Ocean Leadership Microgrants

Supporting youth-led grassroots projects all over the world. 






We provide small grants and mentorship to ocean leaders between 18-35 years old to support their grassroots efforts to address critical ocean health problems.

In partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), we also support fellows in Asia to lead climate-resilient fisheries projects.

SOA Grantees

Grants to projects in 65 countries, to leaders averaging 27 years of age.

Explore All Grants

Featured Projects

  • IMG_20210611_114657_4-1

    Mangroves, Beekeeping, Cleanups

    Mombasa, Kenya

    Kishoka Youth Organization will plant nearly 1,000 mangroves (Rhozophora mucronata) across 36 hectares in the coastal areas of Port Reitz Creek in coastal Kenya. 

    Additionally, 50 people will be trained in sustainable bee keeping, with the aim of empowering them to generate revenue from the sale of honey and related goods, and 130kg of trash will be removed from Msimbazi River.

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  • Four month Mangrove Nursery

    Mikoko Pamoja

    Gazi Bay, Kenya

    Mikoko Pamoja is a community-led project to protect and restore mangroves through the sale of carbon credits. 

    Mikoko Pamoja plants 4,000 mangrove seedlings (Sonneratia Alba) annually, which capture carbon and serve as a carbon credit. Changes to the sites from human development and climate change have made it so that typical mangrove planting no longer works. 

    Their project tests the Riley Encasement Technique, an innovative replanting method, in a bid to rehabilitate mangroves in the denuded high energy intertidal areas of Gazi bay.

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  • MyMizu

    My Mizu

    Tokyo, Japan

    Mymizu (“mizu” is water in Japanese) provides a free water refill platform that connects people to 200,000+ locations globally where they can refill their water bottle, instead of buying bottled water. 

    A large part of Mymizu's mission is education on the oceans & the plastic problem; they carry out workshops and awareness-raising activities at schools, universities & events (70+ times in the past 7 months to 5000+ people), as well as create digital content (e.g. infographics/videos) to engage people on social channels.

    With SOA funds, they have developed fun, educational materials for Mymizu volunteers and community members to carry out their own workshops across Japan, enabling them to reach significantly more people through localized and volunteer-led workshops (both online and/or in-person).

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  • Awareness into Action, Stop Trashing it

    Awareness into Action Programme

    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    Stop Trashing It is a network of youth helping people shift awareness into action when it comes to living lighter on the planet. 

    They aim to ease these habit changes and encourage self-accountability through three action areas: Act Now Workshop Series, Digital Communications Program, and Action Campaigns.

    This fall they teamed up with the Veith House Urban Garden to deliver a fermentation workshop where they learned how to make Kimchi using in-season produce grown locally (available on YouTube). Fermenting and pickling foods is a great way to make produce last longer at the end of growing season.

    More info on the action area:

    (1) Act Now Workshop Series: Hosting skill-building workshops and impact-driven events working with local partners.

    (2) Digital Communications Program: Creating clear and engaging social media content to inspire action.

    (3) Action Campaigns: Encouraging individual actions through pledges and challenges, and engaging political action by advocating for regulatory changes based on novel research.

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  • Reproductive Ecology of Manta Rays

    Reproductive Ecology of Manta Rays

    Nusa Penida Island, Indonesia

    This project collects data on Manta Rays in The Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area (MPA), and couples this information with individual sightings data to understand their population demographics and dynamics.

    The information garnered from this study will provide data on manta ray life-history parameters and lend insights into whether sites repeatedly used by smaller individuals can be considered nurseries for this species, which is an understudied aspect of manta ray ecology. Information from this study will inform tourism management within the MPA.

    Check out their website.

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  • Spain river cleanup/plastic pollution analysis

    Microplastic Collection & Analysis

    Nerja and Almuñécar, Spain/ Cork, Ireland

    This project carries out clean up activities and monitoring of litter and microplastics in the Sanguino River and streams near a protected coastline located in Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs Natural Area (Nerja and Almuñécar, Spain). 

    Previous monitoring work by the organization associated with this grant (Hombre y Territorio) has identified heavily polluted sites due to intensive agriculture. 

    Primary activities include cleanup and litter characterization, analysis of water samples for microplastics by infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), training citizen scientists to maintain fieldwork, and communicating project impact with local policymakers and stakeholders.

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  • Gambia Ocean Heroes clean-up

    Gambia Ocean Heroes

    The Gambia

    12 tonnes of trash along River Gambia (Barra to Kartong) were collected, as well as activities to sensitize community members (especially those who travel on the river ferry) about the effects of riverine and marine pollution through radio programs and surveys.

    Gambia Ocean Heroes is a service-learning project under the GREAT Institute created in 2018. Apart from clean up activities, the GOH supports local communities and organizations to take the lead in efforts towards promoting ocean health and reducing plastic pollution. Since 2018, GOH has collected 350 tonnes of trash along The Gambia’s coastline and is excited to expand this effort to rivers. 

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  • Kiabu Reef Restoration A055

    Kiabu Reef Restoration

    Kiabu, Indonesia

    25 year old Dennis and his team work with managers of the Anambas Islands Marine Tourism Park, a new management area made up of five small islands, to develop their regional marine management plan.

    Their goal is to: 1. Re-establish fish habitat and help to restore fish populations by providing artificial reefs of 40 coral spiders; 2. Increase the percentage of coral cover by transplanting 500 corals at restoration sites, and 3. Become a model of community-based conservation activities on small islands in Anambas.

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  • See our Seas docuseries

    See Our Seas Docuseries

    Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

    The Sea Our Seas Docuseries is a joint project between Ecovybz Environmental Creatives and 4 Change TT where six short documentaries will be created that highlight the oceans, marine resources, and problems and challenges facing effective ocean management in Trinidad and Tobago.



    The topics addressed include: fisheries, pollution, coral reefs, ghost gear, the Blue Economy, and climate change. This docuseries will educate on ocean resources and ocean problems, showcase solutions and mobilize actions, present stories from different stakeholders involved in ocean management, and aid in sharing information with schools and other interested bodies.

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  • Sawfish Project Indonesia

    Sawfish Project Indonesia

    Bogort, Indonesia

    Sawfish Project Indonesia is an interdisciplinary project that seeks to provide data about sawfish to local and national governments to implement legal protections for them. 



    The project will conduct scientific research using Environmental DNA (E-DNA) and fisheries surveys to investigate the problem of sawfish bycatch, which is one of the major factors leading to the decline of sawfish populations in Merauke, Indonesia. Sawfish Project Indonesia ultimately aims to enhance the capacity of indigenous people in Merauke to continue the important work of sawfish conservation locally. This project will perform an incubator workshop to teach the youth of Merauke about sawfish conservation.

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  • Let the Sea Turtle Live Cameroon

    Let the Sea Turtle Live

    Southwest Region, Cameroon

    A project in partnership with the Cameroon Ministry of Environment, Nature, and Sustainable Development to raise awareness among fishermen to improve fishing practices with the aim of conserving the endangered sea turtles.


    Over 3,000 fishermen in 4 fishing communities took part, including 30 fishermen association leaders who agreed to serve as ambassadors for the project and to continue to spread awareness in their community. Volunteers from the University of Buea played key roles in door-to-door sensitization, which contributed to an estimated 75% increase in awareness amongst the fishing community on the ecological importance of sea turtles.

    Read more about their project and see a video of their work here. 

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  • SOAGhanaHub

    Journalism to Combat Marine Debris

    Accra, Ghana

    The ocean plays a critical role as a climate regulator by absorbing about 30% of human emissions of carbon dioxide, but increasing levels of plastic waste threatens this key ecosystem function.

    This project seeks to leverage data and storytelling tools to spotlight the challenge of marine pollution and its dangers to society. The project also deploys a digital campaign involving use of short videos and infographics to educate residents across West Africa on the dangers of marine pollution, and improve practices of waste management.

    Read more about their project and read a recent article here.

    More articles on plastic waste and marine pollution,


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2021 Scientific Advisors

A committee of scientific experts assists SOA in reviewing potential grantees.

  • Paula Keener-1

    Paula Keener


    Paula is a marine biologist and Founder of Global Ocean Visions. She spent 18 years directing the Education Program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. 

    Paula Keener spent 18 years as the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Ocean Exploration’s Education Program. A marine biologist, she conducted extensive larval and adult fish research off the Southeastern coast of the U.S. and was a research team member in the Smithsonian Institution’s Western Atlantic Mangrove Program off Belize, Central America. Keener served as a member of The President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration and as a member of the National Academies Committee on Exploration of the Seas. She served as a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History’s Ocean Hall Statement of Purpose Team, the National Science and Technology Council Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Human Capacity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Working Group, the 2006 National Conference on Ocean Literacy (CoOL) Working Group, and was Conference Program Committee CoChair for Education for the Marine Technology Society (MTS) Oceans 2005 Conference in Washington, DC and the 2011 Oceans Conference in Kona, HI. She is a Past-President of the National Marine Educators Association and the South Carolina Marine Educators Association and a founding member and Past-President of the South Carolina Marine Educators’ Association. She serves as a writer and editor for scientific and technical papers, publications targeted to the general public, and served as a scientific editor for Our Ocean World radio scripts which were distributed to 150 radio stations in the United States, the National Public Radio Network satellite network, 200-plus stations of Voice of America, and the Armed Forces Network. 

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  • xochitl-clare

    Xochitl Clare

    Ph.D. Candidate, UCSB EEMB Hofmann lab

    Xochitl Clare is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology, Environment, and Marine Biology Department at UCSB. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology as well as her B.A. in Theater Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Xochitl is interested in eco-physiology in relation to environmental change and ocean acidification. She is also passionate about multi-media science communication and education. 


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  • Indrani Pal

    Indrani Pal, PhD

    Water Scientist and Educator, Columbia University Earth Institute and the City University of New York

    Indrani teaches Water Sustainability and Climate at Columbia University. She has also taught Basic Statistics; MATLAB; R; Fundamentals of Sustainability and Climate Change; Water Management, Global Food Security, Global Oceans, and Local Climates, among others.

    She is also the Founder and Leader of HydroDetectus.

  • Abigail Golden

    Abigail Golden

    PhD Candidate, Fisheries Ecology, Rutgers University

    Abigail is a graduate student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for Fisheries and Ocean Sustainability at Rutgers University.

    She uses quantitative and qualitative methods to understand fisheries as dynamic social-ecological systems. Her work ranges from a remote trout fishery in northern Mongolia to New Jersey's recreational bottomfish fisheries.


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Microgrant Program Details

2022-2023 applications will open April 1, 2022.

Ocean Leadership Microgrants award up to $4,000 USD to people under 35. These grants are accompanied by dedicated mentorship for grant recipients and skill development opportunities.

Projects must tackle a key ocean issue, generally within these categories: 

Pollution Reduction & Circular Waste Solutions

Sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture

Marine Data & Research

Ocean Literacy & Advocacy

Ecosystem Protection & Restoration

CO2e Reduction & Blue Carbon 

Download Microgrant information by region and language:

Africa (English)Brazil (Portuguese) | Indonesia | North America (English) | Pacific Islands (English) | Portuguese |  Spanish 

Microgrants FAQ


Project Requirements

  • Project Leaders must be 35 or younger
  • Clear activities & ocean impact
  • Sustainable / replicable project
  • Planned appropriate fund allocation
  • Proficiency in English




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