SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The twelve grant recipients of the recently launched Resources 4 Community Resilience (R4CR) program completed their pre-disbursement training on Monday and Tuesday November 23 and 24 in the gym of the Hillside Christian School in Cay Hill. This mandatory training, spread out over two evening sessions, is an integral part of the grant process. It is designed to familiarize the recipients with the requirements, procedures, and expectations of R4CR prior to the disbursement of actual funds.
The R4CR program is a grant scheme that focuses exclusively on financing and strengthening local Civil Society Organization (CSO’s). The program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the St. Maarten Trust Fund. The latter is administered by the World Bank and implemented by the NRPB (National Recovery Program Bureau). R4CR is executed by the VNGI (in Dutch: Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten International) in close cooperation with the NRPB, Foresee Foundation and other local partners.
The grant scheme will be active for four years and will provide grants to local CSO’s (also known as NGO’s) to execute projects focused on reconstruction, resilience, and improved service provision. Project activities by registered CSO’s can cover subject categories such as neighborhood initiatives, sports, nature, culture, poverty relief, day care centers/after school programs, youth employment, skills development, psycho-social support or preventing gender based violence. In the first year R4CR will organize two “Quick Win” rounds that will focus on small projects that can be completed in six months with a maximum budget of US$50,000.
The topics covered on Monday evening were of a technical nature. The roles and responsibilities of R4CR and the grantee were explained by Rolf Hunink (R4CR Team Leader). The social and environmental safeguards applicable to the R4CR project were discussed by Veronika Neumeier (R4CR Safeguard Specialist); the safeguards are essentially a set of conditions all projects must comply with to guarantee that no social or environmental harm is caused by the project. Training and capacity strengthening were the topics presented by Jose Sommers (R4CR Capacity and Training Manager). Grantees were also requested to complete a survey to assess their future training needs. Rolf Hunink closed off the evening with a presentation on reporting. Each CSO must submit monthly reports which will allow R4CR to monitor their progress and provide additional support where needed.
The focus of Tuesday evening’s session was squarely on finance and procurement. Chi Hing Roger (R4CR Financial & Control Specialist) explained all the details of the accounting procedures, budget controls and the various audits that CSO’s will get acquainted with. The main goal is to ensure that the funds are used in accordance with the approved budget and established guidelines.
The subject of procurement was presented by Rolf Hunink. He explained that despite the word procurement being a tongue twister it is nothing else than purchasing goods and services for the project. The details of how to go about it and the requirements were discussed at length.
Each evening session was closed off with a fun online quiz in which randomly selected teams could win a prize (a five-pack of face masks).
With the grant agreements fully signed and the pre-disbursement training complete, the twelve grant recipients can now start executing their “quick win” projects.
For more information about the R4CR program and details of the selected projects please visit www.r4cr.org or the Facebook page (R4CRSXM).