Rodney Grant,??Chairman??Barbados Non State Actors Panel (left),??Christopher Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs (centre) and Acting Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation, Claude Bochu (right),??show solidarity today at the launch of the EU’s??Non-State Actors Grant Scheme, at the EU Headquarters in Hastings, Christ Church. (A.Miller/BGIS)

Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler is calling on all actors within the society to work together to assist civil society in achieving its goals by liberating its members from the constraints of poverty, social degradation and the dislocation that comes from the economic fallout.

He made this observation today while addressing the launch of the European Union’s $250,000 Non-State Actors Grant Scheme (NSA) launch at the delegation’s Hastings, Christ Church, office.

Underscoring the importance of a democratic society, the Minister noted that persons would not realise their true potential if these constraints remained a constant feature of their lives.

"Therefore, it is important that government, NGO’s, labour, the private sector and the religious community work together to establish common platforms on which they can set forth the community to be able to achieve both individual and collective goals," Mr. Sinckler stressed.

The Minister of Finance said the ongoing economic crisis had exposed the vulnerability of states around the world and urged all societies to find commonality in the principles that would lead to an orderly society.

"As we become more integrated and more reliant on each other, we, therefore, have to find common pathways that clearly delineate the core principles which we intend to follow and which we believe are best for the evolution of an orderly, productive and sustainable society," Mr. Sinckler surmised.

The Minister mentioned the role non-state actors played in promoting a better quality of life for citizens and how this would be achieved through the EU Small Grants Programme.

"This [grant programme] is one step in solidifying that process of building capacity, not only financial and otherwise, but, in the training of persons to undertake that very huge and herculean task of ensuring that they continue to protect and promote the best elements of democracy across our societies.

"I want to encourage my colleagues in the NSA community to continue to do that work … you have the full support of Government where we can contribute, we will, whether it is with financial resources or otherwise, and we will continue to hold your hands as you hold ours, in ensuring that we make our society a better place to live, work and play," Mr. Sinckler added.

Meanwhile, Acting Head of the EU Delegation, Claude Bochu, said the current grant scheme would "become the flagship programme of the Barbados EU/NSA panel and will empower around 10 non-governmental organisations to work on human rights and human resources advocacy".

He further stated: "I encourage NGO’s to leverage their commitment to the Barbadian society on key human rights issues.?? These grant funds are only a contribution, but we are aware that your organisations are backed with numerous volunteers who are eager to help out to influence the different Barbadian communities."

Chairman of the NSA Small Grants Fund, Dennis de Peiza, said the grant funding would augment government’s national human resource development thrust.?? "It [grant funding] affords civil society the opportunity to play its part in facilitating training for its constituents, in order to achieve the overall objective of strengthening skills and improving the employability of Barbadians to reduce vulnerability among youth and to improve overall productivity," he said.

The fund allows applicants, accredited by the Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, the Small Business Association and the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations, to receive a maximum of $25 000 for projects that involve capacity building and human resource development and training.

The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, October 26, and the programmes must be implemented six months after the date of disbursement.?? Application forms and guidelines may be downloaded by clicking here.


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