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Jun 25, 2008

Y.W.C.A. receives funding from the European Union

Story PictureThe Y.W.C.A. has received another grant from the E.U., but if you’re assuming that the organisation now has a lot of money, think again. News Five’s Ann-Marie Williams was on hand for the handing over this morning and found that the Y is still in need of counterpart funding.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
Today was a proud day for the Young Women’s Christian Association. The organisation received nine hundred thousand dollars or over three hundred thousand Euros in grant funding from the European Union through the Belize Rural Development Programme, bringing the Y one step closer to realising a long time dream of expanding their services and outreach to the Belizean community it’s been serving for over fifty years.

Katherine Mendez is the Deputy National Authorising Officer for the Ministry of Economic Development.

Katherine Mendez, Deputy N.A.O., Ministry of Economic Dev.
“I still remember when Ms. Lenares and a group of women rushed into the national authorising office before four p.m. to meet the deadline for the submission of their proposal. They were serious and they came as a team. The Y.W.C.A. has been professional in their approach and is lead by women with substance and is a project targeted at disadvantaged women and youth. To them poor women is not a cliché, it’s the focus of their work.”

The money received today during a brief ceremony at the Y’s headquarters on St. Thomas Street in the city, will certainly broaden the focus of the Y’s work as it will be used to construct classrooms and dormitories, train rural women and youth in areas of sewing, food preparation, cosmetology, child care and small business development. Dame Elaine Middleton is the President of the Y.W.C.A.

Dame Elaine Middleton, President, Y.W.C.A.
“It does mean that we can expand the building, we can offer more services and specifically we will have the materials with which to work for this particular programme for rural, for unemployed women to help them to develop their economic skills and get them set up in businesses.”

And while several N.G.O.’s in Belize will be the first to say they’re cash-strapped Avila says it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dr. Marcelino Avila, Technical Dir., B.R.D.P.
“What this, in fact, means is that they need to have audited statements over the last two or five years and many organisations don’t have that level of management. Secondly, they need to have the core staff that will be responsible for the management or the overall co-ordination of the project.”

“When they look at the amount of required information or documentation that is required, a lot of them are fearful of all this documentation that is required just to apply. And when it comes to the implementation they really have to be very careful that they follow E.U. procedures and guidelines because that is the only way that the E.U. will recognise their expenditures.”

While the E.U. has become one of the biggest grant donors in Belize, Avila cautions that tapping into their funding is best done when the organisation’s culture is known.

Dr. Marcelino Avila
“We would like more organisations, associations, N.G.O.s, universities, everybody to learn more about how to work with the E.U. because if they do there are more resources that they will be able to procure or access.”

After several months of construction, the Y.W.C.A. has successfully refurbished its main building. The next phase begins as soon as the organisation raises additional funds to match today’s E.U. donation.

Ann-Marie Williams for News Five.

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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