More Effective Project Implementation to Come as BNTF 11th Cycle Commences

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St. Lucia

– The Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) program is set to enter its 11th cycle. On June 4, 2024, a pivotal stakeholder meeting held at the National Skills Development Centre engaged and informed key stakeholders about the project identification process, which will ensure the success of the upcoming cycle.

This milestone marks a decade of transformative development facilitated through the continued partnership between the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of the SSDF, John Victorin, emphasized the importance of reducing the gestation period for projects in the 11th cycle.

“To accomplish this, we have organized this session to ensure that the information is shared with stakeholders who will identify projects for the 11th cycle of the BNTF.”

With a focus on empowering communities, BNTF 11 will provide essential funding and support for projects in critical areas such as Community Access and Drainage, Water and Sanitation, Education and Human Resource Development, and Livelihood.

“We have not officially launched the BNTF 11th  cycle, but we are setting the stage. This involves working with key stakeholders and other community organizations, parliamentary representatives, etc., to ensure that we develop a pipeline of projects that are approved by the oversight entities, SSDF and CDB”, noted BNTF Deputy Project Manager, Brandon Antoine in highlighting the crucial role of early project identification in the upcoming cycle.

Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, Hon. Joachim Henry, stressed the importance of inclusive and comprehensive discussions during the project identification stage.

It is important that as we do project identification, we do not just keep to ourselves and the community but also mainstream the discussion with other sectors, such as the Ministry of Education, WASCO, and the Ministry of Infrastructure, to ensure that the same project is not already being discussed. At the Caribbean Development Bank level, it will be flagged and rejected. Therefore, we must do this to avoid the embarrassment. So do not sit here as heads of firms thinking of identifying projects without allowing the project to go through the conversation stage in the country.”

Since its inception, the BNTF has allocated an estimated US$20 million or EC$54 million for over 100 sub-projects throughout Saint Lucia.

To date, the SSDF, along with the CDB, remains committed to fostering community development and ensuring that the projects funded through the BNTF cycles are impactful and sustainable.

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