(Press Release) Friday, March 18, 2022; Bridgetown, Barbados. From sustainable beekeeping to guided entrepreneurship support, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean are finding innovative ways to help marginalised groups build back better as a result of the economic devastation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This community work is being supported by Skills Building Grants, provided through the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) under the Strengthening Civil Society to Alleviate the Impact of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Communities in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean project (also referred to as the Strengthening Civil Society Capacity (SCSC) project).
The two-year initiative is funded by the European Union (EU) and intends to build the capacity of the sector through small grants for delivering services to beneficiaries, strengthen NGO operations, and build a collective platform to advocate for greater attention to the needs of vulnerable groups.
NGO beneficiaries under the Skills Building component of the SCSC Project include Integrated Health Outreach working out of Antigua and Barbuda. Their project, Empowering Women Economically Through Climate Smart Sustainable Livelihoods, has already started training working-class women in the business of beekeeping, towards the eventual creation of a women-led beekeeping brand.
Similarly, the Mille Fleurs Honey Producers Cooperative in St. Lucia is building the capacity of the beekeepers in their network, through the implementation of the Skills Building and Geolocation Database for Beekeepers. The autonomous self-help organisation is already hard at work creating a geographic location database, which will be supported with the roll-out of training workshops and a mentorship programme for 80 beekeepers. Trainees include women and small-scale farmers living with disabilities who are residing in rural communities.
In Barbados, the Pinelands Creative Workshop has decided to harness the entrepreneurial imagination of women small business owners through a project themed, Personal and Economic Empowerment for Women. The well-established community organisation has already hosted a one-day think tank, which helped to formulate entrepreneurial ideas into action-oriented reality. The budding entrepreneurs are currently being trained in business start-up and development. They are also benefitting from the visibility of social media pages created to showcase their products.
“All of the work being done in this component of the project is as a direct consequence of information we gathered for the CPDC COVID-19 Impact Summary Report which was completed in October 2020,” Officer-in-Charge at the CPDC, Richard Jones said. “At the time, the regional NGO community noted the need for skills development actions to assist vulnerable groups in improving their chances for self-employment, job assistance and personal development training. We are pleased that with the EU’s assistance, we were able to provide that support.”