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Disaster Fund makes $1.5M available for social projects

PHILIPSBURG - Around one hundred representatives of local non-governmental organizations (NGO's) turned out for an information meeting at the Senior Citizens Recreational Center in Hope Estate on Tuesday evening. The objective: to hear more about ...

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Dear Reader

Here on St. Maarten doing paperwork is not our strongest point.

Yet that is what is absolutely required in order to get the funding from the Disaster Fund for social projects on St. Maarten. See the related story above.

The conditions are as follows:

  • The duration of the projects is 1.5 years max and they have to be completed by December 31, 2019.

Comment: Forget about the ending, let's get started first.

  • NGO’s have to avoid conflicts of interest within their organization, so they have to avoid family relations.

Comment: Something we usually find hard to avoid here on St. Maarten.

  • They have to explain the relation between their project and the hurricane, say something about the expected impact, how many people they expect to reach and about the level of volunteerism.

Comment: Sounds like a lot of paperwork.

  • Other requirements are a declaration of in-kind donations to the project. NGO’s also have to submit an extract of their registration at the Chamber of Commerce, their articles of incorporation and an annual report.

Comment: Again, more paperwork!

  • Large projects have to be accompanied by an official audit.

Comment: Oooohhhh.....Audits are never our strong point.

  • And of course the NGO’s have to submit their project plan.

Comment: Yep!.... More paperwork!

  • NGO’s should also think ahead and consider funding options after the funding from the disaster fund ends.

Comment: Sorry, foresight is also not one of our strong points. (Neither is hindsight, come to think of it.)

  • Four months after a project is finished, NGO’s have to submit a report about financing and content.

Comment: Ahum.... will we even meet the deadline to finish at all?

  • During the projects external observers will visit to monitor progress. Organizers of large projects will have to file their own progress reports.

Comment: Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Is there an echo in here?

  • “Local advisors will advise NGO’s, review projects and connect NGO’s with other organizations,” Sommers said. “We will however not write your project.”

Comment: Nuts!!! We were really hoping you would. Else, it will be such a daunting task to get the funding.

Conclusion commentary: The funding will go back to the Disaster Fund. Until the next disaster. That in itself will be a disaster. It is a monumental problem we have here on St. Maarten. We can never do any required paperwork for any project. Our opinion is the same regarding the paperwork to get the funding for projects from the World Bank trust fund the kingdom government set up. The required paperwork will not be forthcoming any time soon.

Prove us wrong.

Of course, we will not be holding our breaths.

The Publisher

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SXM Daily News May 15, 2018

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