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Micro-financing for NGOs

A new avenue for micro-financing could be coming for non-governmental organisations in the not-too-distant future with the hope to creating environmentally sustainable businesses.

PS Lionel Weekes gesticulates as he makes a point to the stakeholders, while National Coordinator of the GEF SGP, David Bynoe looks on.

PS Lionel Weekes gesticulates as he makes a point to the stakeholders, while National Coordinator of the GEF SGP, David Bynoe looks on.

The disclosure came this afternoon from National Coordinator of the GEF SGP [Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme] of the UNDP, David Bynoe, at the end of a stakeholders consultation today on the country’s strategic plan.

Barbados traditionally receives about US$2 million from the UNDP, with another $180,000 from US, through GEF SGP to provide grants to NGOs and CBOs to create environmentally sustainable development programmes.

Asked about the development of businesses from the projects created by the groups, Bynoe told Barbados TODAY: “As it relates to businesses coming from projects that were funded from GEF SGP, we did have several businesses that were as a result of these projects.

“For example, we had the YWCA project, the Young Women’s Christian Association, where several persons as a direct result of training were able to start businesses such as seedling production, they did micro-greens that they would have sold in several farmers markets, they also produce their own fertilisers which were also sold and this community spirit was also fostered again for bartering.

“In addition to that we had the bio-diesel project which was very successful in bringing awareness of how you can use bio-diesel more in terms of mitigation, but also providing alternative fuel, and a business was started from that. It attracted investors from the USA and there were some issues pertaining to sustainability in that particular project and again there are projects in some other focal areas that we would have seen businesses develop from,” he explained.

He said it was one of the areas they were looking at for future development, to hopefully generate businesses keen on environmental platforms, but that were sustainable.

“What I would say though is that in the future there is going to be a greater emphasis on providing these sustainable livelihoods from our projects,” he added. “We are also looking in the future to go towards micro-finance, where we can provide micro-financing for some of these NGOs who can then create businesses around those projects because for it to be sustainable it has not to only be environmentally feasible and socially feasible, but it also has to be some economic component to it.”

A number of new business areas were also thrown out by stakeholders today as being feasible with the areas the UN body will now focus on in the country strategic plan, in areas ranging from biodiversity, to climate change mitigation and adaptation, harmful chemicals/persistent organic pollutants and international waters.

One of the participants suggested that under the heading of harmful chemicals and POPs, there also needed to be a focus in the strategic plan on waste disposal as well.

Roosevelt King of the Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations hinted that here was perhaps as well an avenue for the creation of more businesses, stating that B’s Recycling should be the only other entity dealing with recycling of waste.

“B’s is not going to serve the whole country. So you need to deal with that at different points and you are talking about three areas because B’s may only collect plastic or something; somebody else may collect metals and so on. So these are areas in terms of entrepreneurship…

“The other thing about collecting garbage is adding value because it is one thing to collect, for example the guy who collects old [cooking] oil and turns it into diesel. So businesses need to encourage small businesses to expand and provide employment,” said King. (LB)

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