How the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network continued work to build back better across the Caribbean

As climate change and extreme weather continue to wreak havoc across the greater Caribbean region, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network is ready to respond when and where it’s needed most. The network of over 700 organizations works to advance response, recovery, and resiliency efforts throughout the region.

To date, 87 Commitments to Action — measurable projects that address significant challenges — have been launched through the Action Network. These commitments will be worth $153 million when fully funded and implemented.

We are inspired by the work that members have been undertaking. Read below for a few moments that stood out this year.

Response

In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane or other natural disasters, the CGI Action Network serves as a coordination platform helping to deliver assistance to those who need it most. This includes major response organizations such as Americares, CORE, World Central Kitchen, and AirLink as well as corporations and smaller, grassroots nonprofits.

Staff from All Hands and Hearts help to repair “Every Child Counts” school in Abaco Island, Bahamas.

Since Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas on September 1, CGI Action Network staff have been coordinating with humanitarian partners responding in Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, facilitating information and resource sharing within the Action Network in support of the immediate response efforts.

In November, CGI staff convened leaders in the Bahamas to learn more about ongoing needs and long term recovery priorities.

One Action Network member, All Hands and Hearts, has been on the ground since the start. They have been tirelessly working to clear debris and re-construct buildings such as local schools to help kids and their families get back to normal as soon as possible. Through community and volunteer collaboration, All Hands and Hearts are helping these families recover faster.

Recovery

As immediate response efforts begin to ramp down, the Action Network members begin to look at what long-term recovery is needed. This can include rebuilding homes and businesses, and getting essential services like schools and hospitals up and running again.

President and Secretary Clinton visited small businesses being supported by the Foundation for Puerto Rico last January, stopping by a few local restaurants and a hair salon.

The Foundation for Puerto Rico committed to expand its Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative program to 24 new communities outside the metropolitan area. The initiative is a community-based recovery approach that supports communities to become more resilient and active resources in the creation of economic opportunities.

Resilience

As islands transition to the long-term recovery phase, and start preparing for the next hurricane season, the Action Network identifies and champions creative solutions needed to address the underlying challenges that make Caribbean islands and communities so vulnerable to natural disasters in the first place. This can mean investing in communities through small business loans or supporting renewable energy so that hospitals and schools can keep the lights on immediately after the next storm.

Members of Cooperativa La Sagrada Familia receiving training in micro entrepreneurship. This training provides individuals with the skills to start or expand their own businesses.

In early 2019, Inclusiv committed to expand Community Development Financial Institutions in Puerto Rico by supporting local financial cooperatives. This investment includes funds for small businesses and affordable housing. So far, 37 cooperatives have become a part of the Inclusiv Network, providing 65 businesses with access to financing.

President Clinton and Secretary Clinton visited the Queen Louise Home in St. Croix last June. The home provides foster care for children and also includes a Head Start Program.

On November 6, 2019, the Queen Louise Home in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, flipped the switch to begin utilizing power from new solar panels!

This aerial shot of the Queen Louise Home in St. Croix shows the solar panels that were recently installed.

This project was made possible by Energy Wise Strategies, LLC. and a generous grant from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and was announced at the January 2019 meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Engineers estimate that the cost savings due to renewable energy will be at least $1,500 a month for Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands, which runs the home. Keziah Sullivan — Director, Housing Compliance & Fund Development — shared, “We are excited that everything is coming together and just in time for Christmas. Santa is definitely looking out for the children.”

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery is committed to developing and implementing comprehensive plans for successful recovery in places devastated by natural disasters. Since the launch of the Action Network, 775 organizations have made 86 Commitments to Action.

The next meeting of the CGI Action Network will take place February 18 to 19 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Read more about the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network in our Impact Magazine at clintonfoundation.org/peoplefirst.


Response, Recovery, and Resiliency in the Caribbean was originally published in The Clinton Foundation on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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