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Dec 16, 1999

PACT launches new foundation

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Visitors to Belize may be more aware of this organization than Belizeans, if only because they pay its seven dollar and fifty cents fee each time they leave from the International Airport. The organization is PACT — the Protected Areas Conservation Trust — and Wednesday night it launched a foundation which will expand the scope of its activities on behalf of the environment. Valerie Woods Smith is PACT’s newly appointed executive director.

Valerie Woods Smith, Executive Director, PACT

“The PACT foundation is part of the overall Trust Revenue Generation Program. It is that vehicle that will also go out and seek donors primarily international because we like to get more funding from a larger source so we can do bigger projects, community projects.

We will also access more funding from a larger source so that we can do bigger projects. Right now with that revenue we can only afford a thirty-five thousand dollar grant per project — and that’s Belize dollars — and it’s not sufficient to make such a big impact that we need to.”

Q: “Does the kind of work that will flow from this, is that going to conflict at all with the type of work that existing NGOs like Audubon and Programme for Belize are doing?”

Valerie Woods Smith

“No actually PACT is supposed to assist those NGOs in getting the projects out and quicker to the communities. What we’re fostering at PACT is that collaboration for improved community projects, community involvement, for them to take ownership so that we can have tangible benefits out of PACT. Environmental awareness is one aspect, ecotourism, archeology, sites development and of course protected areas. We’re going to be using and working with NGOs to do exactly that.”

In addition to the foundation PACT also launched another first for Belize: a year 2000 diary with full color pictures and information about the wide variety of Belize’s natural resources. If you want to put one under your Christmas tree you’d better hurry as the books are all but sold out. The few remaining are available at the PACT office in Belmopan or in Belize City at Mala’s on New Road. The launching of the foundation and diary project were coordinated by PACT consultant Linda Muñoz.

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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