12 Amerindian communities receive Norway funds

Norwegian financing from a forest protection scheme has been disbursed to 12 Amerindian communities under the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF) Project.

This was announced in a statement on Tuesday by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Project Management Office in the Office of the President.

In a joint press release, the ministry and OP said the project is expected to benefit approximately 180 communities. It is being implemented in two phases. The first phase of the project will provide 27 communities with funding of up to $5M each for the development of a community-based and led initiative or business investment.

Twelve of the 27 communities in this phase of the project have received disbursements to start implementing their CDPs. Each CDP was approved by consensus or majority vote at village meetings. The recipient communities and projects are Barabina, poultry rearing; Baramita, village shop; Manawarin, mixed farming and Kamwatta, aquaculture all in Region One. Bashaizon and Yurong Paru, cattle rearing; Parikwaranau, cassava production; Massara, farming: cassava, cash crop cultivation; Rupertee, farming- cassava processing facility and Annai central, aquaculture, all in Region Nine. Karrau, Region Seven, farming – cash crop production and Kurukubaru, Region Eight, cattle rearing.

Prior to the disbursements, the ministry and UNDP invited representatives from the communities to travel to Georgetown to participate in an Inception Workshop held on March 22-23 to discuss the projects and share their visions and expectations. “The specific objectives included: engaging the representatives of each community as well as consulting with the relevant national stakeholders on the projects; identifying and building key linkages as well as synergies between community projects and institutions; and examining each project in detail to understand the support and other requirements needed to maximise chances for success,” the press release said.

Subsequently, the ministry and UNDP coordinated with several agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture’s Fisheries Department, National Agriculture and Research Extension Institute, Guyana Livestock Development Agency and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to undertake field visits to the selected communities.

The field visits focused on the technical aspects of implementing each CDP. It outlined each community’s technical assistance and training needs; management and implementation arrangements for each CDP; examined the experience and arrangements each community had in record keeping and financial management; adjusted the budgets to fit the $5M  allocation including the required inputs while considering feasibility and economic sustainability; reviewed the general and specific provisions of each grant agreement; examined  and assessed the technical feasibility and suitability of each site proposed; examined the  business and economic feasibility of each CDP; and signed the Micro- Capital Grant Agreement. This exercise started on April 17 and is still ongoing.

According to the ministry, in the coming months plans are in train to continue engagements between the combined project teams and the remaining communities in Phase I, ultimately facilitating the disbursement of funds to these communities. At the same time, the project will produce outputs that will benefit Phase II, including a functional and scalable disbursement mechanism, key lessons learned and implications for the Phase II operational plan.

The Norway financing, potentially US$50M over five years is being managed by the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF).

GRIF was set up in October 2010, with the World Bank as Trustee, following an agreement signed between Guyana and Norway in November 2009, in which Norway agreed to provide Guyana with US$250M by 2015 in performance-based payments for avoided deforestation.

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