Monday, February 7, 2011


UAE, 07 February, 2011 – The Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants today awarded two projects from the UAE aimed at the preservation of UAE’s coral reefs and the fight against the illegal trade of animals in the region.

The Emirates Diving Association, with its project Reef Check, received US$9,000 from Ford to fund training programmes for volunteers and for the collection of data during the reef check surveys in Al Aqqa, Rul Dibba and Al Faqeet around the East coast. The Reef Check project not only collects scientific data important for the conservation of the marine environment but also provides volunteers information in layman’s terms to understand the status of the UAE’s coral reefs and know the main threats. With this project, it is also hoped that the local communities will have increased awareness on the state of coral reefs and the need to conserve them.

The illegal trade of animals, particularly a large number of sharks and shark fins which are being exported from Yemen to parts of Asia, has been rampant largely due to lack of awareness. As such, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) embraced the responsibility to provide training to enforcement officials and to facilitate cross-border cooperation to address the problem.

IFAW embarked on the project Reducing Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Middle East to which a grant of US$7,000 has been awarded in order to engage participants from the environment, fisheries and customs agencies in a specialised shark protection workshop. Through the various trainings and workshops, IFAW aims to increase the level of knowledge of the species and awareness of the conservation threats thereby influencing the community to reduce illegal trade activity and ultimately protect the ecologically-important animals.

“Both projects that received grants from Ford emphasise the community's role in protecting the environment. We commend the determination of EDA and IFAW in pursuing extensive awareness campaigns through training programmes and workshops,” said Hussein Murad, director of Sales at Ford Middle East.  “Through the Ford Grants and the legacy of Henry Ford who was in the business of not only creating good products but goodwill, we continue to give back to our local communities where we serve.”
The Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants is a grass-root level programme that has offered US$1.1 million in grants to over 130 Middle Eastern environmental projects since its launch in 2000.

In the Middle East, the initiative has seen support from various governmental and non-governmental environmental authorities including the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Emirates Wildlife Society, the Arab Forum for Environment & Development (AFED) and most recently, the UNESCO Doha.

An independent panel of nine jurors consisting of academics, as well as experts from environmental ministries and agencies choose the winning projects that demonstrated a well-defined sense of purpose, a commitment to maximizing available resources, and a reputation for meeting objectives and delivering planned programmes and services.

Each year, the Ford Grants make a total of US$100,000 available to individuals, community and non-profit groups that have projects currently running in the areas of preservation of the natural environment, environmental education and conservation engineering. The programme is open to applicants from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.

Since the programme’s launch over a decade ago, Ford has awarded more than US$2,000,000 in grants to over 300 high-quality projects throughout Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Central America, Middle East and Puerto Rico to further their environmental initiatives.

For enquiries regarding the Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants, please write to


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