BANGO hosted Ministerial meeting
The Barbados Association of Non Governmental Organisations held an initial meeting with the Minister of Environment and National Beautification Trevor Prescod and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Mrs. Yolande Howard as part of the Government’s expressed interest in working with Civil Society, in addressing a number of its objectives.
While Ms. Best reviewed BANGO’s background and role of representative and advocate for Civil Society in Barbados and its current focus on Capacity and Business Development, Sustainability of the organizations in the sector and NGO Accreditation, Dr. Brandon outlined the contribution Civil Society makes to the local community and the Systems BANGO plans on using going forward namely such as the institutional strengthening of the Secretariat,
Internships/Volunteers as a means of getting youth involved, and to be better able to quantify the contribution Civil Society makes to the GDP.
“NGOs, Community Based Organisations, Charities, Professional and Non-Profit Organisations etc. have played a significant role in addressing a number of national issues and concerns for decades, and we will continue to do, while complementing the work of the Government and Private Sector,” said the Secretary General.
Minister Prescod and Mrs Howard saw opportunities for Interpretative Centres in the communities that will tell the stories of the communities in various Cultural and Creative forms, Environmental or otherwise. Mrs. Howard saw opportunities of linking this with Heritage Tourism where specialized persons and committees can be set up in the communities to drive these efforts. As these activities will be done at the community level it would bring ownership and commitment to the projects.
The Re-Discovery Chair agreed, explaining how the arts can be used as a spring board to introduce young people into agricultural sciences, and how the third sector can assist government in developing sustainable heritage based products. “BANGO is well equipped, based on its membership, to be a facilitator,” said Mr. Douglas.
Opportunities that provide education and advocacy for CSOs to focus on their causes in collaboration with Government that promote Barbados’ Cultural Heritage and Community Tourism, need to be developed together. As such, they would like to work with BANGO to identify areas for NGOs to support and develop community projects that could foster youth employment, mentors for young people and school children and mentoring opportunities for those interested in doing so.
Government is looking for organizations to come up with ideas on how to mentor the youth, provide employment services such as counseling unemployed persons on finding jobs and to help them in finding job opportunities, and guidance for those persons looking for entrepreneurial and small business development opportunities. Mrs. Howard noted that her Ministry is seeking assistance with developing a national Mentorship Programme framework from BANGO.
Government plans on reviving the Social Justice Committee as a means of getting Non-Governmental Organisations, Businesses and Co-operatives and Worker’s Unions etc. involved. Their submissions and input will be brought forward to the Social Partnership.