13 December 2005
by Patricia Thangaraj
Troy Barker, Operations Manager, UNDP (left) presents the plaque for winning the UN Volunteers Award, Barbados and the OECS to Mario Bento, Project Officer for the Waste Recycling Corporation (second from right). (Photo: Courtesy The Barbados Advocate)
Two organizations, one in Barbados and the other in Antigua, have captured the awards for outstanding volunteerism. The awards were presented at the UN Headquarters on International Volunteer Day.
The Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT) won the Barbados Association of NGOs Award (BANGO) for their work in developing youth entrepreneurship. The registered not-for-profit organization, whose mentors are all volunteers, believes that they can achieve anything through love and consideration for the youths of Barbados. The organization, which has been in existence for nine years, provides business mentoring, personal and business advisory services, start-up business loans, opportunities for training, marketing and promotion and networking.
So far, the organization has supported over 200 young persons in starting up businesses since their inception, 75 per cent of which are in their fifth year of operation and all of these businesses have credited the BYBT for their success. Additionally, this year, the BYBT has managed to retain a 50/50 division of men and women, who have benefited from the programme, compared with its 60/40, male/female ratio last year. Thanks to the assistance that the BYBT provided to the “boys on the block”, many of them now own and operate their own business.
The Rotary Club of Antigua at Sundown, instituted in June 2003, won the UN Volunteers Award for opening the first plastic and aluminium recycling facility in October this year. The Waste Recycling Corporation is expected to cut down on the littering problem in Antigua, as well as decrease the amount of non-biodegradable products that are littered in the landfill. The Rotary Club, Antigua has also done their part for the environment by planting 22 mahogany trees close to the country’s new courthouse in November 2003, in addition to participating in the National Clean-up Day in May 2004.
Troy Barker, operations manager, UNDP, who delivered the speech on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said that the “unsung heroes” are the ones who have donated their time, energy and resources to assist people all over the world, who have suffered natural disasters from the hurricane in New Orleans to the earthquake in Pakistan. He added that these persons also recognise that poverty, disease and famine are just as deadly and destructive as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
Barker also said that Annan highlighted the need for all stakeholders, “the various countries, civil society and the general community” to play their individual and group parts if we are going to achieve the MDGs for our respective countries.