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Bahamian Women Leading Charge on Environmental Efforts

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#TheBahamas, April 22, 2022 – A Senior Forest Officer, part-time mermaid and author are leading the charge on environmental protection, education and advancement in The Bahamas.

In their respective terrestrial and marine fields, Ingeria Miller, Jonisha Cartwright and Kristal Ambrose are contributing leaders and changemakers to a more sustainable future for not only the country, but the world.

CIBC FirstCaribbean extended their celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, by recognizing the work of the trio on Earth Day.

Ingeria Miller is a Senior Forest Officer with responsibilities spanning fieldwork and administrative duties. Her introduction to the environmental sector began over 13 years ago when she participated in a United States-funded research project focused on endangered birds on Eleuthera upon recommendation by her then professor, Mrs. Joyanne Thompson.

“Seven million snakes, mosquitoes and sand flies later, it was the most rewarding experience of my life. The project grew me up. I learned to love and appreciate nature and the outdoors became a living classroom for me,” said Ingeria.

Following a switch from pre-med to a major in Natural Resources, Ecology and Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and later completing a Master’s in Public Administration in Environmental Science from Columbia University, Ingeria has given her expertise to The Bahamas while at the now Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP) and the Forestry Unit. Her most recent environmental leadership role was during Forestry Awareness Week. She started the initiative in 2015 as well as introduced the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource’s only environmental summer camp.

Jonisha Cartwright, a part-time mermaid, took a twist on her environmental studies by connecting it to sociology, and is now a recent graduate equipped with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with Sustainability from Arizona State University. Her journey in environmental work began in 2014 as a volunteer and later as an intern at the Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation (BREEF), a non-profit conservation organization focused on youth education, advocacy and public outreach.

As an environmental educator at the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), Jonisha said, “It gives me hope and joy to see kids excited about the environmental field or to see fishermen not only adhering to fisheries laws but being stellar environmental stewards and advocating for their peers to adhere as well.”

Jonisha joined the BNT in March 2020, three days before the country went into its first emergency lockdown due to COVID-19. Since her start, Jonisha has spearheaded the creation of the animated series, Adventures of Xuma, and plays an important role in Ecosystems of The Bahamas with the BNT, a live-action, video series aimed toward high school students and adults.

Geared toward children of various ages, Kristal Ambrose, who recently moved to Sweden to begin her PhD studies focused on Marine Debris Threats and Solutions for the Caribbean region, released a children’s book titled Kai and Gaia Discover the Gyre, with illustrations by Bahamian artist Stevie Burrows.

Prior to this milestone, Kristal founded Bahamas Plastic Movement and has engaged youth through many programs in order to inspire and empower them. She designed an upcycle program to motivate them to come up with original ideas about how to repurpose plastic waste and a Junior Plastic Warriors environmental education program which includes music, dance and art was later created.

Kristal’s connection with the ocean started at a young age when her father convinced her to join him on his daily swims. Being in the ocean made her feel more connected and inspired her mission―to save the ocean from plastic pollution.

She envisions a sustainable future as “a transition towards a circular economy complete with social and environmental justice, equity and access for all communities, especially those of colour.

“It also looks like a divine and intentional reconnection between humanity and the earth systems that support us,” Kristal added.

Ingeria, Jonisha and Kristal have each taken on environmental leadership in different ways in various spaces. The most common trait between the trio is their passion and commitment to not only the environment but their country. CIBC FirstCaribbean highlighted the trio earlier this year in celebration of International Women’s Day as the bank continues to support women making waves in the environmental sector.

Recent CIBC FirstCaribbean donations have also directly benefited organizations and causes the women are a part of. The bank partnered with the Forestry Unit to plant trees on the Bahamas Girl Guides campsite and, in light of the national plastic ban, partnered with Fresh Market to provide hundreds of free reusable grocery bags to customers. CIBC FirstCaribbean also recently donated to the Bahamas National Trust and BREEF.

 

Release: CIBC FirstCaribbean International

Bahamas News

Bahamas Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization Partner to Empower Women-Led Businesses 

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Nassau Bahamas, 29 February 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) are excited to announce the signing of a groundbreaking contract aimed at advancing the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund’s Building Back Equal project.

The initiative is jointly led by UN Women, FAO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It will support women-led businesses in the agriculture, creative, and tourism industries, and will serve as a regional pilot for best practices in gender equitable financing in advancing small island developing states (SIDS).

Gavin Christie, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Deputy Chairman, said, “This partnership signifies a significant step forward for BDB, FAO, and the nation at large. It underscores BDB’s dedication to driving inclusive economic development and gender equality, aligning with the sustainable development goals. As we support and empower women-led businesses, we are fostering social growth and sustainability in The Bahamas.”

Nicholas Higgs, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Managing Director, added, “The collaboration with FAO underlines our commitment to not only bolster the economy but to also ensure that women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this advancement. By providing these targeted funds, we aim to catalyze a transformation in the industries that help form the backbone of our economy. This initiative is not just about financial investment, but also about investing in the skills and capabilities of women-led enterprises. The empowerment of women is a cornerstone for resilient and sustainable economies, and BDB is proud to lead by example. Through these efforts, we aspire to create a ripple effect that will not only uplift women within The Bahamas but also set a precedent for gender equity in funding across the region and globe.”

BDB is the national coordinating authority on the Joint SDG Fund and has played a crucial role in shaping the project’s design and implementation. The total contract allocation to BDB for the FAO-funded section of the project is $186,000. The proposed blended financing instrument is a collaboration between BDB and FAO, and will combine capital from the Bahamas Development Bank with non-reimbursable funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The strategic partnership will provide women-led businesses with access to low-cost capital after undergoing technical capacity development. A portion of the funds will also be allocated to a grants program.

BDB will also sign a similar agreement with UN Women, which will add a further $100,000 to the fund for women-led businesses and further showcase its commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in diverse sectors.

The Bahamas Development Bank is implementing a streamlined approach to its adjudication process to facilitate a faster decision-making process, ultimately ensuring expedited access to funding for women-led beneficiaries in the program. An announcement regarding applications will be announced in March.

 

Photo Caption: Standing from left to right are the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) Deputy Managing Director, Dave Munroe; United Nations Country Representative, Aneesah Abdullah; BDB Deputy Chairman, Gavin Christie; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Representative, Alexis Bonte; FAO Bahamas Representative, Precious Fortune-Thompson; BDB Board Member, Kyron Strachan; BDB Strategic Development and Initiatives Manager, Sumayyah Cargill and FAO Bahamas National Correspondent, Keith Phillipe.

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Bahamas News

Storm Chasers Gear Up !

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 27th, 2024 – In the unfortunate event of a hurricane when most people are huddled in bed there’s a group of around 287 people across The Bahamas and soon to come, the Turks and Caicos islands who are in the storm working keenly to provide invaluable insight to meteorologists about the real life impact and intensity of weather events.  This is already benefiting The Bahamas department of meteorology, and very soon the Turks and Caicos Islands will also stand to gain.  The origin group is Stormwatch Bahamas, which is moving assertively now to hatching Stormwatch Turks and Caicos. We spoke to Craig Lowe, Founder and Storm Rescue Unit Captain for The Bahamas.

 

“It’s all about growing the weather community and protecting the public.” he explained.

 

That depends on much needed partnerships with locally emergency agencies. This weekend for the first time a Skywarn Instructor from the National Weather Service will be training both teams to take on the huge task of becoming a Storm Chaser. TCI is already equipped with the president and several volunteers but Lowe says they are always accepting more.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Record Tourism Arrivals 2023

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Tourism, February 27th, 2024 – The Bahamas tourism sector set a new tourism record with over 9 million arrivals in 2023, an unprecedented milestone according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Investments and Aviation. Air arrivals climbed by 17 percent and cruise arrivals 43.5 percent. This indicates a 38 percent increase over 2022, solidifying The Bahamas as a sought after destination in the Caribbean. 

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