If MEWR and NEA wish to nurture more ground-up initiatives and increase the number of new environmental NGOs and groups in the new year, here are some suggestions for them to help the green community:
1) Provide Space
The green community needs office space to do their work, and meeting and training rooms to liaise with their partners and volunteers. Instead of spending their limited funding to rent spaces, the money could be better spent on their programmes. MEWR and NEA can come in to offer pro bono spaces for them, or help them connect with companies who are willing to host the groups.
2) Co-create Policies
Help them help you. The various departments and sections within MEWR and NEA may deal with various aspects of a single topic or policy (3P, Policy and Planning, specific Waste or Cleaning departments, Industry Development, etc). There is a need to work together and co-create solutions and tackle policies.
If the green groups have a meeting on a particular topic or policy, help them identify the other stakeholders within MEWR and NEA who needs to be on the same table. Explain to them why certain policies are the way they are. If there are things that the NGOs or groups can do, be bold enough to let them do it.
3) Adjust Funding
The current 3P Partnership Fund and Call for Ideas Fund by NEA do not include funding for manpower and selected categories. Instead of prescribing which categories can be funded, NEA can provide funding based on results. A performance-based funding scheme allows the groups to use the funding to pay for expenses, including for manpower, prizes, etc. Of course, the expenses in those categorues must be reasonable and agreed upon before approval. The amount of funding disbursed will be based on the KPIs agreed.
At the end of the day, the results matter more than dictating which categories can or cannot be funded. If a project can’t be executed properly because of a lack of funding for manpower (or other expenses that are not funded), then both the group and NEA would lose out in the end.