Whitley Awards for Grassroots Conservation Leaders in Global South

Whitley Fund for Nature

Relevent Country: Russia

The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is inviting applications for the Whitley Awards to support dynamic, mid-career conservationists who are leading wildlife conservation projects in the Global South.

Winning a Whitley Award is not just about receiving financial support. WFN also accelerates the careers of conservationists by welcoming them to the world stage; increased visibility builds local pride for, and participation in, projects on-the-ground. It helps winners inspire more philanthropic support from new sources, and connect with other conservationists to share successes, failures and resources. In turn, with greater credibility, conservationists are in a better position to influence environmental policy on a regional, national and international scale.

Funding Information

  • Whitley Awards are worth £40,000 GBP in project funding over one year.


  • During the week of the Whitley Awards ceremony in London, winners receive PR training, social media advice and speech coaching. This helps them to effectively communicate their work to an international audience and capitalise on the media spotlight following their win.
  • They also host events at which winners can network with funders, journalists, and NGOs.
  • Overseas and online training, where the agenda is set by alumni and focused on peer-to-peer exchange is also provided in some of the core skills necessary to the delivery of successful projects on the ground. Winners also gain access to pro-bono legal support.
  • Every cohort also joins a global community of peers with whom they can share knowledge, experiences and encouragement.

What WFN will fund?

  • Not High Income Economy countries – Wildlife conservation projects led by local leaders based in countries that are not defined as a High Income Economy by the World Bank. Exceptions to this criterion include Equatorial Guinea and certain island nations in the Caribbean.
  • Nationals with local support – The Whitley Awards support nationals of the country in which they are working (i.e. you were born there or have lived there a long time and achieved national status.) If you are not a national but believe you have an exceptional case based on long term residency (15+ years) and a demonstrable commitment to that country/region, then please contact WFN.
  • They seek grassroots conservationists who are embedded in and/or from the communities where they work. Applicants should work for or lead locally incorporated NGOs in the Global South, rather than be in-country staff employed by NGOs headquartered in the Global North.
  • Good communicators and passionate people – people who will inspire others and importantly, who will collaborate and share results. Please note applicants must be able to communicate in English.
  • Leadership and teamwork – Whitley Awards are won by individuals backed by an appropriate team/organisation. Individuals working in isolation and team/joint entries are not eligible.
  • Projects that are based on scientific evidence and understanding – this can be in the leader, expertise on the team, or via partners/collaboration.
  • Ecosystem/landscape level projects are preferred. Genuine flagships are accepted, but not if results are purely species-specific.

Sustainable projects.

What kind of conservation work does WFN fund?

  • Ecosystem landscape level approach – WFN has a broad scope of interest but projects must be focused on nature conservation. Threatened habitat conservation; projects utilising flagship species as a focal point for mobilising local communities; biodiversity conservation and linked livelihood development projects which reduce pressure on wild resources or utilise wild resources sustainably; human-wildlife conflict resolution; anti-poaching; in-situ conservation of endangered species.
  • Local stakeholder involvement – WFN look for projects which actively involve and genuinely engage the local community and build capacity. Community and stakeholder education is considered very important to successful nature conservation projects. But winning projects will have an explicit biodiversity conservation focus. Purely or predominantly rural/development projects will not be eligible.
  • Evidence of prior success of proposed activities is essential, with appropriate metrics.
  • Pragmatic, replicable and scalable – Pragmatic, grassroots initiatives will be given priority over purely scientific or academic activities. WFN is keen to support those who have started on a smaller scale and now want to expand, replicate or scale up their activities.
  • Measureable outcomes – They seek projects that deliver real change and include actions that will have clear, measurable outcomes. It is important to demonstrate that careful thought has been given to determine what indicators can be measured to evidence impact.

What WFN will not fund?

  • Projects based in High Income Economies as defined by the World Bank.
  • MSc/PhD fieldwork – if students benefit from a project funded that is great, but they will not fund the fieldwork as an end to itself.
  • Expeditions and conference attendance.
  • ‘Start-up’ or pilot projects. Evidence of prior success is very important.
  • Absentee leaders – especially if the leader is mid-PhD and will be absent from the project for long periods and/or based abroad. ‘One-person bands’ – people who will not reward emerging leadership on their team, train team members or who are reluctant to collaborate.
  • Joint applications or nominations for someone else.
  • Pure rural/economic/sustainable development where direct conservation benefits are hard to quantify.
  • Land purchase or projects focused on construction of buildings.
  • Animal welfare & rehabilitation of captive animals.
  • They are regrettably unable to consider ANY applications for projects in Russia.

Source: https://whitleyaward.org/apply-for-conservation-funding/apply-for-a-whitley-award/