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CARSI Grants Support to Civil Society and Good Governance Initiatives Print E-mail
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Friday, 05 October 2018 00:00

The U.S. Embassy announced the recipients of the 2018 Central America Regional Security Initiative Economic Support Fund (CARSI-ESF) grants during an award ceremony on Thursday, September 27, 2018.  The four grants are valued at a total of ,261,666 million USD and are focused on good governance programming, specifically strengthening citizen participation and oversight of government, reducing corruption, and improving accountable government service provision. Through the full CARSI program, the U.S. Embassy has committed more than million USD in funding for justice-related, at-risk youth support, good governance and citizen security programs in Belize since 2008.

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges highlighted how critical citizen engagement is to the democratic process, stating, “It is the only way to influence public decisions so that they address your needs.  It is the only way to realistically hold policy-makers accountable.  Ultimately, it is the only way to ensure that the next generation gets involved and continues the hard work of running a free nation.”

The 2018 CARSI ESF grantees include Humana People to People – Belize; their project envisions strengthening emergency and disaster response in vulnerable communities by building capacities and improving collaboration and service delivery in southern Belize. The project will enhance the capacity of communities in natural disaster response. Also, the project aims to work in partnership with the Government to conduct baseline surveys, develop the first Multi-Hazard Operation Plans for the country, and identify training as well as materials/supplies needed to aid in strengthening the natural disaster response systems within the 30 vulnerable communities in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts.

Among the four recipients is the University of Florida, who will be strengthening Civil Society and Civil Servant Capacity in Belize through Partnership. Through this project UF will develop customized training modules for CSOs and civil servants focused on governance practices and organizational management functions and implement a training of trainers program to promote asset-based community development and civic engagement to promote transparency. The project aims to help strengthen collaboration and networking among CSOs and governmental agencies to play a stronger and enhanced role in improving governance systems. The University of Florida will partner with the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) and the Ministry of Education.

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, A.I. Keith Gilges spoke briefly last Thursday at the U. S Embassy. “And next year on April 10th Belizeans will exercise their right to decide whether Belize should submit its territorial dispute with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice. Every vote counts and you have an impact, an important impact, on the outcome. It is important that everyone, who can vote, learns about the history of the dispute, the previous attempts to solve it and the referendum itself. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Don’t let others decide for you.”

Before joining us in Belize, Gilges was the director for North America at the National Security Council at the White House. Previously, he served in Washington in the office of Canadian affairs, and also as Deputy Chief of Missions at the U.S Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago. Keith Gilges also served in various other positions in Kenya, Brazil and Mosambique.