Philipsburg- A World Bank mission, led by Mr. Alex Kamurase visited Sint Maarten from September 11 to 15, 2023 to assess the progress of the Resources for Community Resilience program (R4CR). The delegation also included Ms. Natalia Bavio, Financial Consultant and Ms.Chanelle Fingal, Social Development Consultant. Their primary objectives were to evaluate the overall progress, operational implementation and compliance of the R4CR program with the World Bank’s standards in the key areas of financial management, procurement, social and environmental safeguards.
During their visit, the World Bank team engaged with various other stakeholders, including the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) and R4CR's Project Technical Committee. Mr. Kamurase explained, “The general objective of the R4CR program is to improve the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and support the implementation of reconstruction and resilience subprojects at the community level”.
The R4CR program includes a grant scheme as funding mechanism for community and social rehabilitation initiatives on Sint Maarten and also focuses on improving the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSOs) in reconstruction and resilience activities post hurricane Irma.
The R4CR program consists of 3 components. Component 1 provides small grants to local CSOs for social rehabilitation projects. Component 2 includes funds for capacity building activities and technical assistance for local CSOs while Component 3 covers project management costs. The World Bank mission thoroughly reviewed these components and found that the R4CR program not only met but exceeded expectations in all three areas thereby earning a “satisfactory” rating.
In addition to the R4CR program assessment, the delegates had the opportunity to visit several R4CR projects currently in progress. They interacted directly with CSOs and their direct beneficiaries, gaining valuable insights into the program’s progress and impact. The delegates had the unique opportunity to visit the pelican nesting site at Fort Amsterdam and the site of the new birdwatching platform at the Freedom Fighters roundabout. This was done under the guidance of Nature Foundation who received funding from R4CR for their birdwatching project. The St Maarten Yacht Club Sailing School welcomed the delegation and introduced them to the boat “Nemo” designed to enable individuals with a disability to
experience the exciting world of sailing. The refurbished public pool at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex was the next stop of the tour where the team saw the first group of school children receiving swimming lessons after the pool had been closed for 8 weeks while works were being done to improve the facilities. At the Mental Health Foundation the team got the opportunity to tour the almost completed therapy kitchen, a vital component of their client rehabilitation program. Animal welfare is also an important thematic area of the R4CR program and therefore the World Bank team made a stop at SXM PAWS in Cay Bay. There they saw the refurbished kennels, upgraded storage facilities and were enthusiastically greeted by the furry tenants. The St. Maarten Youth Council at the Rupert Maynard Community Center in St. Peters was the next stop on the tour where the team met with the youth leaders and saw the renovated kitchen and outdoor staircase that were part of the R4CR project. The community center is used for many out-of-school and youth activities.
The team of the NOW Generation Foundation welcomed the World Bank delegates to their new facility in the Plaza Building where they will provide training and support for young adults leaving the foster care system. The facility is currently being furnished so the program can commence within a few weeks. This project is a collaborative effort between R4CR and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports. The final site visit was at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) where the mission got a small taste of the “Total Theatre” concept (a project whereby the arts are used as a therapeutic tool for youth). The delegates observed a ballet lesson and were witnessed a practice session of the youth orchestra.
The project review and site visits provided the World Bank delegates with a comprehensive understanding of R4CR-funded projects and their positive impacts on the community. Mr. Kamurase concluded, “We are very impressed with what we have seen and moving forward all stakeholders need to think about how to make these impacts sustainable after the R4CR program concludes at the end of 2024”.
The R4CR program is financed by the Government of the Netherlands via the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is administered by the World Bank and monitored by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB). The R4CR program is being implemented by VNGI.
For more information about the R4CR program or a detailed review of all R4CR projects please visit www.r4cr.org or the Facebook page (R4CRSXM).