$292,000 for fourteen local projects with R4CR grants | THE DAILY HERALD

Grant recipients with World Bank representatives.


CUL DE SAC–The seventh (and possibly final) round of grants from the Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR) programme was launched on Thursday, February 22, at St. Maarten Academy’s library.

The R4CR programme includes a grant scheme as funding mechanism for community and social rehabilitation initiatives in St. Maarten and also focuses on improving the capacity of local civil society organisations (CSOs) in reconstruction and resilience activities post-Hurricane Irma.

Representatives of the 14 grant recipients were congratulated by Task Team Leader Alex Kamurase and two colleagues of the World Bank, who travelled from Washington DC to be present for the event. Also offering congratulatory words to the CSOs was “Islandpreneur” Ife Badejo, who sits on R4CR’s Project Technical Committee that oversees the programme.

R4CR Team Leader Steve Duzanson gave a brief summary of the Round-7 application process, explaining that it started with general information sessions (on November 1 and November 2) about the R4CR programme, which were followed by the official call for proposals on November 3. The submission deadline for project proposals was midnight on December 10, 2023.

The total available budget for Round-7 was US $300,000 with a maximum of $20,000 per single CSO project (or $30,000 for a joint project). R4CR received 19 project proposals requesting a total of US $380,000. The project proposals were subjected to an extensive assessment process that included administrative, technical and financial reviews in addition to a 16-point scoring grid system. Projects with an overall score of 70% or more were selected for financing and forwarded to the Project Technical Committee (PTC) for review and final approval.

The application success rate was 73% in Round-7, which was 20% higher than in previous rounds. Duzanson attributed this significant increase to the capacity building and strengthening efforts embedded in the R4CR programme that all CSOs on the island benefited from.

The 14 selected CSOs secured grants totalling $292,900 to execute their project during the implementation period from March 1 to August 31, 2024.

Following R4CR tradition, each grant recipient was given one minute to “pitch” their R4CR project.

Kingdom Courtyard had the honour of “throwing” the first pitch by detailing the purpose of the foundation and their project of providing counselling and support to parents who lost a child. Carib Swim Team used its one minute to explain its project of purchasing much-needed swimming equipment for the club. The St. Maarten Little League Foundation will also use its grant to purchase and replace damaged equipment so that its children can play the game safely and help those who do not have the necessary gear. The Bishop Ellis Foundation gave a synopsis of its project, which will assist persons living in poverty with much-needed basic food supplies.

The Art Agency Foundation (better known as Axum Café) was happy to announce that its grant will be used to provide training and workshops to empower artists on the business side of their craft. Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) is excited about its plastic-recycling project which they hope will divert some plastic from reaching the landfill and make new products from plastic waste. An awareness and educational campaign is also a crucial part of the project. Stichting Building Bridges Saving Lives, on the other hand, will use its grant to tackle gender-based violence (GBV) and raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and sexual violence in vulnerable groups.

Leaders For Change, a newly established foundation, will focus on the homeless and “rough sleepers” to provide food and other essential supplies. The foundation will also conduct a needs assessment and make an attempt to accurately quantify the problem. Leaders For Change, through its connection with the Caribbean Institute for Social Education Foundation (CIFSEF), also arranged the catering for the event. Three students from CIFSEF’s baking course presented beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes for the attendees.

The Community Outreach Mentorship & Empowerment Foundation (The COME Center) explained that it will use its grant to provide computer classes and sewing classes to senior citizens.

The St. Maarten Yacht Club teamed up with Kidz At Sea in a collaborative effort to create a training programme for local sailing instructors. It hopes to attract young local talent to become sailing instructors and secure a job in the fast-growing maritime sector.

Another collaborative project is that of Stichting EGO and National Institute of Arts (NIA) that are working together to secure high quality pre-owned gym equipment from the Netherlands for use at NIA, several schools and playgrounds.

The project will also measure the fitness of students in a few Catholic primary schools and design a summer boot camp to help them improve their health.

The venerable Patsy Flanders used her one-minute pitch to detail how the grant will be used for activities aimed at senior citizens who frequent her (Home Away From Home) foundation; and No Kidding With Our Kids Foundation will extend its “Nature Nurtures” farm project for children. The farm showcases various farming systems and children can immerse themselves in nature on the farm.

Hearts United Holistic Care Foundation could not be present for the pitch but their adult literacy programme will continue to benefit from the R4CR grant in Round-7.

After the one-minute pitches and some surprise activities designed to bring the organisations closer together, the CSOs participated in the pre-disbursement training which all R4CR grant recipients must complete before any funds can be disbursed to their projects.

The pre-disbursement training gives the grant recipients an insight into the rules and regulations of the grant scheme, such as reporting requirements, financial management, training, capacity strengthening, requesting advances, stakeholder communication and the social and environmental standards applicable to the R4CR programme.

The R4CR programme is financed by the government of the Netherlands via the St. Maarten Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is administered by the World Bank and monitored by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB). The R4CR programme is implemented by VNGI.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/292-000-for-fourteen-local-projects-with-r4cr-grants