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Sep 27, 2007

Ford seeks applicants for conservation grants

Story PictureWe all know that Ford Motor Company makes vehicles … plenty of which are found on the streets and roads of Belize. But Ford also does its part for conservation and over the last four years has been dispensing grants to local groups and individuals pursuing unique environmental or cultural projects. Visiting the country this week is Ford’s communications manager for Central America and the Caribbean, Rita Solis. She described two different programmes and urged Belizeans to apply for funding.

Rita Solis, Regional Communications Mgr., Ford
“Twenty-four years ago, Ford realised that there were a lot of groups and in the rural areas persons were working alone in the really good projects, trying to conserve the environment and the culture of the country, with great ideas, but no real financial support. So they decided to try to do something to help these people to continue working, trying to make the world a better place. So for that reason we decided five years ago to come to Belize because we know that Belize has a unique culture and a unique environment and that needs to be preserved, not only for us but also for the next generations.”

Stewart Krohn
“Now Ford, we understand, just purchased the Jaguar Motor Company, and since then, they have a parallel program that has to do with Jaguars. Tell me a little bit about the connection between the car and the animal.”

Rita Solis
“Well, the Jaguar in North America decide to do something here in Belize because first, we have the name of this great animal and also because we know that here in Belize there is an important population of this animal that needs to be preserved, needs to be protected. So the company decide to do also something directly with the people because for a lot of years they have been working here also, conserving land that maybe people don’t know about. Belize has the biggest sanctuary of the jaguar that our company decided to create years ago. And so the company has been investing in research and in zoos and in other kinds of projects outside of Belize. But five years ago they said that we have to go directly to the people, ask the people to bring ideas on how to preserve these animals so we have been here, and its incredible, the creativity of the people and the good ideas they have been implementing in trying to conserve these animals.”

The Ford grants run to a maximum of fifteen thousand Belize dollars and are given to ongoing non-profit conservation projects. The jaguar grants extend to a maximum of thirty thousand Belize dollars and can apply to an ongoing or new project idea to preserve Belize’s jaguars. Applicants are free to seek funding from both programmes. Information and application forms are available from Sandra at Bel-Caribe Communications, telephone 223-3893, or online at www.fordgrants.com or www.jaguar_ trust.com. Deadline for applications is November thirtieth with the grants announced in February. Selection of the successful applicants is done by a local committee.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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