This month, the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants awarded a US$9000 grant to the Emirates Diving Association (EDA) for the preservation of the coral reefs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). EDA is the coordinator of Reef Check activities in the UAE.
The grant will fund training programs for volunteers and the collection of data during Reef Check surveys in Al Aqqa, Rul Dibba and Al Faqeet around the East coast. Reef Check UAE not only collects scientific data important for the conservation of the marine environment, but also provides volunteers information to understand the status of the UAE’s coral reefs and their main threats. It is also hoped that local communities will have an increased awareness of the state of coral reefs and the need to conserve them.
Rita Bento, EDA marine biologist and Reef Check Course Director said, "The information we collect allows us to know more about the threats to corals. The money will help us to train more people and rent the boats to get them out to some of the popular dive sites."
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) also received a grant to help them in their efforts to combat the illegal trade of animals, particularly a large number of sharks and shark fins exported from Yemen to Asia has been rampant largely due to lack of awareness.
“Both projects that received grants from Ford emphasize the community's role in protecting the environment. We commend the determination of EDA and IFAW in pursuing extensive awareness campaigns through training programs and workshops,” said Hussein Murad, director of Sales at Ford Middle East. “Through the Ford Grants and the legacy of Henry Ford who was in the business of not only creating good products but goodwill, we continue to give back to our local communities where we serve.”
The Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants is a grass-root level program that has offered US$1.1 million in grants to over 130 Middle Eastern environmental projects since its launch in 2000.