The Caribbean Development Bank’s Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF) is training community-based organisations in the Region to incorporate procurement best practices in projects to increase transparency and foster accountability.

“Doing things right goes beyond good intentions. It means giving attention to each of the details of implementation, including the practice of procurement, which is the cornerstone of good project management and the effective delivery of results,” said Mr. Matthew Straub, Chair, CDRRF Trust Fund Steering Committee and First Secretary (Development) and Alternate Canadian Director to the Caribbean Development Bank, during the opening session of the workshop.

The three-day workshop held from July 11 to 13 at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Barbados, targeted over 17 representatives from CDRRF-funded projects in Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Discussing procurement challenges during the workshop targeting community-level projects. (L-R) Joan Mason-Buchanan and Shanique Whyte, Trinityville Area Development Committee Benevolent Society; Matthew Straub, Chair, CDRRF Trust Fund Steering Committee and First Secretary (Development) and Alternate Canadian Director to the Caribbean Development Bank.

CDRRF, a multi-donor trust fund managed by CDB with financial contributions from the Government of Canada and the European Union, finances projects which reduce the risks of natural disasters and support climate change adaptation efforts in communities across the Caribbean. The projects and the community-based organisations that manage implementation were selected through a competitive application process launched in 2013.

Since launch, many of the project teams have experienced challenges adhering to the procurement guidelines established by CDRRF under CDB. The workshop aimed to equip participants with the relevant knowledge and skills to execute procurement requirements. It also focused on providing CDB and CDRRF teams with a better understanding of the unique challenges facing rural communities in the Caribbean, in order to tailor procurement guidelines to the contexts of these communities, where possible.

Douglas Fraser, Head, Procurement Policy Unit, CDB, delivers remarks at the procurement workshop for community-based organisations held at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Barbados.

“Our experience from CDRRF is that there is a need for greater guidance for recipients of CDB financing on how to operationalise CDB’s procurement guidelines in the context of procurement at the community level,” said Mr. Douglas Fraser, Head, CDB’s Procurement Policy Unit, in his remarks to workshop participants.

He added that the training would significantly assist project teams represented at the workshop in effectively undertaking procurement and contract management in a timely manner. Once these projects are being implemented effectively, they can then achieve their goal of helping residents to reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, natural hazards and climate change.

A simplified procurement reference manual that incorporates findings and lessons from the workshop will also be shared with community-based organisations and other project-implementing agencies to help improve procurement practices at all levels across the Region.