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Sep 27, 2016

U.S. Awards over $3 Million in Program Grants

The 2016 CARSI ESF program grant recipients were announced today. The awards, valued over three million Belize dollars, are aimed at supporting the U.S. Government’s objectives of strengthening citizen security through job creation and providing activities and educational opportunities for at risk youth. News Five’s Andrea Polanco attended today’s grant signing ceremony.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The US Embassy, through its Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) Economic Support Funds program signed grants with seven organizations valued at one point six million US dollars.


Carlos Moreno

Carlos Moreno, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“These are projects geared towards steering young people away from gang participation, violence and crime, through education, increase job opportunities, leadership opportunities and entrepreneurship; so that they can learn to really create their own businesses. Over the years, through the CARSI program we have provided over thirty million dollars in security related program; some of that has gone towards supporting the court system, assisting the police and justice system, generally.  But I am also very proud that included in that thirty million are these economic support funds that I call the softer side of our CARSI program and that provides funding on a one to two to three year funding of the different NGOs that work with youth in particular. There is significant monitoring that comes along with that; both the grant writing aspect and the monitoring require some skill. We at the Government just don’t simply give away money, but we also look for metrics, that is results. So, we do measure if the programs are successful. And if you notice, two of the programs are extensions, the ITVET Stann Creek and YWCA, were initially granted significant sums for two years and some of the funds were left over so we decided to extend and make their two year grant into a three year grant, so success breeds success.”


Recipients, the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) and the Stann Creek ITVET, will be implementing school and community based projects targeting young students.


Celia Mahung

Celia Mahung, Executive Director, TIDE

“Today we received a grant of two hundred and ninety seven thousand US dollars and that project is to continue our work with the fresh water cup. The fresh water cup is the project that TIDE has been implementing in seventeen elementary schools and three high schools for a number of years. It is a project where we integrate conservation with football. So, students do environmental projects to qualify to play in our full-fledged football competition. It is a program that happens over a period of six months. It is a project that has won international awards, like this year for instance, we won the Energy Globe Award. So, it is an exciting project in our primary schools and this grant will help to expand the fresh water cup to thirty schools in the Toledo District. So, it will have a ripple effect on large number of primary school age students. This project also will include skills training for out of school youths in a variety of life skills.”


Roxanna Alvarez

Dr. Roxanna Alvarez, Manager, Stann Creek ITVET

“We have received one hundred and fifty thousand US for our extension. Our original project was ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety eight dollars US and that was over a three year period. This extension is for one year and we will be furthering our original programs that we have in wood carving, basket weaving, cosmetology, jewelry making, information technology, mainly. Our target for the thirteen to thirty years old, but we don’t limit ourselves to that age range. We work presently with two primary schools, with St Matthews Anglican and Hope Creek Methodist. We have worked with ANRI and also with Delille. We try to offer services not only to the “at risk youths” but all youths are at risk right now, but also the general public.  Directly, a hundred and thirty one persons have been certified in the various programs. We are aiming for 450 in the coming year, so there is a lot of work to be done. This is only the direct impact, there’s a lot of economic development of the district also.  The programs that we offer are short customized programs; these are the programs that work in the Stann Creek District. We find that not all young people are economically able to sit in a class room for a year and a half but a three month program or a one month program depending on the type of program that works for them. So, there is a direct impact and immediate impact to the district and also institution because we have more trainees coming in and making use of the ITVET.”


For the first time CARSI is funding Gender Based Violence programme; the BFLA is the recipient under this new grant category receiving one hundred thousand US dollars.


Joan Burke Skeen

Joan Burke Skeen, Executive Director, BFLA

“We will be working with young persons under twenty four years of age in the districts of Stann Creek, Cayo and Orange Walk. There are several methodologies that we will be applying. We will be doing media training with twenty young persons and at the end what we want these young persons to be able do is to develop public service announcements to address gender based violence. We also want them to use social media to get out positive message regarding gender based violence. At the end of the day, we are hoping to reach ten thousand young persons or more. I really want to commend the U.S. embassy and the U.S. Government to recognize the impact of gender-based violence. Very often, because we see gender-based violence and oh that is within the confines of people’s homes and between a man and a woman, we really do not spend time to look at the greater impact of gender-based violence. How it impacts children, how it impacts their performance in school, how it impacts how we relate to each other in the home, in the workplace, in the society. And so I am really happy that there is this focus now on gender based violence. We have been looking at the link for some time.”


The other grant recipients are: Ocean Academy, Love Foundation, RET International and the Young Women Christian Association. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


Since 2008, the U.S. Embassy, through the CARSI program, has provided more than thirty-five million dollars in funding for justice related and citizen security programs.

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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1 Response for “U.S. Awards over $3 Million in Program Grants”

  1. Hatari says:

    What would Belize do without charity from the U.S., U.K.,Taiwan, Canada, and all the others? Yet you take their money and then cuss them behind their backs. Gimme dalla.

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