Small Grants Guide cover

HONOLULU (Dec. 10, 2020) — The Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center has partnered with the USAID Climate Ready project to produce a Small Grants Guide designed to help community groups and other organizations in the Pacific create successful climate change adaptation grant proposals. The free guide, which is based on many years of hands-on experience, is available online at:

The guide includes practical guidance for developing climate adaption projects. Funding for such projects typically carries specific technical criteria and requirements that can be particularly challenging for community-based organizations. The 60-page booklet features information tailored to the Pacific context, but it applies to other locations also. 

“Community organizations around the Pacific are best placed to address the impacts of climate change,” says the guide’s author, climate adaptation specialist Dr. Keith Bettinger. “The trick is to draw on local knowledge and ‘package’ it in a way that is consistent with funders’ criteria.” 

Tapping into external assistance for new challenges 

Today, the environmental conditions that have sustained Pacific peoples for thousands of years are shifting as a result of global warming. In some cases, communities need external assistance to adapt to challenges stemming from typhoons and severe storms, droughts, and other environmental issues.  

Fortunately, small grants programs are available to provide financial support for projects that enhance resilience and improve adaptive capacity. While the Small Grants Guide focuses primarily on climate change adaptation projects, much of its content is also applicable to other types of small grants. 

Step-by-step guidance 

The Small Grants Guide is designed to walk community organizations through the process of compiling their know-how into a successful small grants proposal. Throughout, the guide features example questions and criteria that have been taken from actual small grants applications and evaluation forms. 

Chapters focus on: 

“People of the Pacific understand the challenges they face as a result of changing conditions and are adept at harnessing local wisdom to overcome them,” Bettinger writes. “But in some cases, external assistance is needed to empower and enable communities, (and) well-designed adaptation projects that draw upon community strengths have a good chance of finding support.” 

USAID Climate Ready

The USAID Climate Ready Project works with 11 Pacific Island countries to achieve their climate change adaptation goals and become more climate resilient to better protect the lives and livelihoods of their citizens. The project supports: (1) strengthening and mainstreaming climate change adaptation policies and laws; (2) enabling access to multilateral and bilateral climate change funds; and (3) strengthening implementation of climate change adaptation projects. USAID Climate Ready is implemented by DT Global, a U.S.-based institutional contractor. 

Pacific Islands Development Program 

Since 1980 the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) has served the nations and peoples of the Pacific through innovative capacity building, interchange among regional leaders, and policy-relevant research on priority issues. Housed in the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, PIDP is a founding member of the Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific (CROP), and is the Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL), a regional council of 20 member governments. PICL members help us to channel our capabilities and leverage the resources of PIDP and the East- West Center to advance the collective ambition of Pacific peoples. 

East-West Center 

The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.