24 Nov 2020

Introducing Hatch: boosting conservation from the ground up

We’re excited to launch Hatch, a new initiative from the BirdLife Partnership that supports the growth and performance of environmental civil society organisations around the world.

By Shaun Hurrell

Today, it is almost unimaginable that there once were no BirdLife Partners in countries such as Madagascar, Brazil, Indonesia, Fiji, Morocco. To think of these countries without the vital work of these independent, national conservation organisations is harrowing and, in just a couple of short decades, the difference they’ve made for birds, habitats and local people is striking.

What do they have in common? The BirdLife Partnership has helped them develop from small operations into highly successful organisations that qualify as BirdLife Partners. SAVE Brasil, for example, began as a BirdLife Country Programme in 2000, focused on the Atlantic Forest. Now it has grown into a fantastic, independent, national NGO with its own members, public profile and 20 full-time staff.

Working to protect nature invariably involves working with people. That’s why BirdLife puts local people and civil society at the heart of conservation. It may sometimes have taken a back seat in our communications, but this work is crucial; a global network of effective environmental organisations and trained professionals is a vital force to protect and sustain the world’s nature and people.

A core focus of BirdLife’s work is establishing national conservation organisations in countries (especially those rich in biodiversity) where there are none present. Whilst there are over 100 BirdLife Partners around the world, there is still a lot of work to be done. Or – if you will – more NGOs to hatch…

The trouble isn’t just the lack of organisations, though. Often very little funding for environmental conservation goes beyond projects to include the lifeline needed to support the growth and sustainability of its existing organisations and leaders, let alone give them the space for creativity and to find new solutions.

KENVO, a Kenyan volunteer group, offers power (and planting) to the people © Providence Akayezu

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Now the world needs conservationists more than ever: with at least one million species of plants and animals now threatened with extinction, the challenge is increasing every day. To respond, they need our support. So we’ve upped the ambition of our hitherto behind-the-scenes work with people and organisations, and we’re calling it Hatch.

Imagine the change possible if BirdLife Partners and local groups were even stronger. What if they were able to expand their efforts to protect more species and landscapes? What if they were able to work with more local communities and constituencies?

“We believe that networks of skilled, committed, and entrepreneurial individuals and organisations are the key to unlocking the transformative change needed for a sustainable future for our planet”, says Lenke Balint, Head of Communities & Capacity Development at BirdLife. “But the resources needed to address complex conservation challenges are limited, particularly in some of the most biologically rich areas in the world. Hatch harnesses the power of the Partnership to close this resourcing gap by investing in the people and organisations that make conservation happen.”

 

 

Nature Mauritanie is a great example of the amazing power of the BirdLife Partnership in supporting national conservation organisations in countries with rich biodiversity and emergent civil society. Working in close collaboration with Vogelbescherming Nederland (BirdLife in the Netherlands) as well as BirdLife Secretariat, in less than a decade Nature Mauritanie has transformed from a one-person operation to a pioneering, effective, national organisation that become a BirdLife Partner in 2016. Currently, they work at seven biodiversity-rich wetland sites with seven full time staff, and have a new, clear and ambitious strategy that plans engagement and positive influence on regional and international issues.

“Hatch’s strength lies in the supervision and technical support of the BirdLife Partnership at all levels”, says Djibril Diallo, Founder & Executive Director of Nature Mauritanie. “We see Hatch as the ONLY opportunity to move towards technical and financial empowerment.”

The Hatch website showcases previous successes from across the BirdLife Partnership, providing example of our work in the three core areas of Hatch. Head over there today to find out how we’re strengthening the BirdLife Partnership, developing future conservation leaders, and mobilising civil society at the grassroots.

 

Find out more at hatch.birdlife.org