Civil Organizations Receive Funding form U.S. Embassy for Humanitarian Projects
The U.S. Embassy in Belize granted over a million Belize dollars to a select group of organisations. The funding is part of the 2023 Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) fund. The recipients are the Love Foundation, RET International Belize and the Accountability Lab. The grant funding, collectively worth A total of seven hundred and ten thousand U.S. dollars will be used to provide humanitarian assistance to improve the lives of vulnerable persons in society and promote good governance. Giovanna Moguel tells us more in the following report.
Giovanna Moguel, Love News: The United States Government awarded several Civil Society Organizations in Belize with robust funding to carry out humanitarian projects geared at improving the lives of people in society. Over eighteen organizations submitted applications, which included project proposals that seek to combat inequalities and gaps in society. the proposals target such issues like human trafficking and corruption. A ceremony was held to award the Love Foundation, RET International Belize, the Human Trafficking Institute, and the Accountability Lab with the 2023 Central America Regional Security Initiative – Economic Support Fund (CARSI-ESF). U.S. Ambassador to Belize, Michelle Kwan, awarded the recipients with grants that will help them see these projects through.
Michelle Kwan, U.S. Ambassador to Belize: “These organizations that are receiving this important grant it might look, appear, with a big cheque of a quarter million dollars like a lot but these organizations from what you heard today you know they’re very strategic in what their mission is and that is why they received this very important money and it goes a long way in combating human trafficking and supporting organizations and like you said it’s the gaps and where in the gaps is Belize and how can these organizations with the support of the government as well be able to tackle these challenges? There is four organizations that are receiving these grants, $710,000 American dollars in total that these recipients will be receiving to help across the board you know with good governance, transparency, combating human trafficking, trafficking in persons. The Government of Belize has done an incredible job. It’s very commendable that it went from tier two watchlist to tier two but there’s so much that needs to be done and organizations like RET as well as Human Trafficking Institute really makes a big difference in supporting the gaps.”
Giovanna Moguel, Love News: The Love Foundation was selected as the Fiscal Transparency Grantee. A total of eighty thousand U.S. dollars was handed over to the foundation to fund a project geared at promoting fiscal transparency and accountability systems.
Deborah Sewell, Executive Director, The Love Foundation: “This grant is to support the independence of the Auditor General’s office and through this grant we hope to develop and strengthen mechanisms that improve the coordination and cooperation among public officers to perform their duties as effective stewards of the public service purse and to promote a more fiscally transparent and accountable government. We will also support Belizean civil society and non government stakeholders to understand the GOB’s financial management and effective fiscal control systems. As well as engage with the public to build, support an awareness of the Office of the Auditor General’s roll in combatting corruption.”
Giovanna Moguel, Love News: According to the U.S. Embassy’s Grant Officer, Christine Valeria, over eighteen organizations submitted applications and project proposals; however, they needed to vet the applications and select the most promising projects. She explains that a team is tasked with monitoring the projects to ensure transparency and accountability over the two years.
Christine Valeria, U.S. Embassy Grant Officer: “Once a grant is awarded we do regular site visits, we do regular monitoring, they are required to submit quarterly reports to us to ensure accountability for what they said and we don’t only speak with the grantee but we also speak with their implementing partners to ensure that if they mention an activity that is carrie out we make sure we follow up with the other beneficiaries or stakeholders to make sure that that was actually carried out. We do financial monitoring where we sit with the financial team and make sure you know just check and balance to make sure that that is done but on the technical side like I mentioned we reach out to the beneficiaries, we reach out to the implementors and we try to have different methods to ensure there is accountability. For example one of the best practices that we’ve had is because most of these grants are two year awards we have project review sessions at the end of the first year of implementation for example where we look at what was achieved or what wasn’t achieved and what measures we need to put into place to ensure that we have successful projects.”
Giovanna Moguel, Love News: The value of the four grants altogether totaled $710,000 USD to help create a safer and equitable Belizean society. Giovanna Moguel for Love News.