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Yesterday at the Biltmore Plaza, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) gave grants totalling two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to four organizations to assist them in their conservation efforts. Sharon Ramclam is the Executive Director at PACT.

Sharon Ramclam; Executive Director, PACT

"We awarded four grants to three major initiatives in Belize and one of them focuses on the Maya Mountains. Investing in surveillance and enforcement of the Maya Mountains and particularly two protected areas and particularly two key protected areas in the Maya Mountains that being Chiki Bull National Park and Bladen Nature Reserve. The other investment focuses on the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association and strengthening that groups capacity to participate in fisheries management. They represent over twelve hundred fishermen in Belize. The third and final investment is a partnership with restore Belize and it is an effort to help put in school at least forty high school students and to foster appreciation and encouragement for them to stewards of the resources. To date since January we have given over one point six million dollars. Since 1997 we have actually disbursed over twenty million dollars in grants. It is an ongoing effort, its one of our core competencies at PACT as a grant making agency. We are also in the process of fund raising, looking at growing the PACT trust so that we are able to give out more money."

PACT's main objective is to partner in financing biodiversity conservation with clear and tangible benefits to the natural heritage, economy and people of Belize. As Belize's National Trust, PACT continues to strive for the promotion of sustainable management and development of Belize for the benefit of all its populace.


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PACT gives to the environment and to Restore Belize

Over a million dollars have been disbursed for environmental projects by the Protected Areas Conservation Trust in the past nine months. Earlier today another quarter of a million dollars were distributed to four agencies. The bulk of the money went to an anti-crime initiative, Restore Belize while the other environmental organizations got the remaining funds. News Five's Isani Cayetano reports from today's ceremony at the Biltmore.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since its establishment in 1997, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust's grants program has disbursed an estimated twenty million dollars to various natural resources management efforts across the country. Today PACT continued this initiative by awarding an additional quarter million dollars in funding to four agencies, three of which are dedicated to the preservation of Belize's marine and terrestrial resources. The fourth is a one-off partnership between the trust and the Government of Belize to subsidize its anti-crime initiative dubbed Restore Belize.

Sharon Ramclam, Executive Director, PACT

Sharon Ramclam

"We looked at the Restore initiative and we thought that [uhm] well we need to help in some way to develop our people and so as a responsible organization we have that responsibility to ensure that we develop our people and so you've heard that this partnership is to allow for these forty high school students to be enrolled back in high school and also to foster more appreciation and understanding for the natural environment."

Of the total sum being awarded Restore Belize commanded the lion's share with a hundred thousand dollars. Despite the fact that it is about preserving what's left of our decaying social fabric there is the need, according to Mary Vasquez, to engage youths in educational and environmental activities.

Mary Vasquez

Mary Vasquez, Executive Director, Restore Belize

"The majority of the funding is going directly to high school scholarship assistance, so seventy thousand dollars is going to high school scholarships for two years. We have areas of focus and we will be directing this funding towards those students that need assistance in order to attend school. Fifteen thousand dollars will go towards visits, school visits to protected areas. We will be taking upper primary and high schools, high school students to visit protected areas and this will provide I think some wonderful exposure that sometimes some of the schools don't get this opportunity to visit outside of Belize and see what the protected area thing is all about."

Among those protected areas are the Maya Mountains and Bladen Nature Reserve which are co-managed by the Ya'axche Conservation Trust.

Lisel Alamilla, Executive Director, Ya'axche Conservation Trust

"This funds will contribute to continuing our patrols. It will also fund our research monitoring program that we have. We've been doing that for five years so it will continue to fund that and it will also fund the multi-agency patrols that we do with the BDF, TIDE and the police."

The selection of awardee organizations, says Ramclam, was based on applications submitted for funding.

Sharon Ramclam

"What we did this year was that we prioritized the investment areas. We actually was very proactive in identifying these organizations and we looked at national level initiatives and initiatives that would have a broader impact on the country and as you've heard we decided to invest in the Maya Mountains, specifically Bladen and the Chiquibul because of all the activities that are happening up there particularly the illegal incursions and so this support will help to strengthen the enforcement and surveillance activity in that area."

Monies awarded to the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association will be used to bolster the organization's efforts to reach out to the twelve hundred fishermen who form its membership. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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PACT Shares The Wealth

Today four more Belizean Organizations were added to PACT's grants programme that started in 1997. PACT awarded two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in new grants to: Ya'axche Conservation Trust, Friends for Conservation and Development, Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association and Restore Belize. PACT'S Executive Director Sharon Ramclam told us how these organizations were selected:

Sharon Ramclam, Executive Director PACT
"It receives numerous proposals throughout the year, what we did earlier this year the PACT board and management and staff decided to prioritize and we talked to key stakeholders, we looked at what were the urgent priorities for the country and we decided on investing in national level initiatives. We worked - with the exception of the government of Belize through the RESTORE Belize initiative - we've worked with the Belize Fishermen Cooperation before, in fact they actually introduced their strategic plan today, we actually helped pay for that and funded the development of that strategic plan. And then for Chiquibul and Bladen we've traditionally been a local supporter of those two areas and so with the RESTORE Belize it's the first time we are partnering with the government in this way. But with our other partners we traditionally work with them to invest in grants."

Marydelene Vasquez, RESTORE Belize
"RESTORE Belize receives $100,000.00 from PACT today. This money is primarily an education grant. We will be using $70,000.00 for scholarship assistance to secondary school students, we will be focusing on students who should be in high school but have not had the financial resources to make it in so that will be our target population. We will be using $15,000.00 of the money to get trips to protected areas for upper primary school and high school, so we will be getting some of the city children out into the protected areas so that they can understand more about Belize outside the city. I think that lot of the children do not get an opportunity to see outside the city so that's $15,000.00. Another $15,000.00 will be used to have children do environment projects at school. The environment projects will be focussed on the urban environment, on urban environmental problems such as pollution and solid waste management and it will also focus on protected areas and the ecology of Belize."

Lisel Alamilla, Ya'axche Conversation Trust
"It really is continuing to support the work that we are already doing in the Bladen Nature Reserve. Continuing to do our patrols and maintain our monitoring program."

Andrea Polanco
"So I believe Ya'axche has had a long standing kind of battle with the government. Do you think that this grant is some kind of measure to show that they are trying to sweeten you guys up."

Lisel Alamilla, Ya'axche Conversation Trust
"No, I don't think so. $50,000.00 is not enough to sweeten us up. Yes, we went to court to present and to listen to the position of the defendants and the Attorney General's office asked for more time for them to make a submission because at the point of that hearing, they hadn't submitted their submission. So from what I understand is that they will have some time to prepare that and then our attorney will have two weeks to respond to it."

PACT serves as a key partner in financing biodiversity conservation with clear and tangible benefits to the natural heritage, economy and people of Belize. The investments today bring PACT'S total investment since January of this year to 1,021,648.71.

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PACT announces $250,000 in new grants

Belize City, Belize, October 6, 2010 - The Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) is proud to announce investments of $250,000 in new grants. On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, PACT awarded grants to the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association, Friends for Conservation and Development, Restore Belize and Ya’axché Conservation Trust at a short Media Briefing held at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza in Belize City.PACT grants programme was established in 1997 to provide grant funding to our protected areas system. The following four grants have been identified as priority areas of investments by key stakeholders and the PACT Board. $100,000 will be invested in key biodiversity areas of the Maya Mountains via the Ya’axché Conservation Trust (YCT) and the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) for management of the Bladen Nature Reserve and Chiquibul National Park respectively. This investment seeks to enforce a structured biodiversity research and monitoring program for the Bladen Nature Reserve and address the threats from illegal incursions to the Chiquibul Forest, the largest protected area in Belize.
Our partnership with Restore Belize is a unique one in that it is a one-time investment and geared to providing high school scholarship aid to many young men and women who would not otherwise have the opportunity attend high school. In addition, the efforts are geared toward affording these children an opportunity to visit our protected areas and instill in them a sense of ownership of our natural and cultural resources. The Restore Belize Programme was established in June of this year by the Government of Belize with the goal of making Belize a safe home for its residents.
Lastly, $50,000 was awarded to the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association to strengthen their capacity for a greater level of fishermen participation in the fisheries management. The institutional strengthening of the Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association is important to us since the membership of this association utilize our marine protected areas. Therefore, by strengthening this organization they will be able reach out to over 1,200 fishermen throughout Belize and provide the necessary training in best practices.
These investments today bring PACT’s total investment since January 2010 to 1,637,069.18. PACT serves as a key partner in financing biodiversity conservation with clear and tangible benefits to the natural heritage, economy and people of Belize. As Belize’s National Trust, PACT continues to promote sustainable management and development of Belize for the benefit of all Belizeans.
PACT takes this opportunity to thank its constituents, especially its grantees, mission partners and visitors for their commitment and continued efforts to sustainably manage our natural resources.
For more information and complete list of PACT grants visit or email [email protected].

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