SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Resources For Community Resilience (R4CR) program officially launched “Quick-Win round 2” on June 16 in a virtual signing ceremony with several dignitaries in attendance including the honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.
The R4CR program includes a grant scheme as funding mechanism for community and social rehabilitation initiatives on Sint Maarten and focuses on improving the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSO’s) in reconstruction and resilience activities post hurricane Irma.
The R4CR program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the Sint Maarten Trust Fund which is administered by the World Bank and monitored by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).
Project activities by registered CSO’s can cover subject categories such as neighborhood initiatives, sports/recreation, nature/environment, culture, poverty relief, day care centers/after school programs, youth employment, skills development, psycho-social support and gender-based violence.
The “Quick-Win rounds” have been designed for projects that can be completed within six months with a moderate budget. “Quick-Win round 1” started in September 2020. Twelve projects were selected with a total budget of $452,481. Those projects have now been completed and Quick Win round 2 will now commence.
The virtual signing ceremony was hosted by local radio personality and R4CR communications advisor Kevin “Suppa” Petrona who invited the Dutch representative in Philipsburg, Chris Johnson, to kick off the formal part of the ceremony. In his speech Chris Johnson congratulated the twelve grant recipients for their hard work in securing the grant and stated that the job CSO’s do in the community is second to none.
The honorable prime minister commended the role that civil society organizations play in areas where government does not have enough resources to act immediately or effectively “that is really where CSO’s make a large contribution to our society” the prime minister concluded.
Marcel Gumbs spoke on behalf of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund’s steering committee and was impressed by the impact that small scale projects like R4CR has on the local community. Gumbs encouraged other CSO’s to make use of the opportunities that the R4CR program provides.
Michelle Keane, representing the World Bank, congratulated R4CR and the grant recipients with the launch of the Quick-Win round 2. The World Bank executive also underscored the important role CSO’s play in the countries where the Bank is active.
Peter Knip, the Director of VNG International; the implementing entity behind R4CR joined in from the Netherlands and spoke proudly of the role VNG International (the international arm of the association of Dutch municipalities) is playing in this project and also of the importance of nurturing CSO’s to be successful in their projects because of the direct impact they have on local communities.
The final speech was reserved for Rolf Hunink, team leader of the local R4CR office, who gave a short synopsis of the twelve projects in Quick Win round 1 and looked forward to the new projects in Quick Win round 2.
After the official speeches, host “Suppa” and his R4CR side-kick Jose Sommers gave each of the twelve grant recipients exactly one minute to pitch their project to the online public or risk being drowned out by the newly introduced CSO song (“We are one”, written by local Soca artist King Vers) after the one-minute deadline.
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club kicked off the one-minute pitches with their sailing program for a second local primary school in addition to a Swim-to-Sail program where children will learn to swim as a precursor to the sailing program. Next up was Excellence Learning Academy who pitched their project for activities for special-needs-children as well as additional training for the staff.
This was followed by Kidz at Sea Foundation who will use their grant to train local young adults how to dive and map underwater debris left by hurricane Irma in the coastal areas. Beautification of urban areas thru murals is how Be The Change Foundation will use their grant while Freegan Food Foundation plans to set up a social food depot where 50 families living below the poverty line can shop for healthy alternatives.
Stichting Justitiele Instellingen one-minute pitch covered their project to prevent convicts from reoffending, start mediation sessions and train key personnel. The RISC Takers Football club only needed 30 seconds to pitch their projects as it involves buying a bus in a co-financing agreement with the French Football Federation.
With a musical pitch Dow Music Foundation announced plans to teach school kids, prisoners and youngsters in the juvenile detention center how to play steel pan. Tackling adult literacy is the goal of the project pitched by the University of St Martin. This hidden problem will finally get due attention.
The final two pitches were on opposite sides of the age scale; Senior Citizens Recreational Foundation will continue repairs to their building which started in Quick Win Round 1 and Sint Maarten Early Childhood Development Association (SECDA) will also continue their Quick Win round 1 project of supplying food to all daycares on the island.
Technical difficulties prevented Discovery Kidz daycare and afterschool from delivering their one-minute pitch, but the reconstruction project was explained by Jose Sommers of R4CR (who also managed to stay within the one minute allotted).
The launch ended with the symbolic signing of the grant agreements as all twelve CSO’s simultaneously lifted their pen, their grant agreement, signed and showed the signed document.
The signing of the grant agreement and the singing of the CSO song marked the official launch of the R4CR project in which 564,289 thousand US dollars will be invested in the Sint Maarten economy via local CSO’s.
The next step in the grant agreement process is the Pre-Disbursement Training (PDT) which the CSO’s must complete before the funds can be (partially) released to their projects. The PDT is scheduled for Saturday June 26 at the newly renovated Senior Citizen Recreational Foundation building in Hope Estate.
For more information about the R4CR program or a detailed review of all current projects please visit www.r4cr.org or the Facebook page (R4CRSXM).