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Sep 29, 2015

Seven NGO’s Receive CARSI Funding

The US Embassy today awarded grants to seven organizations from around the country under the Central American Regional Security Initiative. The US Ambassador, Carlos Moreno says that the awards were given to the organizations based on their work with at risk youths and persons affected with HIV/AIDS. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was on hand for the presentation in Belmopan.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

This afternoon at the residence of U.S. Ambassador Carlos Moreno, representatives from various non-government organizations, including the Love Foundation, Belize Credit Union League and Youth Enhancement Services were on hand to sign CARSI grants for 2015.  Funds for the initiatives were provided in two parts:

 

Carlos Moreno, U.S. Ambassador

Carlos Moreno

“There are two programs that we awarded grants to, to a total of seven organizations.  Four of them are related to the Central American [Regional Security Initiative] CARSI Funds and those grantees are focused on education, employment opportunities, focusing also on at-risk youths and teacher training.  The other three grants are all related to AIDS prevention and awareness, also addressing the issues of stigma and discrimination, advocating additional testing and so forth.  So there are two types of grant programs, the CARSI-related programs which focuses on at-risk youths we made a total of nine hundred thousand dollars in awards, ranging from a low of about seventy thousand to a high of about four hundred and fifty thousand dollars over a two-year period.”

 

The primary goal under the CARSI program is to provide for employment opportunities for young men and women between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five.  These job creation opportunities are seen as an alternative to crime and violence for residents of marginalized communities.  There is also a focus this year on financial literacy.

 

Corrine Robinson Fuller

Corrine Robinson Fuller, Executive Director, Belize Credit Union League

“We are excited about financial literacy, that is what we’re all about.  There are four of every ten Belizean that is a credit union member and we want to expand it so that our members really know about financial literacy and we felt that the best way to start this or continue this is through high school children.  We feel that that would be an excellent opportunity for young people to understand the importance of managing their money well.”

 

Another focus is on HIV/AIDS awareness among youths.  As a grant recipient, YES is embarking on a proposal to further educate young adults in rural Belize on the issue.

 

Karen Cain, Director, Youth Enhancement Service

Karen Cain

“I just want to say thanks to the U.S. Embassy and the ambassador’s HIV Small Grant Fund for this wonderful opportunity to present a small documentary.  Why I say small is because it’s only going to entail four young people and we are looking particularly at youths simply because YES works with young people and we want to highlight at least two males and two females who are HIV positive to tell their stories so that they would be bale to encourage other young people who are living with HIV to get tested or even to take their medications and go and seek help.  So that is our purpose for writing this proposal today and for accepting this grant.  Thank you.”

 

Projects that combine or highlight the relationships between economic opportunities, vocational and technology skills, as well as citizen security are also being promoted.

 

Carlos Moreno

“This is part of the overall U.S. Department of State’s strategy to focus on at-risk youth and reduction of gangs and related violence.  I think we all understand that we can’t really get out of this dilemma of gang violence simply by locking people up.  We really have to focus on the roots of crime, starting really at an early age and that means programs addressed towards better education, working with parents and to focus on education and to steer kids away from gang involvement.  So it’s one in the overall picture that’s directed to gang violence, gang membership.”

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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