Dear SeyCCAT friends,
We have already crossed the equator of 2021. Little surprise that this year comes with its own COVID challenges, but the overall trend seems positive. With this, it seems like a good time to share some updates from SeyCCAT on what we have been up to in the last months.
First, we have hosted our fifth call for proposals for the Blue Grants Fund (BGF5). The call took place over 6 weeks in May and June and had quite a few updates. First, we have introduced large grants of up to SCR 2 million for organizations with a good track record. Then, we partnered with a local business that contributed SCR 150,000 to the BGF as a Blue Business Grant to support an innovative Seychellois-led business idea. We also introduced an Early Feedback Lab, where interested applicants could get informal feedback on their BGF ideas from their peers and former BGF recipients.
As luck would have it, Seychelles entered a lockdown during the second week of the application window, and we had to move all in-person activities online. But even with that, we still received a remarkable number of applications (54), with a total requested amount of SCR 49.6 million (almost US$2 million), which is twice more than what was available for the BGF5. To us, it means that the projects are becoming more ambitious and are looking for impact at scale. Out of 41 medium and large grant applications, 22 have been invited to submit their full proposals at the second stage of the application process. You can find more insights here.
Second, we have secured US$4.7 million from international donors to support the marine spatial plan and effective management of the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Seychelles. With support from The Blue Nature Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Oceans5, and the Waitt Institute, the project will establish a governance system for the MPAs, leverage additional sustainable financing, and implement the building blocks of the MPA network. These building blocks include strengthening local capacity, bridging the financing gap, and engaging local stakeholders in ocean conservation. US$500,000 of these funds will be added to the next rounds of the BGF.
While we are happy with SeyCCAT’s accomplishments today, we are taking our future seriously too. With help of a grant from the Waitt Institute, we have started working on a business plan to ensure our financial sustainability in the years to come. The same grant will also help develop financing plans for two MPAs and one blue finance pilot project. Stay tuned for more updates.
And finally, I am pleased to introduce the new team members who have joined SeyCCAT so far in 2021. Please welcome Michel, Thembie, and Elke. Click on the link to learn more about them and what they are hoping to achieve in their new roles.
CEO of SeyCCAT