SCHOOLS’ AGRICULTURE PROGRAMME GROWS REGIONALLY
Scores of students in St. Kitts & Nevis will soon be participating in the Regional Entrepreneurship and Agriculture Programme (REAP), which is aimed at promoting a culture of agriculture and agri-business in the Caribbean.
Ms. Sonia Mahon, a member of the Board of Trustees of Youth Equipped to Achieve (YEA), which is in the forefront of propelling REAP, said that over 21 teachers and volunteers in the Federation had undergone the training necessary to coordinate the project.
Ms. Mahon explained that REAP was started six years ago in Barbados by YEA as ‘The Garden Project,’ and was financed with seed money from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She said the project in Barbados was within sight of reaching its goal of expanding to 50 schools. It is also registering growth horizontally as schools are looking at commercialisation, producing secondary products and considering projects using the island’s gullies.
Ms. Mahon noted that a growth spurt was made possible last year when FirstCaribbean International Bank’s Comtrust Foundation and CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank added their financial support allowing the project to take root further into the region starting with Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as to ensure sustainability in Barbados.
She was giving an update on the project recently when Permanent Secretary in St. Kitts/ Nevis’ Ministry of Education, Mr. William Hodge paid a courtesy call on CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Ms. Colette Delaney. The meeting was also attended by Mr. David Bynoe, National Coordinator of the UNDP’s GEF Small Grants Programme, and Mrs. Debra King, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications.
Mr. Hodge expressed thanks on his country’s behalf to the parties who were helping the project to thrive. He said REAP had the potential to bridge theory and practice and was compatible with his country’s vision to see the growth of agriculture and agri-business.
REAP was also highlighted as a tool which could help countries to achieve their Millennium Development Goals. In this respect, Mr. Bynoe pointed to the goals associated with eradicating poverty and hunger as well as health and well-being. He added that its structure, which involved partnerships between the private sector, civic society, government and intergovernmental organisation, was a good model for development.
Ms. Delaney said that the bank was delighted to be part of educational projects and always encouraged staff volunteerism in these outreach programmes and REAP included many of these objectives.