Five projects for a total of EUR 93,071 have benefited from support under the 2010 cycle of the Small Grants Fund, which was the first cycle of this AEWA support scheme. Two projects of the 2010 cycle - one from Kenya and one from Madagascar - have meanwhile been successfully completed, while activities are ongoing for three projects in Egypt, Ethiopia and Gambia.

The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat is particularly grateful for the voluntary financial contributions from the Government of France (EUR 56,500) and Switzerland (EUR 27,398) which went a long way to complement the EUR 20,000 from the AEWA core budget.

Completed projects

Madagascar Pond-heron (Ardeola idae) © Johannes Pfleiderer

Both completed projects focused on the conservation of the Madagascar Pond-heron (Ardeola idae), a small heron listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Under the auspices of AEWA and the Convention on Migratory Species, an International Single Species Action Plan (SSAP) was developed for the species in 2008. The now completed projects addressed a number of the priority actions set out in this SSAP.

The first project was carried out in Kenya, in the non-breeding range of the Madagascar Pond-heron, by the National Museums of Kenya. In the course of the project implementation, a total of 102 wetlands were visited in order to identify key sites for the species and increase knowledge on its distribution, ecology and habitat requirements. A total of 49 Madagascar Pond-herons were recorded in 23 of the monitored wetlands, 16 of which had no previous documented occurrence of the species.

The project also enabled the training of six project monitors and some 50 African Waterfowl Census volunteers in the identification of the species. In addition, awareness-raising activities were carried out, such as the organization of a workshop at which the project results were presented, as well as the development and dissemination to various stakeholders of species posters and brochures. A newly set-up team of 17 individuals and 4 community-based organizations will be involved in future monitoring activities.

For more information on this project, please contact Mr Henry K. Ndithia, National Museums of Kenya, at


The second project was implemented in Madagascar where the species’ main breeding grounds are located. Led by Asity Madagascar, the country’s BirdLife International’s partner, and in cooperation with a number of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, project activities included the development and maintenance of a database containing information on the heron’s distribution and ecology, as well as the establishment of a national expert network aimed at facilitating exchange of data on the Madagascar Pond-heron.


A monitoring programme was, furthermore, established which helped to identify two new breeding sites for the species (Lake Ravelobe and Lake Mataborimena). Overall, 17 sites were visited during the project phase and monitoring continues to be provided for 14 wetlands. In addition, a heron identification guide was produced and disseminated, and training on the identification of the species was carried out for key stakeholders. For the purposes of awareness-raising, posters, radio programmes and a film on the Madagascar Pond-heron, were produced and distributed or broadcast.

More information on this project can be obtained from Mr Rivo Rabarisoa, Asity Madagascar, at

The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat congratulates the project partners on the successful implementation of the projects which mark an important step towards the conservation of the Madagascar Pond-heron and are hoped to continue to produce sustainable results.

Ongoing projects

The three ongoing SGF projects of the 2010 cycle include:

  • A project carried out by the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society. The main objective of the project is to conserve the White-winged Flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi)  in its only known core breeding site. The project also has other components aimed at improving the livelihoods of community members in need by engaging them in alternative income generating activities, to reduce the pressure on the wetlands.
  • A project carried out by the Natural Protected Areas of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, which surveys ten Red Sea islands that are Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and cover a diversity of important habitats for breeding, roosting and feeding of the birds, such as islands, mangroves, rocky and sandy beaches, isles, cliffs, open water, coral reefs, sea grass beds and tidal flats.The project aims to estimate the size of the breeding populations, assess the protection and management status of these populations and to promote awareness on the species and their conservation needs. Expected outputs include the designation of a waterbird survey methodology, the launch of a waterbird count database, the organization of training workshops on waterbirds monitoring techniques and the production of awareness-raising material.
  • A project carried out by the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM) in Gambia, which focuses on waterbird monitoring on the Bijol Islands. DPWM has monitored waterbirds on these islands, which are of great ornithological importance, since 1999; the collected data is used by Wetlands International and other stakeholders. The project aims to contribute to the sustainable management of the islands and their avifauna through increasing knowledge on the species which use the islands. It also wants to raise awareness on migratory waterbird species and improve capacity of range states and international cooperation towards migratory waterbird conservation.

For more information on the outcome of the assessment of projects proposed for funding under the 2010 cycle of the AEWA Small Grants Fund please click here.

For additional information on the AEWA SGF, please click here.