The recently signed six hundred and seven thousand US dollars (US$607,000) or approximately XCD$1.65 million dollars agreement for the BNTF10 Programme Cycle, has been allocated for three sub-projects on island.
The projects are:
- Salem Community Resource Centre, which is expected to start in April 2022. This sub-project is for the restoration and rehabilitation of the Old Salem Primary School to be used as a Community Centre.
- Youth Development Programme – Expected start date February 2022
The Department of Community Youth and Sports Services (DCYSS), Youth Development Programme will assist unemployed/underemployed young people in the community to gain competencies and skills to qualify for a job/career, as well as teaching the art of implementing a business and the skills and attitude needed to be successful.
3. Human Resource Development/Skills Training Renewable Energy Resilience Certification – Expected to start in 2022.
This sub-project is geared to providing training to increase local certification on the installation, inspection and maintenance of solar photovoltaics i.e. solar PV. As a practical aspect of the training solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will be installed at the government health centres on island which do not have backup generators.
BNTF’s Project Manager, Mrs. Jennifer Meade noted that the three projects will positively impact the communities. As it relates to the Old Salem Primary School Restoration, the school is in a bad state of disrepair and currently out of use. After the BNTF grant is put into improvements, it will serve to be used:
- to facilitate developmental workshops and classes;
- Community Centre for meetings, and other events;
- Montserrat National Steel Orchestra pan house / practice room; and
- Hurricane shelter and many other varied activities.
The Youth Development/Skills Training programme will help to create more jobs on island and allow young persons to start a business from a young age, giving them space for trial, errors, experience and also provide a gender-balanced workforce and entrepreneurs.
Pertaining to the ‘Human Resource Skills Training–Renewable Energy’ project, Ms. Meade explained that the aim is to improve the reliability of electricity supply and reduce downtime for the health centers. The project will provide training and certification to persons on island in the PV renewal energy sector. This will increase not only the capacity of Montserrat but of the Caribbean, which is moving towards a sustainable energy future. It will also help participants develop the necessary skills to work in the PV industry which will signal to the Montserrat community that Renewable Energy systems are feasible and have long term benefits to the environment.
The BNTF Project Manager further noted that projects especially the Salem Resource Centre will help to stimulate the economy through job creation and increase spending in the short term. It will provide improved facilities and a safe haven for residents in the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes. While the training projects will empower the youths, harness their skills, prepare them to be independent, more productive and marketable in a changing environment.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will provide 95% of project funds and the Government of Montserrat 5%. The projects are geared to the reduction of poverty, enhancement of livelihoods and improving quality of life on Montserrat.