On Saturday, January 16, fifteen members of East End and Chachahuate gathered at East End Cabanas on Cayo Mayor for a workshop meeting to define a project proposal to improve access to clean water for the community through water catchments. The goal of the project is to improve the health of the community, as well as to improve tourism, goals that attendee and regional guide Wilmer Rivera regards as “the most important need right now for this community to live and prosper.” The workshop was led by Ian Drysdale of Luna Environmental Consulting, and Nanzi Duarte of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The project is one of four areas in the Bay Islands selected by WWF to participate in a community development effort to reduce the impact of climate change. The four areas in participation are Cayos Cochinos (East End and Chachahuate), Utila Cays, Punta Gorda, and Sandy Bay. The project is backed by the Belize office of WWF and the Department for International Development (UK) in partnership with the Honduran Government Climate Change Office and the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), and implemented by Luna Environmental Consulting.
This effort is the second round of visits to the communities. The first series occurred in July 2009, when each community gathered to identify the three greatest risks climate change posed to their communities. In the second round, each community defined one project to address their particular risks, and outlined stakeholders, methodology, and approximate costs. The next step in the process, according to Drysdale, is to help apply for funding for each. If full costs cannot be covered, then Drysdale and his team look to what can be accomplished with the budget that is allotted.
Marcio Aronne, Coordinator for the Cayos Cochinos Foundation has seen several projects implemented in his region, including projects for education, garbage, and microenterprise, most of which have had some level of success, he said. “This project will be successful because it is simple and not complicated,” he remarked.
“We worked together as a group to develop this project,” said Carolin Buelto Jaime from Chachahuate. “This is why the project will work. There is so much work to be done. I look forward to developing other projects.” [/private]