standard Operating Procedures
UC           Utilization Certificate
UNDAF     United Nations Development Assistance Framework
UNDP       United Nations Development Programme


  • Analyse the efforts, output and impacts of SGP India programme and to discuss future strategies
  • Create a common understanding among the SGP team towards various aspects and issues of the Small Grants Programme, India
  • Share experiences of the Journey of SGP India so far and looking ahead

Participants: The SGP India retreat provided a platform bringing the SGP India team together from various part of India, to provide a common platform for cross sharing of learning’s and experiences. Mr. Hem Pande, (Joint Secretary, MoEF, GOI) was the chief guest of the event. He is also the GEF focal point and the chairman of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of SGP India. Mr. Kartikeya Sarabhai (Director, CEE and head of the NHI), Mr. Prabhjot Sodhi, National Coordinator of SGP India, Mr. Anil Arora (Senior Programme officer, UNDP India) Ms. Mehfuza Rehman & Mr. BMS Rathore (respected members of the NSC), Ms. Nayanika Singh (GEF consultant, India), SGP Regional Coordinators from the 7 regional cells, team members of SGP secretariat and few SGP partners from western pats of India participated in the workshop. Ms. Rixa Schwarz (Programme Officer, CEE Germany), Ms. Kiran Choker (Programme Director, CEE Delhi) and Mr. Richard Clugston (CEE U.S.A) were special invitees to the workshop)

Methodology: The workshop was planned in a participatory manner, where each lead presentation was followed by a question-answer round and open discussion.  


Day I: 14th January, 2009

The first day of the workshop started with a welcome dinner. This was an informal event and served the purpose of ice-breaking. At this event Mr. Hem Pande was introduced to the SGP India team, NSC members and special invitees from MoEF, CEE and SGP partners from western region. During his initial interaction with the SGP partners, Mr. Pande got a chance to look into and understand the SGP programme more deeply as he was exposed to people who are directly working at the grassroots.

Day II: 15th January, 2009

Session I
The formal sessions started on the IInd day of the workshop with a welcome note followed by an interactive session which was designed to understand the expectations of the participants from the workshop. This session was facilitated by NC. Following are some of the points on which participants expected to have discussions and clarifications:

  • Knowing the financial Systems IFSC, SWIFT Codes etc.- 
  • Delay in payments
  • Convergence and SGP & KBPA
  • Graduation policy – GEF Council sharing
  • IFC issue – display for SGP concepts/ SOP
  • Developing the strategies for formal sharing of information/ knowledge 
  • Solution exchange of UNDP in local languages
  • Graduation policy- how SGP Countries graduated- communities or the Programme
  • Sending agenda of NSC to RCs
  • SGP projects- eco-system wise or landscapes
  • Inter-exchange in RCm
  • How can we partner with other donors? – Technology exchange – DFID, GTZ, CRS etc. 
  • Convergence of best practices (of farmers )

 Session II

Before the formal inauguration of the workshop, two of the SGP partners from western India- Sahyoga Sansthan and  Prayatna Samiti shared their project activities and impacts created.

  • Sahayoga Sansthan: The SGP partner is working on the project titled ‘Comprehensive Model of Biodiversity Management in the Aravali mountain Ranges in Bhindar block, Udaipur district, Rajasthan.’ Mr. Heeralal sharma, who is the in-charge of the project shared details on this project. The NGO undertook this project to establish a comprehensive model of biodiversity conservation and management by strengthening people’s institutions to sustain conservation efforts. Their major activities included development and protection of pasturelands - common and private; development of individual private plots, plantation and seed sowing, construction of dry stone masonry boundary wall and construction of check-dams for effective soil water conservation in upstream areas of watershed. Through pastureland development, they hoped that increased production of grass would help farmers start dairy activities that would provide them additional income. To further strengthen this process, they undertook to set up and strengthen milk collection centers and aid some families, purchase breed animals with support from the bank. In addition, the project aimed to construct low cost water harvesting structures to recharge some wells for irrigation and renovate some old wells with good potential for water. Finally, they also focused on promoting mutual learning and sharing experiences with other like-minded agencies and successful programmes through exposure tours.

Mr. Shrama explained that the project activities are going on in 5 villages in Udaipur district and has benefited nearly 70-80% of marginalized population in which 50% fall below poverty line. Generation of alternate income source through livestock rearing and linkages to the market is an important component of the project. He said that towards project’s better implementation and to ensure its sustainability we are looking at convergence with existing Government programmes as well.

After the presentation, Mr. Pande expressed his interest in knowing the co-financing of the project, which was shared by PSS and Mr. Heeralal. Details are as follows-  
INR 50 thousand from dairy
INR 50 Lakh from wells community of India
INR 5 47 000 from -------------
INR 671000 from bank Loan

Prayatna Samiti: Mr. Mohan Dangi from Prayatna Samiti shared his experiences on two projects of the GEF UNDP Small Grants Programme. While sharing the experiences from the Jaisamand Catchment area, he showed how new technologies like Google image could be useful in planning & designing a project. While sharing the impacts created by the project he said that the project activities has helped in soil life sustenance in the area, water harvesting structures in the area helped increase moisture retention in soil providing better survival chances for small creatures and increased water availability in wells and streams.
Pasture land protection increased fodder availability enhancing animal husbandry and
increased Livelihood options.
He also shared the goal, objective and expected output from the second project approved under the Small Grants Programme. This project titled “Evolving a livelihood and ecological security based approach for revitalization of Makradi river basin” aims to enhance the  role of community in improving biodiversity of the Jaisamand Catchments and reducing vulnerability against shocks like erratic rainfall and drought.

After these two presentations from the SGP partners, Mr. Sodhi formally welcomed all the participants to the workshop. He extended his warm welcome to Mr. Hem Pande and thanked him for making it to the workshop despite his busy schedule.
After discussing the purpose of the workshop, Mr. Sodhi then presented a background of SGP as well as introduced participants with the UNDP CO CDI project. He also shared some of the good efforts done by the SGP partners in different thematic and geographical areas as well as entrepreneur networks established by them.

Kartikeya Sarabhai (KVS), shared his experiences with the SGP and the way forward. He told about the unique partnerships involved in the Small Grants programme. He showed his concern on the clarity of selection criteria of proposals, at the level of RC and NSC. He said that the wavelength of RC and NSC should be the same. He said that if a NSC member chairs the RCM then it could be helpful in bridging this gap. He said that to reduce this gap we have to look at many aspects and one of the important point is to improve the quality of documentation by the NGO.  He also said that we need to find out the champions for scaling up projects. He said that every project completed should get an appropriate opportunity to make presentations on its project to funding sources, so that to judge the potential  to scale up project activities. He suggested that to start with we should have 75 presentations of completed SGP projects from different geographic and thematic areas. This is to identify projects to be upscaled/replicated. He also stressed on knowledge sharing and creating a knowledge centre, to share the case studies from SGP India among south Asian countries. Establishing knowledge centres could play as a new role for graduating/upgraded countries. He said that it is a challenge for the SGP to mainstream state government into this programme, so that they feel more like a stakeholder in this programme. 

Mr. Anil Arora from UNDP was then invited to share UNDPs experiences on the Journey of SGP India so far. He said that he is associated with SGP from 2001 and has seen SGP growing from infancy. He shared UNDP's role in activities of the Small Grants Programme, since 1997 and the support received from MoEF in enlarging its scope year-after-year for up-scaling of projects.  This is clubbed with funding under CCF-I and CPAP and also the support provided to Water Small Grants.  The UNDP values the innovative work done by NGOs in different parts of the country.   With the catalytic role played by SGP this work, when has a scope of replication elsewhere, and is supported by co-funding and Government-level initiatives can make a huge difference to the lives of the communities.   While the GEF/SGP is a nation-wide programme, the UNDP funding is to support initiatives in the seven UNDAF States and should have strong component of community benefit rather than just global GHG emission reduction related interventions.   SGP is the only programme of UNDP where we are doing direct fund disbursements to NGOs.  UNDP stressed that the serious analysis and the quality of proposals is the key to the success of this programme.  Sometimes, the proposals are not presented/explained/understood by the NSC members.  The RCs should either support adequate elaborations or present the proposals of sensitive nature in person.   Kartikeya Sarabhai suggested that we can place to the next NSC for their consideration if tele-conference arrangement can be made between the RC/NGO and NSC members to seek clarifications.  

UNDP informed that we can provide a strong institution capacity building role to strengthen the Programme.  We did organize five Awareness Workshops in the year 2000-2001 and if any need is felt to organize similar such workshops to popularize the SGP Programme to seek quality proposals, we can look at the budget if a scope is possible in CDI project.   SGP should also look at proposals that link the "Research to Application" rather than looking at the standard thematic focal points of GEF. 

On the Graduation policy of Small Grants Programme, UNDP suggested if CEE could take up the Solution Exchange type role and provide assistance to Global Network.   Anil said that, if any help is needed, we can expose them to our Solution Exchange team in Delhi. 

After this presentation, Mr. Hem Pande was invited to share his views and the support of MoEF to the Small Grants Programme.He appreciated the efforts of Mr. Sodhi in taking the SGP this far and assured full support of MoEF to the SGP.  He informed that the SGP should establish more partnership and co-financing.   From MoEF side he assured that there is no shortage of funds for good proposals.   For GEF RAF-5, no proposals have been received so far.   If SGP has a good pipeline, let us have a proper vision towards SGP and funds can be accessed from RAF-5 in advance. He showed his great interest and concern in programmes like "Make Aravali Green" in a mission mode and link it to livelihood and his Ministry will be keen to support such an initiative.   The SGP should devise some methods to link up Private Sector to promote certain "Green money type" initiatives as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.  He informed that the GEF at Headquarters level is reviewing the Climate Fund and some changes are envisaged.   We do not know how the funds will be channeled to the countries.  We will have to have a "Wait and Watch" policy till GEF Secretariat announces their policies clearly.

Mr. Pande also stressed on community level planning of projects, involvement of local institutions like panchayat and municipalities and effective monitoring and evaluation process. He said that now we should plan to develop medium scale projects and not limit ourselves to small scale projects.

Session III

 Afternoon session started at 1400 hrs and was designed for more focused and thematic discussions.
Resource Allocation Framework (RAF): Mr. Sodhi started the afternoon session by sharing the details on the RAF strategy. The context and the concept of RAF was made clear to participants and it was informed that the India RAF strategy is endorsed by the NSC, MoEF and the GEF headquarters and also informed that strategy for M& E , knowledge management and networking is required. It was decided to send the final RAF strategy to all the RCs. While talking on the fund allocation it was informed that under the RAF, USD 10,00,000 has been allocated for projects on biodiversity and USD 14,00,000 under Climate Change. It is also decided that all the projects focusing on land degradation would be considered under biodiversity and projects focusing on reduction of PoPs would be considered under Climate Change. It was informed that RCs should take proper care while filling the information in the summary sheet and very clearly mention that under which grant (RAF/UNDP CO/ MoEF) it should be considered. It was also informed that under RAF there is still a balance of USD 1.310 million to be used by SGP. We need to utilize all RAF funds by June 2010.
Monitoring Systems and Indicators at Field Levels in projects:
Following the discussions on RAF, Mr. Ishwar poojar from CEE Karnataka made a presentation on Monitoring & evaluation. During his discussions he talked about both formal and informal methods of M&E techniques. Talking about the indicators he said that there are following type of monitoring indicators -Capability, Effectiveness , Efficiency and Impact. On this one of the participants suggested that it is always good to develop these indicators in consultation with the community which could also become as a capacity building activity. The issue of carbon credits became the point of discussion while Ishwar was discussing and sharing some examples on the efforts taken by the community in reduction of carbon emissions. Mr. Rathore said that voluntary market could be explored for the carbon credits. While exploring the option of the UNDP Anil informed that there is no funding under CDM from UNDP. Projects could be bundled and should be registered with the MoEF. It was also decided that in the coming NSC to put forth the idea of involving consultant for CDM projects and developing a proposal for the same.  Taking the discussion on M&E ahead one of the participant showed his concern on the resources required for doing M&E activity. Mr. Sodhi said that M&E activity for the SGP projects could be clubbed with other activities of CEE to save resources like time and money. It was also decided that a copy of all the evaluation reports of SGP projects should be sent to the SGP secretariat. It was suggested to develop M&E tools for relationship building. Mr. Sodhi said that meeting the District collector (DC) of the area should be an important part of the process.   

KBPA campaign: The campaign is supported by MoEF is being implemented by CEE in partnership with Arcelor Mittal, India. Manish briefed the participants on the campaign and explained the voting system both at school level and through e-voting. Both the processes of promotion as well as dissemination of the campaign were explained to the participants. To make the concept more clear KVS then explained the concept behind the campaign and future plans on phase II of the campaign.

Climate Change Education: Rixa, a colleague from CEE Germany shared her experiences from the Climate Change Education Workshop conducted on 8-9th January 2009 at CEE Ahmedabad.

Climate Change Education Programme:
Talking on the climate change education programme of CEE, KVS first shared the concept of footprint with all and how India having a relatively low foot print could take up the challenge of leapfrogging. He said that it is very important to let people know how one can make lifestyle changes to mitigate the climate change because if we start doing everything right today then also it will take time. Then he introduced the KBPA/Pick right campaign. He said that the ambassador selected has to give only 1 day for the environment to spread messages on climate change and its mitigation. He said that it is also possible to take this concept ahead by creating champions at local level in the next phase.
Anil suggested that since UNDP has a global network so this concept could be advertised and circulated in all 166 countries globally. Also it was decided to circulate 10 copies to all national/international agencies in Delhi and around.

Standard Operating Procedure: KVS explained the concept and importance of SOPs in an organization. He said that it’s a measure of quality assurance and a way of documenting a process. He informed that the latest SGP SOP manual for 2009 is ready to be printed. He said that the draft SOP could be shared with the participants to give their inputs and that the SOPs should reflect in action. While sharing the SOP on selection of proposals he stressed that we need to reduce the number of rejected proposal at the NSC level and for the NSC to be more clear on the proposals it would be a good idea to have a 3 minute video documentation of approved proposals, also if the chair of the RCm is the NSC member then the representation of proposals could be more clear. It is also good to make use of new technologies like Skype during such meetings. It was decided to develop a format for making video documentation of the selected proposals. As a matter of thumb rule it was informed that NSC would setup the criteria for selection of proposals which would be implemented at the RCm level.    

Day III: 16th  January, 2009

Ist  Half: Participants were taken around for the sightseeing in Udaipur City.  

Session IV

Afternoon session: Afternoon session started with a presentation on the SGP database. Manisha took the participants online to show the SGP India intranet. She showed various details to be filled into the database. She shared that all details has to be very accurate and one has to be very careful while filling these details as it is being monitored very strictly by the SGP headquarters in New York and is being taken as one of the important tool to measure the progress of the country in the Small Grants Programme.

General discussions: This was followed by general discussions on ideas and methods to make the programme better. Please refer to Annexe I, which highlights some of the major decisions taken. Mr. Umashankar, RCM member for South shared his views during this discussion. He said that while looking at scaling up projects we should look up at both temporal and geographical scaling up. We should encourage good NGOs and should find pragmatic way of evaluating programmes. Also there should be cross linkages of projects and recognition of good partners.
Following points were put forward while discussing selection criteria for the scaling up projects:

  • Achievement level of the first project
  • Strong activities to be owned by the Govt/community leading to ownerships
  • 2nd step should involve market linkage
  • Quantifiable impacts
  • Assessing needs
  • Linkages with Govt. schemes 
  • Increase geographical area, increased no. of  beneficiaries
  • Value addition

Responding to the Mr. Umashankar’s suggestion on cross linkages of projects Mr. Sodhi shared two of the SGP projects of Energy Research Application (ERA) and Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) and their linkages with SGP partners in different parts of the country. Dissemination process for both the projects was discussed and finalized with the RCs and would be circulated. Later Mr. Sodhi also announced that we need to do 5 workshops towards capacity building of SGP partners and RCs should send a 2 page note on the same.

This was followed by presentations by SGP teammates and Mr. Umashankar was requested to chair this session.

Session V

Innovation, New Ideas, & Pro activeness in project development:
A joint presentation was done by Simanta and Dr. Rath. After the presentation Mr. Umashankar said that we should bring together expertise of different NGOs but we should not get NGOs to do something which they cannot handle. Simanta and Dr.Rath shared their experiences on bringing partnerships in projects. They said that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Mr. Sodhi said that we need to draft a one page SOP on sharing partnerships with NGOs. It was then decided that RCs should share their experiences on such issues, with the secretariat and amongst each other.  

Sustainability and Links to Markets
Pramod Sharma presented his views and experiences on establishing market linkages for project partners. Pramod stressed on the fact that three things are important for marketing, which is packaging, process and production. He also said that critical mass is also an essential factor for marketing. Also NGOs should be capable of branding their products. After his presentation Umashankar said that market linkages ensures sustainability. But we need to be cautious of market and find out if market is supply driven or demand driven, as demand driven markets are more sustainable.

Records Maintenance in Projects and time periods:
Pritom De shared the accounting and record keeping system of SGP partners at secretariat level. Some of main points which came out during discussions are as follows-
-Delayed extensions are not encouraged and so RCs need to follow up with the NGOs to inform 3 months in advance about the extension period. Also discourage 2nd extension of the project, and even the first extension should be supported by proper justification.
-To keep a check on delayed payments it was decided that the updated list would be sent by Pritom on 25th of every month to all the RCs
- No information should be taken on telephone, all communications should be in written
-It was also suggested to take a copy of the front page of the pass book so that there is no confusion in account details which otherwise delays payments.

This was followed by 3 more presentations by Staish, Darpan and Venkat.
After all the presentations Mr. Umashankar was asked to share his views as a chair of the session as well as a RCM member. He said that a range of issues have been discussed here and I feel that the larger the grant the lesser is the productivity so grant is inversely proportional to the productivity. Projects which have created major impacts are the projects receiving smaller grants. The average quality of proposals is still very low and a huge amount of time goes in facilitating NGOs. He appreciated SGP officials who devotes their time patiently in working on the proposals with the NGO. He also appreciated Mr. Sodhi as a deep motivator and energetic person behind the success of SGP in India.   

Day IV

A field visit was organized to Department of Renewable Energy, in College of Technology &Engineering, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, Udaipur. Participants got to share and learn new technologies in renewable energy sector. It was decided to establish linkages of SGP partners with the department so that they could make good use of it. After some of the participants also went to visit the project site of Prayatna Samiti, a SGP partner in Udaipur.

Annexeure I
Important Decisions taken:

SOPs to be made on

  • Multiregional Scaling up Project
  • Cross-sharing experiences between stakeholders
  • Organizing of learning events in SGP (workshop, meeting, exposure visit)
  • Timely extension of projects
  • On NSC meeting day RC should be present in the office
  • Partnership within partners for proposal approval and implementation
  • Communication strategy
  • Knowledge Management
  • Involvement of government
  • Proposal Summary – for ex: Capital items details more than 10%, all columns to be filled
  • SOP on audit guidelines

Annexure II
Follow up action points & responsibility:

Action points Responsibility
Revising quarterly report formats to avoid duplication SGP Sect.
Examples for SOP manuals for RC’s SGP Sect. to send
Sending semi annual reports RCs
Sending  disbursement table by  25th  of every month SGP Sect.
Collective reduction of time span to release installments SGP team
NSC agenda’s to RC’s SGP sect.
Global guidelines for SGP to be sent to RCs SGP sect.
RCM minutes use NSC format RCs, format already sent by Sect.
Send copy of RAF strategy to RC’s SGP Sect.
Bank passbook front page Xerox copy along with signed MoA RCs
Send final approved proposal, UC format to partner and RC by Sect along with MOA and attachments SGP sect.
5 SGP workshops – 2 page note by RC’s to NC by 28th Feb 09, RCs
Developing proposal for CDM consultancy and discuss in next NSC meeting SGP Sect.
Send information of KBPA to UN agencies SGP Sect.
KBPA details to RCs SGP Sect.
Reorganize RCM RCs in consultation with NC
Reports of meeting, workshop RCs
Building enthusiasm within the programme SGP team
3 min video document format of project documentation RCs, format to be finalized by RCs in consultation with NC
Every SGP person to have Skype connection SGP Team
Partner brochures on website SGP Sect.
75 presentation by SGP partners also inviting state Government officials  and Key donors RCs in consultation with NC

Annexure II

Workshop presentations by participants, please find attached as a separate folder.