Rufford Foundation news

6 Jun 2024

Rufford Grantees in Unprecedented Success at the Whitley Awards

Rufford Grantees in Unprecedented Success at the Whitley Awards image

Congratulations to this year’s Whitley Award winners!

During more than two decades of working together, The Rufford Foundation has granted over £1.3 million to support the work of the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN). Beyond funding, The Rufford Foundation also plays an important role in supporting early-career conservationists who, through Rufford Small Grants, hone the necessary skills to apply for larger grants such as the annual Whitley Awards.

Lisa Wheeler, WFN Grants and Networking Officer said “We see Rufford Foundation grants as vital support for early-career conservationists and the exposure to grant writing, project management and reporting that comes with a Rufford grant puts them in good stead for future fundraising opportunities. As the careers of Rufford Foundation grantees develop, the Whitley Awards are well-positioned to provide additional financial support to scale up successful projects.”

This year proved to be an exceptional one for demonstrating the relationship between Rufford and WFN with four of the five Whitley Award winners having previously received Rufford funding.

The Rufford Foundation congratulates all of this year’s winners: Fernanda Abra (Brazil), Aristide Kamla (Cameroon), Raju Acharya (Nepal), Naomi Longa (Papua New Guinea), Leroy Ignacio (Guyana) and Kuenzang Dorji (Bhutan).

Raju Acharya said “[My] owl conservation journey began in 2008, and throughout this time, Rufford has been a steadfast supporter. I was able to generate some funds for the 'Nepal Owl Festival', as there has been limited support for owl conservation otherwise. I am truly thankful to the Rufford family for their continuous support and encouragement in both my personal and professional journey.

This year’s Whitley Gold Award winner, Purnima Devi Barman, was also a Rufford Small Grant recipient back in 2005. She is a very deserved winner of WFN’s top accolade.

On average, a third of shortlisted applicants to the Whitley Awards have received Rufford funding, highlighting the synergy between the projects and individuals that WFN seeks to fund.