On Friday, October 12th, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Gaspar Vega launched a project for the construction of a new multipurpose centre for the village of Guinea Grass in the Orange Walk District that will address the training needs of the women of the village and, empower the existing groups to collectively engage in income-generating activities.
The project will be implemented by the Social Investment Fund and financed by the Government of Belize through a $350,000 loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The community of Guinea Grass will provide over $5,000 in labor. The Guinea Grass Multipurpose Centre is a community-based project collectively supported by the Guinea Grass Village Council and the various leaders of community groups, churches, associations and residents of Guinea Grass Village. The project proposes to provide the centre with 5 industrial sewing machines, 5 regular sewing machines, an assortment of cloth and cutting tables and cupboards. The women’s group has already identified the potential for the sewing of uniforms, bed sheets, place mats, bathroom covers, hats and Mestizo dresses, etc. These items will be displayed at the centre and sold throughout the village and other communities. In addition to the skills training in sewing, the project proposes to empower the women of Guinea Grass Village with training in Small Business Management. This training will run simultaneously with the sewing training throughout a ten-month period and will equip the women with the necessary skills to run a small business.
The project includes the construction of a one-storey Ferro-concrete building, measuring 42 feet wide by 44 feet long, with a veranda 4 ft wide along the perimeter of the building and, two stairways to access the first floor, providing an approximate total floor area of 3,063 square feet. The building will house a sewing training room for women and youth, an office for the Guinea Grass Village Council and Water Board to enhance their customer services, a library equipped with computers and a male and a female sanitary block. The building will be enclosed with masonry block walls reinforced with concrete and steel. Solid timber and aluminum windows with security grills will be installed. Provisions will be made for the installation of electrical, plumbing, water supply and water systems in accordance with regulations of the respective authorities.
The village of Guinea Grass is located in the Orange Walk District, nine miles south west of Orange Walk Town. The community has approximately 3,000 inhabitants, who dedicate themselves to the cultivation of sugarcane.