At a special event at the Hope Town Community Center on March 23, 2018 Juliette Deal introduced the Hope Town Zero Waste Program which has been awarded a grant from the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Program (SGP)
Ms. Deal said that dealing with Solid Waste Management “has become a mounting crisis in the Bahamas,” noting that the country is challenged due to its archipelagic nature.
The Hope Town Recycling Program, a community project which started in 2015, received a grant from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) via the GEF and officially launched with a special ceremony including a farmer’s market and a ribbon cutting for a community garden.
The organization was made up of four committee members and students from the Hope Town Primary School.
During the event several vendors set up inside the community a small farmer’s market showcasing items from Om Grown Greens, Abaco Neem and G&M Pantry. There was also a display of items that are recyclable or biodegradable to highlight ways to reuse.
The market and presentation were followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the community garden adjacent to the Community Center where residents can plant vegetables for the use of the community. It is hoped that residents will be inspired to create their own gardens which will reduce the need for the wasteful packaging of produce.
The Hope Town Zero Waste Demonstration Project aims to launch a Resource Diversion and Waste Mitigation integrated community based Zero Waste Project.
The goal is to create a Waste Diversion model for the community and other Out Islands and Cays in The Bahamas in order to showcase a whole systems approach to Resource Diversion and Waste Mitigation as a community (year-round residents, second homeowners and visitors).
Through a series of activities and local initiatives addressing the four R’s (Refuse, Reuse, Reduce & Recycle), the program aims to create a template that other islands in the Bahamas may implement at different levels and scales.
The project plan, activities, metrics gathered, lessons learned and outcomes will be shared as Open Source Information through multiple Knowledge Mobilization Platforms (social media, google drive and quarterly reporting to the UN for their archives).
The program is a partnership with St. James Community Center, Hope Town Association and the Hope Town Primary School.
Deon Stuart, UNDP/GEF representative said that because the civil society community and academic community in a lot of instances were left out when grants were provided directly to governments, the GEF Small Grants Program was introduced to open windows of opportunities to these community groups.
He said that the GEF is like a financial institution and the UN has the personnel on the ground to help direct the resources.
Mr. Stuart noted that two years ago they provided a strategic resource grant to the Friend of the Environment to assist them in putting in a full solar facility for the Frank Kenyon Environmental Resource Center, and five years before also gave a grant to the Size Matters campaign also run by Friends of the Environment.
He said the UNDP and GEF seek to assist programs that address biodiversity and climate change among other issues.
He said that a lot of small communities have issues with waste handling and management.
“We like to see the projects build in sustainability; we like to see the program continue beyond the life of the grant,” he said.