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Ya’axché Conservation Trust (YCT)

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Public Statement 2014

Title Building Resilient Communities in the Maya Golden Landscape of Southern Belize
Type of organization Producer association
Country Belize
Duration  Four years
IAF Funding   $184,805
Counterpart Committed $127,164 ($80,500 in cash; $46,664 in kind)
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries
Direct: 72 farmers and their families
Indirect: 350 farmers and their families
Primary program areas Education/training; agriculture/food production, the environment

Organizational background:
YCT, which became legally constituted in 1998, is a nongovernmental organization whose mission is to stimulate economic opportunities for the indigenous communities living in and around protected areas that it manages in the Toledo district. It furthers responsible water and land use by advocating for national policies that protect the environment and encourage sustainable development. It has provided technical support for locally-led environmental initiatives as well as financial and in-kind contributions mobilized from local municipalities.

YCT’s highest authority is a board of seven directors who serve for two years. The board meets twice a year and appoints an executive director to oversee operations and hire staff. YCT currently operates with 20 salaried employees and seven volunteers assigned to three units: Protected Areas Management, Community Outreach and Livelihoods, and Operations. YCT has received funding from the Nando Peretti Foundation, Sea World and Busch Gardens, Fauna & Flora International, Oak Foundation, United Nations Development Program, Protected Areas Conservation Trust, Deutsche Gesellscharft fur Internationale Zusammernarbeit (GIZ) and the Whitley Fund for Nature.

Project Objective:
To develop the organizational and agroforestry skills of residents of six indigenous communities in southern Belize.

YCT will work with 72 farmers from six communities in the Toledo district to develop their leadership and organizational skills as well as their agroforestry practices. The farmers will learn techniques to apply to their cultivation of staple foods for consumption as well as cacao as a cash crop. The grant will directly benefit the farmers involved and their families and will indirectly benefit another 350 farmers and their families.

Rationale for funding:
YCT will work with informally organized communities. Farmers will actively participate in activities and will apply the skills acquired during training sessions toward developing a reliable supply of food, preserving their environment and increasing their income.

Learning Opportunity:
The project should show whether indigenous communities can improve their livelihood by farming responsibly in an area designated as protected.