As anyone involved with a
non-governmental organisation
will tell you, accessing funds to
support their programmes is as
much fun as a beach party on a
rainy day. But for four N.G.O.s,
the next three years will be less
stressful financially. The
government of Ireland, through its Agency for
Personal Service Overseas, today entered into an
agreement with a consortium of local N.G.O.s to
give organisations better footing in order to carry
out their work. These include Help for Progress, the
Belize Council for the Visually Impaired, the Tumul
Kin Centre of Learning, and the Society for the
Promotion of Education and Research. According to
APSO's Regional Director Adrian Fitzgerald, and
SPEAR's Support Director Eric Henry, the
agreement will go a long way towards assisting
with poverty reduction.

Adrian Fitzgerald, Regional Director, APSO
"It deals with technical education for the Mayan people
the south, it also deals with the issues of blindness
health in terms of eye care for the country nationally.
programme will deal with issues of community development

processes in fourteen of the country's poorest
through Help for Progress, and then through SPEAR. It
will be
looking at how to strengthen the watch-dog institutions
the country to make sure there is a high level of
transparency and to at all times guarantee the best
democratic development in Belize."

Eric Henry, Support Direct, SPEAR
"There are three specific areas that are actually
under the consortium. The first one looks at human
resources capacity for these four different NGOs. So
trying to strengthen the human resources capacity to
actually provide the quality of service that each NGO
respectively provides to each community. The second area

looks at organisational development. Again, looking at
of the internal structures within those organisations
and to
see how they can actually be made stronger to again
the services of the NGO. And then the third area looks
organisational sustainability in the long run, over the
three years. How can these organizations make a step
towards being self sustainable."

Adrian Fitzgerald
"The big question always is, is there enough resources?
terms of Ireland, this is the largest commitment we have

made to Belize over the past few years, though it is
practically tripling what we have been donating to the
country. We realize that to eradicate poverty in Belize
will need probably a lot more funds. But it' is a
that we can make at this time and we will continue to
look at
creative ways to continue our commitment to Belize in

The Society for the Promotion of Education and
Research as the lead agency in the consortium will
manage the entire project titled: "Capacity Building
for N.G.O.s in Central America." Funds under the
APSO agreement total six hundred and eighty
thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros or
approximately one point five million dollars. The
money will be disbursed annually over the next
three years.