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Summit on “Improving the Data Ecosystem for Governance Decision Making in Belize”

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The Belize Association of Planners, BAP, in collaboration with the Research Triangle International hosted a summit on “Improving the Data Ecosystem for Governance Decision Making in Belize”. Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, the President of Belize Association of Planners told the media that the project allows for an exchange of data and collaboration among key stakeholders to promote development.

Carolyn Trench – Sandiford President of Belize Association of Planners: “It came out of our initial project that we had with the GF Small Grants Program where we started to talk about how we can build our resilience within communities but once you start working in the communities you then realize that there are different actors working within those activities. Many of them are doing different things. The state has a responsibility for providing different services. Municipal authority has a responsibility for providing certain services and even civil society is doing certain things like for example the Red Cross which is a civil society. They come in during times of disaster and so on and so forth. The municipal authority has the responsibility to deal with the drainage, garbage and streets. Central Government has a responsibility to deal with education and health care and so on and so forth and you have all these people operating within this space and so the idea is as planners our profession is a multidisciplinary one. We always look at development in a holistic way. You need to look at the people, you need to look at the infrastructure, you also need to look at the ecosystems and then you have to look at the governance. Oftentimes decisions are taken external and they impose on other communities and often times when these decisions are made the community finds that it makes no meaningful change in their lives and it doesn’t address their issues.”

Statistical Institute of Belize is one of the stakeholders which will be collaborating with the Belize Association of Planners. Diana Castillo-Trejo, the Deputy Director-General of the Statistical Institute of Belize, SIB, said that the objective of the project is in line with SIB’s goals.

Diana Castillo – Trejo Deputy DIrector General, SIB: “As you know our main function is to make important data available, accessible in a timely manner, accurate, reliable to our data users and mostly importantly decision makers who use it to plan and create interventions to serve the public so for that we are very happy to be apart of today’s activities. The SIB is the holder of an extensive number of data sets from various censuses and surveys that can be made available to data users to meet these needs. In particular one of the reasons we are partnering up with the Planners Association and RTI is to assist with a part of our census mapping exercise and we have been doing census mapping for about two years now. The way to go is to complete the entire country and what this will allow us to do is to be able to present and disseminate to our data users census data which is a very rich data source in a very aggregated manner. Disaggregated in a much more useful way than what we previously have been able to do.”

The project cost over three hundred thousand US dollars and will span over two years.

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