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Nov 22, 2017

Red Cross Building Up River Valley Communities

The Belize Red Cross is enhancing capacity and building resiliency in sixteen communities in the Belize District. The Belize Red Cross has ongoing assessments in communities to identify gaps and they have found that communities where they haven’t done a project before are lacking in some skills and training in core areas of health and hygiene, disaster response and post disaster relief, among others. On Tuesday, the Belize Red Cross met with the Minister of NEMO Edmond Castro to discuss the two-year project. ‘Strengthening Partnerships through Accountability and Transparency” is funded through the 2017 Central America Regional Security Initiative Economic Support Funds with assistance through the U.S. Embassy.  Director General of the Belize Red Cross Lily Bowman tells us more about the project.


Lily Bowman

Lily Bowman, Director General, Belize Red Cross

“The goal of the project is to enhance the capacity internally of these communities, as well as the service providers who go into these communities to deliver services especially in disaster risk reduction, health and hygiene, and post disaster relief. Our aim is to enhance this capacity to establish transparent and equitable delivery of these services.   We will be having specialized training. For instance, we will be forming community disaster response teams. We have already in most of fifty-nine communities we have worked with since 2006, formed this group. We have trained them. The community disaster response teams are those within their community who are their first responders in time of disaster. They are also passed on to strengthen the national response team through NEMO and actually, the training is done with NEMO. So, we will be doing that in all these sixteen communities, and we will be refreshing ten other communities outside of the project communities who we have worked with before and who have trained community disaster response teams. We will also be introducing them to disaster risk reduction – specialized training in search and rescue, shelter management and probably water and solid waste management and sanitation and it also has a component in violence prevention and health and hygiene. We are introducing them to the PHAST – Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation. It is a very simple, user friendly way of meeting families at the grass root level, so we can teach them about good hygiene practices, how to handle or mange your solid waste, garbage disposal and typical hand washing to build, establish and adapt good hygiene practices. We will also be introducing them to assessments, carrying out mapping of their communities through electronic devices. So, it is a little modern way of carrying out your assessment, cutting time down by more than half and putting those communities and those houses that have never made it on a map and this will then help in future development of plans and programs and future designs of other projects.”


The communities where the Belize Red Cross will be working on the project are Saint Paul’s bank, Willows Bank, Double Head Cabbage, Bermudian Landing, Burrell Boom, Sand Hill, Gardenia, Grace Bank, Biscayne, Bomba, Maskall, Lucky Strike, Rock Stone Pond, Santana, Boston and Caye Caulker.

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