From farming to education to marine life, Abaco is on the mend
By Donna Callejon - Executive Lead, Disaster Response
From Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization
The past 15 months have been rough for the folks on Abaco Island in the Bahamas. When I traveled there in January, new signs of life were emerging—rebuilt homes, new job prospects, and reinvigorated farmers tending to their businesses. Then COVID-19 forced a nationwide shutdown, exacerbating the challenges of daily life, much less rebuilding.
Throughout these challenging times, however, both local and international organizations have worked to make good on their commitments to the people and natural habitat of Abaco and its marine communities. As in most parts of the world, outdoor work is safer than indoor, and thanks to your generosity we have recently made grants from the Hurricane Dorian Relief and Recovery Fund to three unique organizations:
World Central Kitchen is probably a familiar name at this point. The globally recognized nonprofit founded by Chef Jose Andres has been everywhere—from Nepal to Japan, California to Guatemala—feeding those in need. What you might not know is that in addition to being an emergency response meal-providing juggernaut, WCK also has long-term Food Producer Networks, one of which is in Abaco. They’re supporting the farmers, fishers, and small food-related businesses of Abaco with direct grants to help them rebuild their operations and get back to their pre-Dorian production levels and beyond. They are working with the grantees, chefs, restaurants, food sellers, community organizations, and the Bahamian Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to build a stronger and more sustainable food economy in times of calm, and a more resilient food system in preparation for the next disaster.
The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization is hard at work keeping some of the world’s most prolific marine environments alive. The bottlenose dolphins are one of many marine mammals that were threatened by Dorian’s wrath and the subsequent oil spill. Because of donors like you, the 30-year old organization recently acquired a new research vessel to monitor the health impacts of the storm and document the benefits of reduced marine noise. This will help increase the resilience of the Sea of Abaco’s bottlenose dolphins, contributing to population growth in the wider Abaco region. Establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) is one of the greatest defenses against climate change and will boost the health of the entire aquatic ecosystem so these beautiful species can swim freely for years to come.
All Hands and Hearts (AHAH), a long-time GlobalGiving partner, is finally back in action after being forced to evacuate Abaco earlier this year due to COVID-19. After months of painstaking waiting, the guidelines for operating in the field were developed and AHAH could finally re-establish its base in Marsh Harbor and welcome its first round of volunteers in September. In October, Central Abaco Primary (the largest elementary school on the island) reopened to students and teachers in a fully mucked, gutted, cleaned, and refurbished facility thanks to the relentless efforts of team lead Chloe Forman, the AHAH staff, and their determined volunteers.
Our partners are amazing!
Thank you for generously supporting community-led relief efforts that assist these incredible projects and countless other partners in The Bahamas and beyond. In the upcoming months, we'll continue reporting on how your donations are providing continued investment in the rebuilding of livelihoods in The Bahamas.
Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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When a disaster strikes, recovery efforts led by people who live and work in affected communities are often overlooked and underfunded. GlobalGiving is changing this reality. Since 2004, we've been shifting decision-making power to crises-affected communities through trust-based grantmaking and support.
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They were there long before the news cameras arrived, and they’ll be there long after the cameras leave. They know how to make their communities more resilient to future disasters, and they’re already hard at work. GlobalGiving puts donations and grants directly into their hands. Because the status quo—which gives the vast majority of funding to a few large organizations—doesn’t make sense.