Templeton grant helps NGO provide new opportunities for young entrepreneurs

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Graduates of the Bahamas Urban Youth Development Centre’s four-week course proudly display their certificates following their graduation exercise. The graduation ceremony was addressed by Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell. Also pictured are: Dr. Jacinta Higgs, Director, Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development (seated second left), and Mrs. Prodesta Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bahamas Urban Youth Development Centre (seated right). Minister Campbell also views some of the sewing creations and carpentry that the students produced. (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

Templeton Foundation’s $25,000 grant to a local Non-Governmental Organization – the Bahamas Urban Youth Development Centre — is projected to provide new business opportunities for 18 aspiring entrepreneurs who recently graduated from the centre after a four-week training programme. BUYDC is one of the local NGOs certified/registered as Non-Profit Organizations in accordance with the Non-Profit Organization Act, 2019 as a result of collaboration between the Office of the Attorney General and two of its agencies, and the Department of Gender and Family Affairs of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development. As a result of the process, 580 of the 900 NGOs, Faith-Based Organizations (FBOS) and Community-Based Organizations (CBOS) that applied for status became certified.

By being certified, those organizations are now eligible for greater grant funding opportunities, nationally and internationally. The Templeton Foundation’s grant assists the mission of the Bahamas Urban Youth Development Centre to empower young people through education, employment, and health programmes that will enhance their lives, their families, and their communities.

A total of about 25 students – persons who were either victims of the monster Hurricane Dorian or those who would have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic — initially enrolled into the programme, eighteen females and seven males. Seven of the 25 persons have benefitted from employment opportunities as a result of their participation in the programme.

“I am very excited to be here to be with my future entrepreneurs, my future CEO’s and presidents of companies,” Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said during a small and short ceremony (that followed pandemic safety protocols).

“This is a special occasion especially in this COVID environment which has changed our lives as it has caused us to take an entirely different look at the way we did, or do, things. COVID has caused us to take a more in depth look at education and training, to take a more in depth look at health and healthcare and indeed to take a very serious look at our economy, both our personal economy as individuals, and our economy as a nation.

“I thank the Templeton Foundation for their grant of $25,000 which made this training possible. I would also like to thank Mrs. Moore (Prodesta Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer of BUYDC) and your entire programme. I am happy that Director Higgs (Dr. Jacinta Higgs, Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs) saw value in your programme to recommend you for the grant. I want to challenge you to see beyond what is here today.

I challenge you to see beyond the potential of what you can make just for yourselves. I want to challenge you to know that the economy of The Bahamas, that the social development of The Bahamas, is relying on the success of its entrepreneurs,” Minister Campbell added.

Minister Campbell told the graduates not to “think of today as just a simple graduation exercise.” “Today is the beginning of the potential for you to impact your personal lives, for you to impact the lives of your families, for you to impact the lives of each other, for you to impact the economy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, but you have to be committed,” Minister Campbell added.

The four-week course covered areas such as sewing, farming, agriculture, carpentry and soft skills training. Part of the training for participants of the farming/agriculture portion centred on how to germinate seeds, which BUYDC officials said “is a profitable business venture.“

The grant provided by Templeton Foundation was able to fund all of the instruction, supplies and materials for the participants in addition to providing a weekly stipend to assist with transportation and meals. “We were fortunate, thanks to the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, for recommending our organization to receive the grant from the Templeton Foundation,” Mrs. Moore said. “Based on our past experiences and involvement in training, we were able to be recommended for this grant. It was a pretty significant amount and the students were very excited to participate in the training. They have learnt now how to generate
some revenue.”

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