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Belize Audubon Society awards $15,000 in small grants to deserving fisher folk in Northern Belize

Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2018. 8:44 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: On Wednesday, July 4, the Belize Audubon Society awarded six small grants valued at $3,000 each to six wives of fishermen from the communities of Copper Bank and Chunox, to advance their small businesses.

The small grants were made possible through support from various donors, such as the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI), NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, and the GEF Small Grants Programme, along with the Belize Audubon Society (BAS).

Since the inception of the program in 2012, the BAS has awarded small grants to 37 deserving fisher folks to support income diversification.

Some of the supported business ventures include poultry production, food catering, provision of cosmetology, masseuse services, and internet cafe services.

In partnership with Reforestamos México, the beneficiaries engaged in an intensive entrepreneurial/human development training and participated in a series of exchange visits to successful small businesses [of a similar nature] in neighboring Mexico to learn marketing strategies, best practices in product development and business management skills in order to promote and improve their small businesses prior to grant issuance.

With this initiative, through the Community Outreach Program and Alternative Livelihoods Programme, BAS continues to improve support for conservation, conservation education, and stewardship within buffer communities of the BAS co-managed protected areas.

The program further contributes to improved livelihoods of stakeholder communities and most importantly, reduces fishing pressure in marine protected areas.

Chunox and Copper Bank are primarily fishing communities and considered buffer communities of Half Moon Caye and Blue Hole natural monuments located within the Light House Reef Atoll.

The two natural monuments are co-managed by the BAS, which also has oversight of Light House Reef Atoll as a fisheries management zone.

The Belize Audubon Society thanks all donors and  GCFI-NOAA for supporting the six recipients for this round of small grants.

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