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Sep 26, 2023

Five Organizations in Belize Are CARSI-ESF 2023 Grants Recipients

During a ceremony held today in Belmopan, the U.S. Embassy celebrated the recipients of five, 2023 Central America Regional Security Initiative, Economic Support Fund (CARSI-ESF) grants.  The recipients will partner with government agencies on numerous projects that seek to foster improved health services, and protect human rights. The total value of the grants is one million U.S. Dollars. News Five’s Paul Lopez was at the handing over ceremony in Belmopan this morning. He filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The United States Embassy in Belize, through the Central America Regional Security Initiative Economic Support Fund (CARSI-ESF) handed over a total of one million U.S. dollars in grant funding to five organizations that are making an impact across the country. Among the recipients are Belize Heroes, an organization dedicated to Belize’s critical firefighting and rescue needs. Colin Gillett, the Fire Chief at the National Fire Service, was on hand as a representative of Belize Heroes to receive a two hundred thousand U.S. dollar check.


Colin Gillett

Colin Gillett, Fire Chief, National Fire Service

“On behalf of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Minister, CEO, we would like to say thanks so much again for seeing the vision we have at the National Fire Service and for the work being done by Belize Heroes through Mr. ArchibalMcFarlene whose brain child is this and he has been great at hitting all the goals, hitting all the tasks, all that we need today. Two years ago when we started we had no ambulance services, no trained fire fighters in EMS. Today, we have more than fifty fire fighters and all the communities around the Cayo District has been trained in becoming their own first responders, getting basic first aid, knowing when to call and what these funds do is attract more from all over.”


Dorla Bowman is the Executive Director of Building People Movement. Through CARSI-ESF, her organization received one hundred and seventy-five thousand U.S. Dollars in funding.


Dorla Bowman

Dorla Bowman, Executive Director, Building People Movement

“Yes we are a CARSI proud award winner with oru project educating the workforce for change through becoming gender based prevention advocates for gender based violence. When we speak of gender based violence we are speaking to the issue of domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and addressing related corruption and improves and expanded human services. Gender based violence continues in our country and the responses to these incidents are often limited, underscoring the urgent need for more and better quality services for the survivors of all forms of gender based violence throughout the people of Belize.”


Since 2015, RET International has been conducting operations in Belize City,Cayo and Stann Creek districts to improve the lives of at-risk youths and migrant families seeking asylum in Belize. To date they have executed nine projects that have directly impacted close to five thousand individuals, with the majority being women and children. Cherese Ferguson, the Country Director at RET International, was present to receive a two hundred thousand U.S dollar grant.


Cherese Ferguson

Cherese Ferguson, Country Director, RET International Belize

“RET International’s presence in Belize spans over eight years and voer that period RET can boast successful implementation of about ten projects focused on gender equality, and social inclusion, youth empowerment, self reliance and livelihood, education, migration and mobility and recently on human trafficking. RET’s focus on human trafficking commenced in 2021 when we were offered a grant from the U.S State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to implement the safe Belize project through which we are actively working to strengthen GOB, CSO coordination, has developed a model standard operation procedure for shelter staff.”


U.S Ambassador to Belize, Michelle Kwan, says that she is deeply moved by the work all five organizations are doing across Belize. And though the sums granted are significant, she says she hopes the checks can become even larger.


Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan, U.S Ambassador to Belize

“It means so much. The Central American Regional Security Initiative, ESF Support Fund is just so important. There has been over ten million dollars in total U.S dollars given to these organizations and you have heard the testimony of these five organizations doing incredible work, countering trafficking in persons, gender based violence, delivery services like Belize Heroes, really equipping the firefighters with the training and services and to support civil society in Belize. I am deeply moved and inspired and you are giving them a platform to raise awareness about what they are doing.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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