During the past few months, the Board and Staff of Plenty Belize have met several times to focus on planning for the future. The result of all of this hard work is our new Strategic Plan for 2009 – 2014. We believe this plan will guide us to continue our important work in Toledo, building upon our past 12 years of good work.
Our mission statement has been changed slightly, and now reads:
“Working together for the well-being of the people, communities, and environment in Toledo, Belize.”
We believe this shows our continued commitment to all that is Toledo, as well as our commitment to form partnerships where they will lead to the well-being of Toledo.
Many thanks goes to all of the Board and Staff of Plenty Belize, to Mr. Bruce Will Jones for his expert help in facilitating the process, to the Honourable Peter Eden Martinez for his support of the planning process, to Aguada Hotel for the donated use of their conference room, and to all the people of Toledo who inspire us.
St. Benedict R.C School at ‘Indianville’ serves a mainly Mayan/Ketchi population. These families migrated to Punta Gorda Town from villages in the Toledo District of Belize to seek employment. For the most part, the parents of these children are manual laborers. However, they are very supportive of their children’s education ad want to be able to provide a better future for them.
Unfortunately, because of the strained economic situation of the ‘Indianville’ community and the parents of these young children, the school cannot look for funding from them. However, as Principal, I certainly want to provide the children with as many opportunities as possible and I am seeking ways of improving educational quality and service by enabling more children from this community to attend their local school.
Through the efforts of friends, family, and a few parents of St. Benedict School, we were able to attach a small extension to our school’s building. This extension houses a storeroom and a kitchenette, which will be used for the preparation of healthy snacks and meals.
We do not allow out children to eat unhealthy snacks; therefore the school has taken up the responsibility to monitor the snacks our children eat. Also we would like to start a feeding program for out children in this community. However, we are in urgent need of equipment for the program.
Some of the equipments are as follows:
One Stove — Thank you to Scotia Bank who read this article and is donating this item!
One freezer (small)
Two small kitchen cupboards
Measuring spoons and cups
All purpose mixer
125 – Soup dishes
125 – Eating spoons
I pray that you will look kindly on this request in the name of the young and eager pupils of St. Benedict R.C. School at ‘Indianville’, Punta Gorda, Toledo District, Belize.
Any assistance given to St. Benedict School will be greatly appreciated.
Submitted by: Olive Woodeye
Principal of St. Benedict R.C. School
Plenty Belize would like to thank Dawn Dean of the Maya Mountain Research Farm for writing the following post.
Last Thursday, in the hot, hot sun, we washed hundreds of little hands. The occasion was the Pueblo Viejo Food Fair, held in honor of the students graduating from Plenty Belize’s school garden program. Maya Mountain Research Farm participated by teaching all natural soap making, and then… by washing hands. We let the kids choose their favorite type of soap. Do you want to try ginger, cacao, jack-ass bitters, corn or luffa soap? Hold out your hands, get them all wet, lather up and rinse! Do they smell nice? Feel clean? Now you’re ready for your meal!
Cleansing, all natural body soap can easily be made with just lye, water and coconut oil, but most people don’t know how. To support Plenty Belize in their mission of “promoting the well-being of the people, communities and environment we share in Toledo”, MMRF decided to teach this easy skill of soap-making to interested students and parents. The kids were fascinated by the chemical reaction of lye with water (it gets hot fast!) but mostly it was the moms we saw copying down the recipe.
MMRF staff took the opportunity to check out the children’s garden, which was loaded with cilantro, peppers, cabbage and lettuce. While we waited for the meal we sipped corn lob, then, once we were really, really hungry, we gorged on local veggies and local chicken prepared with traditional recipes. A wonderful day was had by all who attended.
After months of meetings, planning, writing, and waiting we at Plenty Belize have been notified that the European Union has accepted two of our three grant applications for economic development work. Everyone is very excited about this wonderful news. On Tuesday, March 4th Mark, Tasha, Ermain and Mike traveled to San Ignacio Town for the official signing ceremony. These grants will provide Plenty Belize and our partners with a great opportunity to help more people throughout the Toledo District and Belize.
The first grant, the Toledo Grant, focuses on helping to develop businesses throughout the district. The grant has been awarded to Plenty Belize, the Toledo Teachers Credit Union(TTCU), and Sustainable Harvest International(SHI). All organizations will be receiving funds to help create new projects, support existing ones, and to award large group grants to qualified recipients. Established business groups will be applying for a one time grant of approximately $22,500 BZD to help start or expand their business. Over the next two years, ten groups will be receiving grants. This is a wonderful opportunity for the residents of Toledo. Working with our partners and the project director (yet to be hired) Plenty will help to choose the recipients of these grants. Plenty will also be receiving funds to establish a Business Resource Center, which is to be housed at the Plenty office in Punta Gorda Town. We plan for the Resource Center to provide services to entrepreneurs and residents throughout Toledo by assisting them with business planning, trainings, guidance, advice and support.
The second grant that Plenty Belize and Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technologies(BEST) was awarded is Microgrants for the Rural Poor; this program will provide grants to Belizean residents across the rural areas of Belize, Cayo and the Toledo Districts. Plenty Belize will be working solely in the Toledo District by providing microgrants to qualified persons interested in starting their own small business, while BEST will be working in the Belize and Cayo Districts. Both Plenty and BEST worked with microgrants this past year under the BRDP project, we feel that our previous experience and knowledge with microgrants will ensure a high rate of success for this upcoming project. Together with BEST we aim to disburses 200 grants within the 3 districts. Due to the higher costs associated with working in Toledo we hope to provide 60 grants, while BEST aims to selected 70 recipients for each of the two districts they will be working with.
These grants will provide a exciting opportunity for everyone involved to really help make a difference in the lives of many Belizeans! Plenty Belize would like to extend a sincere thanks to the European Union for this wonderful opportunity!
Everyday our Belizean parents struggle to make ends meet to keep food on the table for their kids, clothes on their back and a warm bed to sleep in. While some have jobs, others live from day to day. One such parent is Ms. Elidiana Coye from Cattle Landing, Toledo District. Ms. Coye is the mother of 5 children, all of which she is solely in charge of their upbringing. She approached our office with a vision and initiative in her heart to start a business. Her plan was to get a freezer and sell pig meat in and around town. Through a European Union funded BRDP grant, Plenty Belize was able to assist her with the purchase of a freezer to start her business. It has been 7 months since this venture started; Ms. Coye stated that while she encountered some challenges in the beginning her business has been steadily increasing. Ms. Coye sells ice, chicken and also ideal (a local frozen treat!) on occasion when the freezer is not loaded with pork. Plenty Belize has applauded her effort and through the BRDP has provided her with paint to make a sign outside her house. Ms. Coye claims that before the grant she was not able to provide for her children, and now she is saving up her money to expand her business to help her children more in the future.
Promoting the well-being of the people, the communities,and the environment we share in the Toledo District of Belize
Plenty Belize is a registered Belizean NGO with its office in Punta Gorda Town, in the country’s southernmost Toledo District. Founded in 1997 with the support of Plenty International, Plenty Belize has a local Board of Directors and operates independently, yet benefits from access to material, financial and technical support from its U.S. affiliate.
Over its history Plenty Belize has offered a wide range of services to local groups and projects, including training and consulting on a variety of topics, as well as capacity building via joint implementation of projects. For example, the Birding for Biodiversity environmental education project was designed and successfully implemented in collaboration with the Toledo Ecotourism Association. Examples of Plenty Belize’s own projects include our GATE program, a Traditional Birth Attendant training program for villages that need additional health care services, small enterprise development, and solar energy applications.
Plenty Belize integrates social service, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection through projects in health, nutrition, organic gardens, environmental education, and renewable energy. Plenty Belize strives to be known for being an honest, dependable, “no frills” organization.
Please spend a few minutes looking around this site, reading about Plenty Belize and our projects, and let us know what you think!