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The Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants had recently awarded two U.A.E-based projects aimed at preserving the nation's coral reefs, and combating the illegal wildlife trade in the region. The two recipients were the Emirates Diving Association, with its project titled Reef Check, which received $9,000 to fund training programs for volunteers and the data collection during reef surveys in Al Aqqa, Rul Dibba, and Al Faqeet around the nation's eastern coast. The Reef Check project has been known to collect scientific data for the conservation of U.A.E's marine environment, and even provide volunteers with information in simpler terms to understand the status of coral reefs and their main threats. It is also hoped that with a project like this will have increased awareness on the reefs' state and the need to conserve them. Another major problem affecting the nation is the illegal wildlife trade. The region has been prone to rampant exporting of shark fins from Yemen to other parts of Asia, due to lack of awareness. This is why the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) stepped in with a project titled Reducing Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Middle East intended on engaging participants from environment, fisheries, and customs agencies in a shark protection workshop. Like Reef Check, IFAW also aims to increase the knowledge level of the species and the awareness of conservation threats.
I'm very proud and happy to see what these projects are doing, regarding the U.A.E's natural environment protection. But it is also interesting to see how a major motor company like Ford is involved in the field of conservation. In this case, it is in the Middle East. Since its launch in 2000, the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environment Grants has offered $1.1 million in grants to over 130 environmental projects in the region. In the Middle East, the program has been supported by various governmental and non-governmental authorities such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Emirates Wildlife Society, the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), and recently, UNESCO Doha. In addition to Middle East, it has awarded more than $2,000,000 in grants to over 300 high-quality projects in Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Central America, and Puerto Rico.
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