Posted: Friday, January 20, 2023. 3:52 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Four organizations will share US$710,000 from the 2022 Central America Regional Security Initiative – Economic Support Fund (CARSI-ESF) and Fiscal Transparency and Innovation Fund, awarded by the United States Government on Thursday.
The recipients will partner with government agencies on projects to build the capacity of public officers and civil society for accountability and increased fiscal transparency as well as training frontline personnel and transport sector stakeholders to enhance the identification of human trafficking victims.
U.S. Ambassador Michelle Kwan emphasized, “The United States is proud to support these U.S.-funded programs that will promote civil society engagement to strengthen democracy at all levels of government. These projects will combat trafficking in persons, promote anti-corruption and transparency, and improve public service delivery to vulnerable communities, helping to create a safer and more just and equitable Belize.”
The 2022 CARSI-ESF grantees are the Human Trafficking Institute, the Accountability Lab, and RET International.
The Human Trafficking Institute received a US$250,000 grant for a project to prevent trafficking in person through implementing government protocols and national training as detailed by Chris Nick, Country Coordinator: “Our grant goal is to strengthen the collaboration between the government and civil society and their response to trafficking. Our goal is to ensure that front-line agencies can ID as well as report trafficking. Lastly, to collaborate with government to provide better service to victims.”
The Accountability Lab also received a US$250,000 grant to promote government innovation inside and outside of government. Representative Deborah Seawell explained, “We will run an integrity innovation lab which will bolster the ministry’s training unit and work with fourteen reformers from within the Belizean government at all levels to supercharge their reform efforts. These change-makers will receive hands-on support to push for change and be integrated into a vibrant network, predicated on the ideas of integrity and citizen-centric decision making.”
RET International received a US$130,000 grant for a project to prevent human trafficking by empowering transportation leaders through education, awareness, and policy changes. Cherese Ferguson, Country Director, RET International reported, “Our proposal responded directly to objective one of the 2022 Central American Regional Security Initiative Economic Support Fund, CARSI ES Fund, to develop and strengthen mechanisms that improve coordination and cooperation among key stakeholders to curb human trafficking and improve services to vulnerable marginalized populations, especially women and children.”
The Love Foundation was selected as the 2022 Fiscal Transparency Grantee, Belize’s first award in this category. The foundation received US$80,000 in government funding for a project to bolster Belize’s fiscal transparency and accountability systems. Seawell as their representative said, “Through this grant, we hope to develop a mechanism set to improve the coordination and cooperation among public officers to perform their duties as effective stewards of the public service and to promote a more fiscally transparent and accountable government. We will also support Belizean civil society and non-government stakeholders to understand GOB’s financial management and effective fiscal control systems.” This project is focused on the office of the Auditor General.
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