Archive for April 2015

In search of effective mentoring programs for women entrepreneurs


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By Yuri Soares and Maria Teresa Villanueva

100511-N-2304O-064Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, User, WFinch 

Mentoring is a tool that has the potential to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, and in some cases change their lives. Models of mentoring are more widely available than ever before. Modern approaches emphasize that women benefit from a wide array of mentors—not only experienced and successful women, but also male role models, peers, and even competitors. Mentoring is also increasingly conducted through dynamic platforms, often online or through social media, and is increasingly integrated as part of broader programs.

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Moving towards better potable water services


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By Carol Lieveld

N.V. Surinaamsche Waterleiding Maatschappij, April 2014Photo courtesy of N.V. Surinaamsche Waterleiding Maatschappij, April 2014. Participants trained in Water Quality Management

The Water Supply Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project is the first loan from the Water and Sanitation Sector for Suriname.  This project aims to improve efficiency and quality of the potable water services provided in the coastal area of Suriname. This will be specifically achieved by decreasing the level of nonrevenue water by developing and implementing a non-revenue water program; improving the water supply distribution system in priority districts of the coastal area through rehabilitation works; and strengthening the performance of NV Surinaamse Waterleiding Maatschappij (SWM) by improving operations and maintenance, incorporating a management information system, and decreasing energy consumption.

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Obama visits Jamaica – Obamania


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By Xavier Malcolm

1-8nI639Eh_cUQc49HH0L0ZAPhoto courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

“Wah guan Jamaica!!” President Barack Obama exclaimed as he greeted a select group of youth leaders at the University of the West Indies on April 9th. The first sitting US President to visit Jamaica since 1982 is as usual a master in charming the masses. His address at a youth forum was a part of an official working visit to the island. Nevertheless, contrary to the impression one might gain from the rather colloquial greeting, the second ever visit to Jamaica from an active US president was a serious affair for all countries involved.

Arriving on the island at 7:30pm on April 8th, the US President was greeted by a number of Jamaican dignitaries which included the Governor General His Excellency the most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen and Prime Minister the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller. The purpose of the visit was to attend the CARICOM-US Summit on April 9th.

The US president has a meeting with US Embassy staff on the evening of his arrival. He also visited the Bob Marley museum, briefly listening to Reggae music expressing his preference for Bob Marley’s “Exodus” as his favorite.

The following day he engaged in bilateral talks with Portia Simpson Miller and in discussions with CARICOM heads of state. The President stressed that the United States will work with CARICOM governments in order to address high energy costs in the region, having already partnered with the Caribbean in the form of the Caribbean Security Energy Initiative. The President also expressed optimism regarding further progress towards normalizing relations with Cuba, an issue which has long been viewed critically in the eye of Caribbean countries. This occurred during an address to CARICOM heads of state while at the summit.

Following this address the US President gave a speech at a young leader’s town hall meeting where he urged young leaders to continue to make a difference in the region.  Mr. Obama offered more than just encouraging words however; as he announced a US$70 million development program to benefit youth in Latin America and the Caribbean. This program is intended to help young people in marginalized communities. After the delivery of the speech, the US President accepted questions from the young people present. While there were some pertinent questions asked, such as the possibility of debt forgiveness for Jamaica and the US attitude toward China, other questions asked reflect the extent to which Mr. Obama is viewed more as a celebrity figure among many in Jamaica as opposed to being a Head of State. With one young woman asking the president how he manages stress, and a young man asking him to sign a copy of his “Audacity of Hope” book. At the same time, the President also took the opportunity of the presence of Usain Bolt to get a picture with the fastest man on earth.

The President also visited national heroes circle to lay a wreath on the memorial of those individuals who died during World War II.  During this time, a huge crowd from all over the island gathered around heroes circle, attempting to even catch a glimpse of the first African American President of the United States. It is hard to imagine any other US President in history garnering such a reception. Indeed one may scoff at the idea of Jamaicans viewing George W. Bush in such a celebratory fashion. Obama’s policy stance towards the region has differed from his predecessor, particularly with regard to Cuba, but does the difference justify the level of enthusiasm? Some would argue it is more hype than substance.

President Obama left Jamaica for the summit of the Americas in Panama later in the afternoon on April 9th, concluding his working visit to the island.  He has left an lasting positive image on the island, however as the “charm” fades, it must be hoped that the actual substance of the US CARICOM relationship will meet the same level of enthusiasm.


What’s happening with loan growth in Barbados?


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By: Kimberly Waithe

Barbados_Mutual_Life_Assurance_Society_building,_BridgetownPhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Author, CaribDigita

Loans from commercial banks in Barbados stand at one of its lowest levels since the early 1990s. In fact, commercial bank credit has been sluggish since 2009, averaging around 0.6% annually over the past five years with recent figures showing a decline by -1.1%. This outturn represents a significant reversal considering that during 2004 to 2008 due to a credit boom lending grew by an average of 15% annually.

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The Co-creation Model: First Listen, then Lead, then Listen Again


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by Guest Blogger, Kevin Adair


The Fuego del Sol (FdS) developmental journey through the Dominican Republic and Haiti since 2005 has brought us into contact with hundreds of other developmental initiatives, all of which share our dream of working to assist under-resourced families escape the cycle of poverty. At least 95% of development efforts, that we have encountered, have ceased operations within the first two years. The most common reason for this limited success, in my opinion, is the desire to lead without the ability to listen.

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My Obama Moment: Obama’s visit to Jamaica


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By Erica Amanda Haughton

OBAMA AT UWI TOWN HALL MEETING34Photo courtesy of The Jamaica Observer

On March 17, 2015, the local media went wild with news that the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, would be making a courtesy stop in Jamaica the day before attending the 7th Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama scheduled for April 10-11, 2015. Immediately, the country fell into a flurry of activities as excitement consumed the populace.

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Five low-cost technologies to make your home more energy-efficient


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by Guest blogger, Gisela Campillo


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Author, Arvalarva

What exactly is an energy-efficient home? A more efficient home implies a reduced use of energy and other resources, such as water.

How can an energy-efficient home benefit your personal economy and the environment? First, when we reduce the consumption of energy at home, we help to reduce the impact of climate change on a global scale because we produce fewer emissions of greenhouse gases. But that’s not all. We also contribute to a way of life less damaging to the environment and support the sustainability of the limited resources available, be they  water, electricity or gas. A family in an energy-efficient home will most immediately notice, however, a drop in the cost of its consumptions of these products. Logically, consuming less energy means spending a smaller part of the family income to pay for these basic necessities. > Read more

Ensuring a healthy living environment through low-income housing solutions


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By Lucas Hoepel

Fig1Photo credit by Lucas Hoepel, Situation before works have started up

The second Low Income Shelter Program (2259/OC-SU) is supporting the Government of Suriname in improving living conditions of low-income households. This is being achieved either by facilitating access to a new house (core house or core house plus lot) for beneficiaries who can afford a mortgage or by providing funds for housing improvements for those who cannot access mortgage financing. During the program design, it was determined that the need of the households with a maximum per capita income of US$85 would be supported by setting up a new core, or supported by renovating an existing house.

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Making International Trade Work for the Caribbean


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 By Jeetendra Khadan

800px-K_Crane_Visit_ZPMC_In_Ports_of_Auckland_IIIPhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, User, Jason Hise

The British Economist, Alfred Marshall said that the causes which determine the economic progress of nations belong to the study of international trade. Indeed, international trade is probably one of the most important drivers of economic growth for developing countries. By increasing production and export levels, an economy can realize positive benefits through greater levels of employment, reducing poverty, improving competitiveness, and benefiting from the transfer of technology.

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Curriculum revisions: new perspectives and learning methods


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by Natasja Deul

123Photo credit by Natasja Deul – Primary School, Zinniastraat, Paramaribo 

The Second Basic Education Improvement Program (2nd BEIP) is the follow-up of the first BEIP program that was executed from 2004 to 2012. As a result of some operational and coordination circumstances between the Executing Unit and the Ministry of Education and Community Development (MOECD), this program took longer than initially planned to finalize. Toward the end of the first program, it became clear that a continuation was necessary in order to fully implement the reforms in basic education. From this departure, the concept and planning for the second program started before the first program was closed.

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

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