The R4CR Round-6 grant recipients.
PHILIPSBURG--Fourteen foundations have secured a total of US $752,000 in grants as part of the Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR) programme’s Round-6 projects, which were officially launched at St Maarten Academy’s library on Thursday, August 31.
The R4CR programme includes a grant scheme as funding mechanism for community and social rehabilitation initiatives in St. Maarten and focuses on improving the capacity of local civil society organisations (CSOs) in reconstruction and resilience activities post-Hurricane Irma.
The total available budget for Round-6 was US $750,000 with a maximum of US $90,000 per single CSO project (or US $120,000 for a joint project). Funds left back from previous programmes were added to the total available budget for the final amount of US $752,000 that was allocated.
R4CR received 28 project proposals requesting a total of just over US $2 million. The project proposals were subjected to an extensive assessment process that included administrative, technical and financial reviews in addition to a 16-point scoring grid system. Projects with an overall score of 70% or more were selected for financing and forwarded to the Project Technical Committee (PTC) for review and final approval.
The application success rate was 50% in Round-6, which is in line with the long-term average of the programme. The 14 selected CSOs secured grants totalling $752,204 to execute their projects during the period September 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024.
The selected projects are expected to have a big impact on the direct beneficiaries and the rest of the community, it was stated in the release. “These are public funds that you will receive for project execution and you have the responsibility and obligation to use them in a respectful manner that will benefit your stakeholders and the entire community,” R4CR Team Leader Steve Duzanson reminded the grant recipients.
Local self-made “Islandpreneur” Ife Badejo, representing R4CR’s Project Technical Committee (PTC) that oversees the programme, congratulated the CSOs on their grants. According to an RC4R press release, Badejo was happy to finally engage with the people behind the dossiers that PTC members evaluate, as they mostly operate in the background.
“Be proud of your achievement and let everyone see the invaluable contribution that you are making to this community,” Badejo advised the grant recipients.
Duzanson gave a summary of the Round-6 application process, explaining that the process started with general information sessions (on April 12, April 13 and April 17) about the R4CR programme, which were followed by the official call for proposals on April 18. The submission deadline was midnight June 5, 2023.
The keynote speech was given by Rajesh Chintaman on behalf of 4C Foundation/NPOwer which provides support to local non-profit organisations and plays a major role in capacity-strengthening of local CSOs.
Following R4CR tradition, each grant recipient was given one minute to “pitch” its R4CR project.
Down Syndrome St Maarten and Caribbean Foundation launched the first pitch by explaining its project of establishing an after-school location for children with Down Syndrome.
SVOBE Sundial School used its minute to describe the “Baby-Think-It-Over” project that will teach teenagers the realities of caring for a baby, thereby helping to prevent teen pregnancy.
ECO St. Maarten Foundation was next in explaining its agricultural project in St. Peters which will provide farming education, a large greenhouse and support budding farmers to develop the local agricultural sector.
Enhanced Living Foundation gave a synopsis of its project which will provide non-medical assistance to the elderly and infirm. The goal is to provide a good quality of life and keep the elderly living independently as long as possible.
Caribbean Institute for Social Education Foundation (CIFSEF) said the grant will be used to provide courses such as computer training for seniors, baking and sewing that will help participants in their personal growth and employment.
Stichting EGO’s project is to secure donated pre-owned playground equipment from municipalities in the Netherlands, to ensure that children on St Maarten have a safe environment to play under competent supervision and proper guidance in healthy (food) habits.
FC Soualiga (Soccer Foundation), initially founded for women and girls’ soccer, will use its grant to re-establish female soccer covering all ages.
St Maarten Academy’s project is focused on replacing the 26-year-old gym floor that barely survived Hurricane Irma, as well as providing better protective measures. The facility is not only used by the school, but also by many other indoor sporting organisations.
Tiny Tots Collage play school explained that it will use its grant to create a shaded outdoor play area for the children.
The NOW Generation Foundation elaborated on its day programme facility for young adults leaving the foster care system after reaching 18, that will provide support for this vulnerable group making the transition.
Rehabilitating the lights at Jose Lake/John Cooper Ballpark is the sole focus of NSI’s project whereby R4CR will join forces with the government to complete this much-needed project.
Tackling hunger and food waste are the central themes of Freegan Food Foundation’s project. It will use its grant to help sustain families in need.
No Kidding With Our Kids Foundation will extend its “Nature Nurtures” farm project for children. The farm showcases various farming systems and will be expanded with a gazebo and new plants to create an inviting environment to playfully teach children about nature and agriculture.
After the one-minute pitches and some surprise activities designed to bring the organisations closer together, the CSOs participated in the pre-disbursement training which all R4CR grant recipients must complete before any funds can be disbursed to their projects. The training gives the grant recipients a clear insight into the rules and regulations of the grant scheme, such as reporting requirements, financial management, training, capacity strengthening, requesting advances, stakeholder communication, and the social and environmental standards applicable to the R4CR programme.
The R4CR programme is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the St. Maarten Trust Fund, which is administered by the World Bank and monitored by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB). The R4CR programme is being implemented by VNGI. For more information about the R4CR program or a detailed review of all R4CR projects, visit www.r4cr.org