Description of project

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have a critical role to play and have already done important work in the development and implementation of conservation strategies and in increasing public awareness of the implications of loss of biodiversity in the Caribbean islands. This project aimed to strengthen the capacity of CSOs to play a larger and more effective role in biodiversity conservation as it relates to sustainable development efforts. It did this through supporting implementation of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) Caribbean islands programme, which is investing US$6.9 million in supporting CSOs involved in biodiversity conservation in eleven Caribbean countries. CANARI is acting as the Regional Implementing Team (RIT). This project was designed to support the CEPF investment by: strengthening the ability of CANARI to perform the RIT role and strategically link this with its other work; and helping to build the capacity of CSOs to design relevant projects, successfully apply for CEPF and other grants, effectively and efficiently implement projects, and share lessons learnt. The USD$475,000 project was implemented from 2011 through 2014, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


  • CANARI established a pool of Caribbean mentors who are providing support to national and local CSOs working in biodiversity conservation. They produced a participatory video to evaluate their experiences as mentors. They found mentoring to be a very positive experience for them personally and a very effective strategy for building the capacity of CSOs, especially at the local level. CANARI has adopted mentoring as a capacity building strategy across its programmes and projects and is promoting this approach with other stakeholders in the region.
  • CANARI developed its Strategic Plan 2011-2016 (in English FrenchSpanish), with a strategic results-oriented framework for eleven targeted and inter-linked programmes. The Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy is being used to assess results and lessons learnt at strategic, programme and project levels. A participatory evaluation of CANARI’s Rural Livelihoods programme was conducted, where local community groups inputted into development of the results map in the Rural Livelihoods Programme plan In the evaluation, they assessed what results had already been achieved and where more work was needed.

Key activities and results

  • CANARI enhanced its capacity to provide effective and sustained support to CSOs through participatory development     of a strategic results-oriented framework in its Strategic Plan 2011-2016 (EnglishSpanishFrench). A Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy is guiding assessment of results and lessons at the strategic, programme and project levels (more on monitoring and evaluation).
  • CANARI strengthened its information management system, and in particular is exploring development of a unique online digital library on participatory natural resource management in the Caribbean islands.
  • CANARI strengthened communication of its work guided by a new Communication Strategy. CANARI is developing a variety  of communication products targeted to communicate specific messages to identified audiences. New and expanded channels of communication used are Caribbean listservs, print and audiovisual media, social media and CANARI’s website.

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  • Twenty Caribbean mentors supported national and local CSOs working in biodiversity conservation across 11 countries. CANARI selected twenty mentors based across the 11 CEPF countries and built their capacity in mentoring, supporting CSOs with organisational strengthening and communication and development and implementation of projects on biodiversity conservation  (more on developing Caribbean mentors). Mentors worked with 64 CSOs in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to strengthen their capacity in project development and proposal writing, project management, monitoring and evaluation, organisational development, communication and advocacy (more on national workshops).
  • CSOs networked with each other and their partners and used action learning to share information and experiences and foster collaboration and coordination. In the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, CANARI facilitated networking and action learning among CSOs engaged in the CEPF Caribbean islands programme and their partners (more on networking and action learning). CANARI also facilitated information sharing among 15 representatives of CSOs and with key regional partners about implementation of the CEPF Caribbean islands programme and results being achieved and lessons learnt. Continued information sharing is being facilitated via the CEPF Capacité newsletter and CANARI’s Facebook page, where many CSOs continue to post updates about their work. CANARI is also facilitating collaboration among 17 leading CSOs across the Caribbean in its role as Chair of the IUCN Caribbean Regional Committee. This ongoing collaboration was strengthened through establishment in 2013 of Nature Caribé as a regional network of CSOs in the Caribbean dedicated to environmental governance, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
  • 15 CSOs built their capacity in financial management for CEPF projects. Fifteen representatives of CEPF grantee organisations from six countries (The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti and Jamaica) enhanced their financial management capacity specific to implementation of CEPF grants. The regional training workshop examined best practices and lessons learnt on internal controls and accounting systems and enhanced understanding of CEPF’s procurement and accounting policies through a case study.





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For more information, contact Nicole Leotaud, Executive Director [email protected]

See related work under CANARI’s Civil Society and Governance and Capacity building programmes.