Smitha Daniel: Protector of the Forest Babies

by | Apr 22, 2021 | Heartivist Of The Week

Smitha Daniel was working in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation when she found an animal she had never seen before. The adorable palm-sized ball of fur was the elusive slender loris, found only in a few places in the world. 

These nocturnal creatures, whose Indian name translates to “forest babies,” captured her heart with their tiny bodies and big, innocent eyes. A passionate biologist, she decided to undertake what was to be a six month project in the Indian forests of Western Ghats to learn more about them. Most of her studies occurred at night, in darkness so extreme she could not see her hand in front of her own face. Despite the challenging conditions, elephants, and tigers, Smitha’s curiosity compelled her to continue; the six month project is now in its ninth year, and Smitha has since become the first primatologist to undertake dissertation work on the slender loris.

In her studies, she found that not everyone shared her love of these small primates. 

The slender loris was viewed as a bad omen by many villagers, thought to bring dwarfism, infertility, and bad luck to those who saw them. As research into several communities continued, the trail led Smitha to voodoo rituals and superstitious fertility practices, finally unveiling a thriving illegal trade for the Slender Loris. The slender loris freezes when threatened, meaning these “forest babies” have few natural defenses against human predation. 

Smitha received a seed grant from The Pollination Project to understand the belief systems of the villagers, and engage everyone from tribal elders to young children to dispel myths and folklore that is leading to the significant decline of the species. She is also mapping the habitat of the slender loris, along with known poaching routes, to help the forest service create specific conservation management plans. 

Smitha hopes to serve as a model for involving indigenous people in the conservation of a threatened species. Her work is pioneering new knowledge about this lesser-known species, and inspirational in her dedication to be a champion for the voiceless.


It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)


#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities
The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

#environmentprotection #seedgrant #heartivism #environmentaleducation
It's Volunteer's Month!!! 🌟 Celebrating our family of Grant Advisors 🌟

With 80 grant advisors, all experts in their respective fields and many of them former grantees, The Pollination Project is powered by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their service is not only precious but also essential, as they bring unique insights and understanding to the application process, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can have the greatest impact. 

🎉 Today we celebrate our incredible grant advisors in the HEALTH & WHOLENESS focus area! 

🔸 Ben Kilama (Uganda) 
🔸 Kosa Jimmy (Uganda) 
🔸 Marina Haque (USA) 
🔸 John Ebong (Nigeria) 
🔸 Nzayisenga Emmanuel (Canada)
🔸 Rodger Mwanza (Zambia) 
🔸 Emmanuel Dushimimana (Rwanda) 
🔸 Nelly Hellen Onditi (Kenya) 
🔸 Daniel Ayodele Femi (Nigeria) 
🔸 Christopher Nwafor (South Africa)

Our heartfelt gratitude to these dedicated individuals for their invaluable contributions 🙏

@jim.kosa.5 @manud05 @duemmanuel @nelly.hellen1 @daniel_ayodele_femi 

#health #wholeness #grantmaking #grantadvisor #volunteermonth #volunteers #grants #heartivism #volunteersweek #nigeria #southafrica #uganda #rwanda #zambia #canada