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BNTF 7 launched

BNTF 7 launched

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The Seventh Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) was officially launched here on June 11 at the Sunset Shores Hotel.The BNTF is a direct targeted poverty reduction programme of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) with the primary objective of providing assistance to poor and vulnerable communities,{{more}} through the enhancement of social and economic development.

BNTF 7 has already been launched in Belize, Montserrat, Dominica and St Lucia.

According to Raymond Ryan, chairman of the BNTF Steering Committee and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, the activities of the BNTF are focused on environmental stability, and to date, the fund has assisted over three million people living in poor communities in 10 CDB states.

The grant agreement for the seventh BNTF project for St Vincent and the Grenadines was signed on January 29, 2013 and is valued at US$4.7 million (EC$12.7 million) and will be spent on various community driven projects.

The BNTF 7 project will be restricted to three main sectors: education and human resource management, water and sanitation, and community access roads and drainage.

“This launch is symbolic of CDB’s commitment to improving the lives of those most in need and giving them a sustainable future,” vice president Operations, CDB Carla Barnett said.

These launches, she said, bring together planners, advocates and community residents to build closer relationships to support the ultimate objective, which is to improve the living conditions of poor and vulnerable communities.

The primary focus is on communities, because community engagement and capacity building put people at the forefront in the fight against poverty, Barnett explained.

“We cannot achieve the objectives of reducing poverty if the communities are not present as decision makers and creators of their brighter future, and this is why for us at the CDB, the BNTF is so important for enabling communities to act, to choose and to achieve their choice, which is in keeping with the theme of the BNTF 7,” she said.

“It is an opportunity to take our common vision for the future to another level through flagship programmes; we can deal with poverty reduction head on,” Barnett added.

The BNTF 7 project is expected to also work on projects that promote gender equality, environmental and disaster risk management and citizen security, she said.

The youth are not being left out and, according to the CDB official, they will be involved and it is intended that they will be the catalysts for innovation.

The BNTF’s grant allocation to this country since 2003 has amounted to more than US$11.5 million and several large infrastructure and educational sub-projects have been completed under this programme, including the construction of the Evesham Health Centre, the North Union Community market, the Georgetown Methodist Early Learning Centre, the Kingstown Day Nursery, among several others.

There have been several skills training courses, including garment manufacturing, plumbing and electrical installation, small engine repair, pottery production, vegetable and poultry farming.

The project is expected to be completed by December 31, 2016.(DD)

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