In implementing PONT Supervisory Board’s decision to extend its conservation programme to the Wider Ohrid area, and complementing the support provided to the protected area authorities, PONT has recently awarded grants to five non-governmental organizations, in cooperation with the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
The grant to the AlbNatyra Association focuses on reducing the threats to the natural values of Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park in Albania by establishing a Monitoring and Reporting Network of volunteers from among the local community members. AlbNatyra will assist the network in establishing effective collaboration with the park authorities, and police and firefighting departments of the local governments of Librazhd and Prrenjas. The grant also seeks to raise the awareness among the local community members and other stakeholders of the values of the park and the need for their protection and sustainable use.
The grant to the non-governmental organization ‘Me, the Woman’, focuses on the Pogradec Terrestrial/Aquatic Territory Protected Landscape in Albania. The grantee will implement its activities through the Network of Local Active Groups (NLAG), established in 2020 and currently bringing together representatives from local environmental non-governmental organizations, resource use associations, informal women and youth groups, and local authorities. The grant will strengthen the capacity of NLAG members to engage with decision-makers and businesses to conserve natural values of the area and promote sustainable practices and behaviour. Me, the Woman will also initiate the establishment of a transboundary network of civil society organizations in the Prespa-Ohrid region to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing concerning biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.
In North Macedonia, the Center for Environmental Research and Information – Eko-svest will establish a pool of volunteers and train them to use digital, open-source mapping tools for monitoring of natural values in the Vevchanski Springs Monument of Nature. To ensure sustained support from volunteers in the long-term, the grantee will raise the awareness among local young people of the natural values of their area and the need for active participation in nature protection.
In Galicica National Park, the Ohrid branch of the Red Cross organization will develop two educational modules for kindergarten and elementary school children. In close collaboration with the park authorities, the grant will increase the awareness about the need for the protection of caves and bats among the local schoolchildren and build local capacity to ensure continuity of environmental education activities in the long-term.
The grant to the Association for Active Tourism – Explorer will promote the conservation ethics ‘Leave No Trace’ to minimize the impact of recreation activities in Galicica National Park and the Lake Ohrid region. Through training and pilot activities, Explorer will integrate the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles into the visitor services provided by its members – local businesses and civil organizations organizing nature adventure activities. The grant will also help establish the Friends of Galicica National Park as a participatory digital platform of nature-based tourism stakeholders.