Global Forest Watch Small Grants Fund


Global Forest Watch (GFW) is a free forest monitoring system that provides timely and actionable information to support the sustainable management and conservation of forest landscapes. Since its launch in 2014, more than 7 million users have visited the GFW website from every country in the world. GFW has been used by civil society organizations, journalists, communities, governments and companies around the world to see where, when and why deforestation is happening and take action to address it. GFW is made possible by a growing partnership of over 200 organizations, convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
The GFW Small Grants Fund (SGF) seeks to build the capacity of civil society organizations to effectively use GFW tools and data to reduce illegal or unplanned deforestation. Successful projects translate data into action, applying GFW to overcome challenges in protecting the world’s forests.

Financing Instrument: Grants 

Project scale: The Small Grants Fund awards organizations between $10,000 and $40,000 USD over a 12-month project period.
Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global
Recipient categories: NGOs
Eligibility Criteria: 

A.    Organizational Eligibility

  • Be legally constituted as non-profit and non-governmental;
  • Have a total annual budget greater than $50,000 USD;
  • Possess a computerized financial system for tracking and recording expenses (preferably a professional accounting software);
  • Receive a rating of medium to low risk on WRI’s organizational assessment (containing questions regarding organization governance, financial and compliance structure), which will be carried out once finalists are provisionally selected.
  • Be able to provide the organization’s most recent annual audit, or ALL three of the following documents:
  1. Balance sheet for the previous two years;
  2. Income Statement for the previous two years; 
  3. Cash Flow Statement for the previous two years.
  • At least one project point person with professional working proficiency in English (oral and written), in order to be able to submit the organizational assessment, narrative and financial progress reports in English, and communicate regularly via email and videoconference with WRI staff.

B.    Project Eligibility

The Small Grants Fund seeks applications for projects that clearly demonstrate how they will use the GFW tools and data on GFW as a key component of their strategy to reduce deforestation and sustainably manage forests. Applications should clearly articulate who the project aims to influence and how project activities will lead to improved forest outcomes. 

Successful projects will be those that have a demonstrated commitment to forest monitoring and sustainable forest management and can articulate how the tools and data on GFW will provide a value add to their existing work. They will also be able to convey which stakeholders are critical for their projects’ success and either describe the nature of existing relationships with those stakeholders, or outline a clear plan for and assess the feasibility of establishing any new relationships with project stakeholders. 

In 2024, the Small Grants Fund solicited applications for projects falling into one or more of the following approaches: 

  1. Advocacy, for example:
    • Using data and imagery found on GFW alongside community territorial maps to advocate for land titles and other strengthened land rights.
    • Creating an open data platform with MapBuilder by crowdsourcing, compiling and publishing data on concessions that overlap with ancestral community lands, and support communities in applying public pressure to get these concessions revoked.
  2. Forest Monitoring and Enforcement, for example:
    • Developing the capacity of forest monitoring brigades to conduct field verifications of near-real time alerts with the Forest Watcher mobile application and other technologies, and work with enforcement officials to stop unplanned or illegal deforestation.
    • Supporting Indigenous communities in developing response protocols, formulating legal strategies and compiling evidence of illegal deforestation including satellite imagery, data and analyses, and submitting it to law enforcement through formal complaints or other legal processes.
    • Training police, prosecutors and/or judges to raise awareness as to how satellite imagery and data can be used to provide accurate, timely and cost-effective evidence of deforestation.
  3. Journalism and Storytelling, for example:
    • Publishing stories, data visualizations, and/or videos highlighting where illegal deforestation is occurring and how it impacts local livelihoods or ecosystems to raise public awareness and putting pressure on authorities to respond.
    • Using data found on Global Forest Watch to analyze the direct and indirect impacts of proposed development projects on local livelihoods and forest biodiversity and share these through traditional media outlets and social media channels.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement and Capacity Building, for example:
    • Building the capacity of Indigenous or local communities and/or law enforcement agencies to utilize alert systems accessed through GFW tools to monitor, verify, and respond to forest threats within community lands or protected areas.
    • Working with forest fringing communities to understand their needs for protecting their forest and co-designing land defense strategies using GFW and other technologies to protect their forest landscapes.
    • Creating an online course that specifically addresses issues of deforestation and teaches non-experts how to use GFW tools to investigate and report on deforestation in their area.
  5. Informing Land Use Management and/or Policy, for example:
    • Training a collective of smallholder farmers to monitor and manage their areas using forest, land use and carbon data.
    • Using data and insights found on GFW to conduct high quality research and put together policy briefs to influence land use policy for more sustainable land management and long-term land use planning.
    • Using GFW to identify and establish areas or jurisdictions as nature-based solutions, REDD+ or other payment for ecosystem services projects, and monitor compliance.

Application guidelines: 

Please check the Small Grants Fund website for information on geographical geographical eligibility, application guidelines and deadlines for the current funding cycle.

For questions about the application process, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section. For additional questions, please write to

Last updated: 15 February 2024


Publication Date
Saturday, 26 March 2022
Applicable location
Forest conservation and management
Sustainable land use
Community forestry
Forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT)
Biodiversity conservation
Financing opportunities