Top: Members of the National Union of Community Forest Development Committee. The DayLight/Harry Browne

By the National Union of Community Forest Development Committees

“Around the world, more than 5 billion people lack meaningful access to justice. The Legal Empowerment Fund (LEF) is the first initiative dedicated solely to closing the global justice gap by investing in locally driven solutions and bringing community-level strategies to scale.

In January 2022, the LEF initiated its inaugural funding cycle with a month-long open call for proposals. We invited grassroots activists and organizations doing legal empowerment work anywhere in the world to apply for flexible funding.

The response was staggering. We received more than 4,800 applications from 153 countries. In all, groups requested more than $233 million in funding—a true testament to the overwhelming need for greater investment at the grassroots level.

After a comprehensive review and participatory selection process, 49 groups were chosen to make up the LEF’s first-ever cohort of grantees” (Funds for Global Human Rights – July 11, 2022).

The National Union of Community Forestry Development Committees is happy to be one of the 47 organizations to benefit from this fund. A grant totaling Forty thousand United States Dollars (US$40,000.00) will be provided to NUCFDCs in two installments. The first twenty thousand United States Dollars is already being provided to the NUCFDCs since the signing of the grant agreement in June 2022. This first installment is to cover June 2022 to May 2023 while the second installment will be provided once the first report is satisfied.

The fund provided to the NUCFDCs is a portion of a little over one hundred thousand United States Dollars project that the NUCFDCs has initiated with a focus on creating more awareness and strengthening the capacity of communities within the former Timber Sale Contract (TSC) Areas to acquire their Customary Land title.

The NUCFDCs is grateful to the Global Funds for Human Rights (GFHRs) for selecting the organization among thousands of organizations to be the amount the first grantees of the Legal Fund for Empowerment.

Though the fund provided is not the total funds the NUCFDCs needs to fully implement it desired project, which focuses on communities within the former Timber Sale Contract Areas by increasing their knowledge of Customary Land Acquisition and are able to initiate the processes leading to acquiring their customary land titles.

The NUCFDCs is appreciating GFHRs for this support and calling on other donors and partners to help/collaborate with the NUCFDCs to get the additional funds for a successful implementation of the project.

The project is targeting 101 communities within 11 Timber Sale Contract Areas in Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, and Grand Bassa.

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