Humans have endangered their compatriots, the fellow inhabitants of planet Earth, in myriad ways. It’s now our responsibility as a race, to preserve what remains and protect what flourishes. Taking a noteworthy step in this direction, is the newly formed “Habitats Trust”. This foundation offers monetary grants and other support, to on-ground organisations or individuals working to conserve wildlife and its habitats, among other initiatives. I was recently invited to attend the Felicitation Ceremony, where these grants were awarded to a select few after a rigorous selection procedure. Read on to know more about the Foundation, the Grant, and the awardees.
THE HABITATS TRUST:
Founded by Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the Executive Director & CEO of HCL Corporation and Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, along with her husband Shikhar Malhotra, Executive Director of HCL Corporation, Vice-Chairman HCL Healthcare, Trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation and Pro Chancellor Shiv Nadar University; The Habitats Trust aims to “protect natural habitats and their indigenous species through strategic partnerships, focused on-ground efforts, awareness generation and engaging technology for conservation.”
Run by a group of passionate individuals with a single-minded purpose, the Foundation began in August 2018 and has already made an impact in the wildlife conservation sector. One of its most important components is the Habitats Trust Grant.
Panel discussion with the eminent jury at the felicitation ceremony
THE HABITATS TRUST GRANTS:
The Foundation has instituted Grants in three categories, through which it hopes to encourage and enable the ongoing efforts of pioneers in the field of wildlife conservation. The Grants will be an annual initiative and will provide financial support and help the Grant awardees with “capacity and capability building”.
The three categories of the Grant are:
“Strategic Partnerships Grant”, meant for collaborating with mid-to-large sized organisations to work towards a common goal by pooling in resources.
“Lesser-Known Habitats Grant”, awarded to organisations and individuals working to preserve habitats that are often overlooked in a media-driven world of conservation.
“Lesser-Known Species Grant”, awarded to organisations and individuals working to preserve endangered species that are often overshadowed by more celebrated species.
The eminent jury. From L-R clockwise: Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Brian Heath, Dr. M. K. Ranjitsinh, Bahar Dutt
THE SELECTION PROCEDURE FOR THE HABITATS TRUST GRANTS:
Applications are invited for the annual Grants online. This is followed by a rigorous selection procedure involving three rounds.
This year, the Grants received over 300 online applications. After the first level of screening, 15 organizations were shortlisted. These 15 projects were then paid field visits on their sites, after which 9 finalists were selected. These 9 were put to strict scrutiny by a jury consisting of stalwarts in the field of conservation, who then chose the winning 3.
The eminent jury included Dr. M. K. Ranjitsinh, the architect of the Wildlife Protection Act of India; Bahar Dutt, journalist and environmental editor; Brian Heath, conservationist and CEO of the Mara Conservancy, an organisation specialising in the Mara Triangle in Kenya, Africa; and Roshni Nadar Malhotra.
The three winners. From L-R- ReefWatch Marine Conservation, Foundation for Ecological Security, Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra
THE AWARDEES OF THE GRANTS:
For the sake of brevity, I’ll explain the work of the winners in each category, but only link to the other finalists’ websites. I urge you to visit and read about each organisation if you’re interested in this field.
Strategic Partnerships Grant:
Winner- Foundation for Ecological Security
This Foundation will work towards increasing the rapidly deteriorating forest cover in Nagaland with the Grant amount
Conservation Wildlands Trust
Lesser-Known Habitats Grant:
Winner– ReefWatch Marine Conservation
This organisation is doing some pioneering work to preserve the world’s coral reefs. They will begin conservation work in the Chidiyatapu area of Andaman & Nicobar Islands with the Grant amount
Lesser-Known Species Grant:
Winner– Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra
This organisation will work to preserve the endangered Indian Pangolin, which is currently the world’s most trafficked mammal with the Grant amount
Earth Day Network India
With Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the Founder of the Habitats Trust
ABOUT THE FELICITATION CEREMONY:
The felicitation ceremony was held in the lovely Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (read more about it here), in Saket, Delhi. The evening began with an informative panel discussion with members of the jury, before moving on to movie clips of the work of each finalist. After the awards ceremony was over, the attendees hobnobbed over cocktails and a lavish vegetarian spread by Kwality Catering.
It was a well-organised, memorable and enlightening evening. I certainly walked away with a higher sense of purpose.
If you like this post, you may be interested to read about young individuals taking care of abandoned animals in urban spaces- click here to read.
INFORMATION TO KNOW:
If you’d like to work with any of the awardees or other finalists, please contact them on their websites linked above.
Contact on email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Grant Amount this year was INR 50 lakh rupees- 25 lakh for the Strategic Partnership Grant, 15 lakh for the Lesser-Known Habitats Grant and 10 lakh for the Lesser-Known Species Grant. An additional 10% of the Grant amount in each category was awarded to other finalists. The Grant also includes technological and other support.
This is a small vlog of the Felicitation Ceremony. Follow me on Instagram at theladylawyer for more real-time content.
*All pictures, unless indicated were taken on my iPhone. Copyright belongs to nooranandchawla
**This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to the felicitation ceremony and wanted to share the wonderful work of these organisations with everyone.