BA -1 project participants inquire about disbursement of funds
Monday, September 28th, 2015
Back in May 18, 2015 the Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC) a unit of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) hosted a training seminar for women in San Pedro Ambergris Caye. The training, titled “Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking project BA- 1” targeted victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, with the goal of assisting these victims in becoming more self- confident by empowering them with the necessary tools to help them gain personal development. At the end of the training, qualified participants were eligible for a grant in order for them to start or expand their businesses. The program was held in collaboration with the Women’s Department of Belize and the Central American Integration System (SICA) at the San Pedro Town Council conference room, and was held for three weeks. On Friday, June 5th, 34 women graduated from the training. However, since then, the graduates have been waiting to receive the grants from the program so they can start their business ventures. After over three months the group of women are desperate for answers and have had no clear indication of when they will receive the economic assistance.
According to the participants of the project, the wait has been too long without any clear explanation as to what will happen and they are eager to know if they will be granted the funds promised in the program. One of the participants indicated that they have been receiving calls from the mainland from different people who inquired about the state of their businesses. This has created confusion between all of them who are seeking information, since participants in other communities might have already been awarded the funds. Apparently not even the project’s former coordinator, Jorge Aldana, has been able to provide them with an answer.
Rene Chuc, from the International Organization for Migration dealing with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), which is the body providing the grants, explained the delay of the distribution of the economic assistance. “The disbursement of the funds has not been done by CEDA, therefore we are experiencing a delay. On the other hand we want to make it clear that no one else has received any funds for the training. Some of people are under the impression that other participants from other parts of the country have already received their grants; this is not so, since everyone will receive their assistance at the same time in a ceremony to be held during the second week in October. We don’t have the information of the place and day or time yet, but it is happening next month. Recently, the last group finished their training seminar, so now is time to start preparing for the distribution of the funds to the participants that qualified,” explained Chuc.
Chuc also indicated that the reason why the coordinators of the different areas may not have any further information on the program’s situation is because their contract with the program has already expired. Once the training is completed, the coordinator’s liability with the program ceases and for any further information or inquiries, participants must contact the Women’s Department in Belize City at 227-7391 and speak with the Project Specialist, Jewel Crawford.
The participants who qualified for the grants will be notified in the coming days, either via phone call or a letter from the Women’s Department. A total of 250 women will be benefiting from the project’s grant.
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