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Sinikka Fisher, Swim Instructor of 2019 – NOW Grenada

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Grenada Youth Adventurers, in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports, awarded Sinikka Fisher of Sauteurs, the Swim Instructor of the Year for 2019.

Fisher has had a huge impact on swimming in Sauteurs with free swim lessons at the Breakwater Project on Saturdays and on Tuesdays with schools from St Patrick and St Mark. She received the Swim Instructor of the Year award at the recent Inter-Beach Competition in front of her peers and some of her swim students. Previous winners of the annual award include Nataly Regis (Head Swim Coach, Ministry of Sports) Kevin Phillips (Mt Moritz) and David and Linda Wright (Bathway).

These exemplary service awards recognise swim instructors, coaches, volunteers who have contributed to the “Get Grenada Swimming” initiative to teach 8,000 children to swim by 2021. As of the end of 2019, more than 5,600 children have been taught in the GGS programmes.

The criteria for receiving a Swim Instructor of the Year Award are:

1) Must be involved in giving free swim lessons

2) Must have shown exemplary service in the growth of a particular beach or area in Grenada

3) Must be working to continue to develop themselves and others in swimming

Fisher embodies all of these wonderful qualities. She grew up in Sauteurs and after a long sabbatical in London for college and university, she returned to her hometown wanting to make a difference. In 2017, with the development of the Sauteurs Breakwater Project, she started volunteering to teach swimming lessons for the children in the local primary schools. That soon expanded to the secondary schools and even out of St Patrick to the parish of St Mark. On Tuesdays, you can find her in the water non-stop from 10:30 am to 3 pm teaching classes, with up to 60 children taught on any given Tuesday.

Fisher formed a non-profit organization called “Generations to Come” dedicated to helping young people in Grenada. Their aim is to alleviate poverty through education. An example of this was last summer’s 6-week, all day summer camp that she organised for the Sauteurs youth. She also began community swimming on Saturdays under the Grenada Youth Adventurers umbrella in 2017 and has developed her own swimmers into instructors to help her with the Saturday morning free lessons. Initially trained by Nataly Regis, Head Swim Coach, Ministry of Sports, she has taken every opportunity to develop herself including taking a certified Red Cross lifeguarding class to make sure her swim students stay safe. She recently expanded her Saturday programme and began working as a swimming teacher for the Ministry of Sports. She meets all the criteria for the Swim Instructor of the Year Award and is very deserving of this award.

The “Get Grenada Swimming” initiative has just ended the third year of its 5-year programme and has ten locations throughout Grenada which offer free swim lessons on Saturdays. Adults and children (above the age of 6) are invited to attend.

Saturday Free Lessons

  • Bathway 9-11 am: David/Linda Wright 442-0495
  • St David, Grenada Marine, Corinth 9-11 am: Catherine John 458-3474
  • Grand Anse 9-11 am in front of Umbrellas: Deb Eastwood 404-5237
  • Grand Mal 10 am-12 pm in front of the Go Cool Steps: Camme Roberts 417-8399
  • Gouyave 10 am-12 pm in front of the fish market: Sharm Ashton 421-6702
  • Waltham Beach (North of Gouyave) 2-4 pm: Korah Ashby 410-0208
  • Sauteurs Breakwater 9-11 am: Sinikka Fisher 422-9880
  • Carriacou (Lumbadive) 2-3 pm children, 3:30-4:40 pm adults: Diane Martino 443-8566,
  • Birchgrove (Mellows) 9-11 am: Lovell Alexander 416-1226
  • St Andrews, Hope Beach 9-10 am: Naddy Mitchell 449-8984

For more information go to www.getgrenadaswimming.com or call Deb Eastwood at 404-5237 or email: debeastwood@gmail.com

Grenada Youth Adventurers

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Safety Net reform begins in the sister isles

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Reform of main safety net programmes on sister isles has begun
  • Eligible households receiving an increase of $100
  • 9,499 individuals receive assistance; Carriacou in 212, and 71 in Petite Martinique

The Ministry of Social Development, Housing, and Community Development has begun to reform the main safety net programmes on the sister isles in line with the SEED programme on the mainland.

This process began in March with the collection of data on all elderly households on public assistance programmes. These were assessed by the Grenadian Living Condition Index (GLCI) and eligible households are receiving an increase of $100.

The SEED programme was implemented with technical and monetary support from the World Bank in 2011. The programme is a conditional cash transfer and targets Grenada’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. The main target groups assisted by the programme are the elderly, children, chronically ill, disabled as well as pregnant and lactating mothers.

As part of that reform, the elderly on the sister isles are receiving the same increase from $200 to $300 that was afforded to the elderly on the mainland. At present, the SEED programme provides students with assistance from as early as the pri-primary level ($50), primary ($75) and secondary ($100). Tertiary students receive $200.

This assistance is expected to economically empower them and improve their standard of living, but under the new mandate, the ministry seeks to break the dependency syndrome.

As a result, the reform of both the Beneficiaries Management Information System and the Targeting Instrument was considered necessary to ensure that the mandate of the programme is met.

Manager of the SEED Programme, Leonora George, said there are many lessons learned from the reforms that took place on the mainland with regards to the implementation of the programme and these would now be used as a guide to ensure that the programme is effectively managed on the sister isles.

“The SEED programme has matured in terms of its implementation arrangement with the World Bank. We are now on our own because we would have completed our implementation arrangements with the World Bank in that we completed all our Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) and all other major milestones that were necessary. From last September, we attained that, so now that we are on our own, we are looking to introduce that concept of social safety net reform to Carriacou. We began with the elderly in Carriacou by recertifying them so that they can get the additional grant. So Carriacou will then experience what we experienced in Grenada by reforming our safety nets,” said George.

The ministry is working to ensure that the nation’s elderly benefit from a waiver of fees when seeking healthcare. This arrangement will be reviewed sometime in the new year.

“Our elderly beneficiaries also get waivers from the hospital whenever they go to do any check-up or any service from the hospital once they acknowledge that they are SEED beneficiaries. We are in the process of preparing cards for them. So, we are working on that; when that is done, then they would have the card to show. So, SEED is growing in terms of expanding its beneficiary registry to cater to as many in our vulnerable population.”

Although the dropout rate of students receiving assistance under the programme has declined, the ministry remains concerned and has sought to address this issue by encouraging families with children struggling at school to enroll them into institutions such as NEWLO where they can learn a skill.

“We do have concerns with the dropout rate. Although it is not as high as it used to be because we are encouraging our students who are having challenges at the secondary level to pursue courses at NEWLO and hence we’re giving them $200. So, what all records are showing is a number of them now transferring from the secondary schools into NEWLO and are graduating with a skill so that they can become employable. Also, the ministry has taken a firm step against parents who are not adhering to their core responsibility of sending students to school,” George said. “We do have concerns regarding some parents not adhering to the core responsibility of sending them to school on a regular basis and we have been issuing letters of warning to parents and I wish to say here that [we] will be very vigilant for the school year to ensure that all students attend school.”

George said continuous monitoring of beneficiaries is needed to understand what type of intervention needed to assist families to hold up their end of the bargain.

“We have to monitor our beneficiaries for more than one reason because, for example, there are families that need support so in monitoring them you would know whether we need a particular intervention. So for a household with children, especially [as] we have a number of our households headed by single mothers, so in a case where that mother is overwhelmed and may not be able to manage the children very well, that person can get support from the parenting programme or that person can get support from counsellors or can use the other services within the ministry so we know what intervention we need to make with some families.”

9,499 individuals receive assistance under the programme. So far 307 individuals were removed as a result of death, migration, dropout or graduation. In Carriacou, there are approximately 212 beneficiaries, while Petite Martinique has 71 beneficiaries reflecting 49 households.

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Co-op Bank and Grenada Nurses Association commence new relationship

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On 5 December 2019, Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited and the Grenada Nurses Association Inc. (GNA Inc.) forged a new business relationship.

At a ceremony held at the bank’s head office on Thursday, 5 December 2019, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding that offers preferred terms and conditions to members of the GNA Inc. and their spouses when seeking credit facilities from Co-op Bank.

Signing on behalf of Co-op Bank was the bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Deon Moses, while President of the GNA Inc., Nurse Patricia Strachan, executed on behalf of the nurses.

Nurse Strachan stated that this agreement is first of its kind for the association and described the occasion as a “great moment”, especially as there are limited opportunities existing for nurses. She believes this will enable members to become more empowered to advance and invest in their development once this opportunity is tapped into.

Moses reaffirmed Co-op Bank’s commitment to help build our local economy and people, and sees this relationship as another way it is manifested. He also pointed to the bank’s mission statement which highlights the bank’s commitment to contributing to the wellbeing of citizens where it operates.

Both organisations hope this relationship will be long-lasting and be mutually beneficial.

Co-op Bank

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Cuban nurses to temporarily fill vacancies

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by Linda Straker

  • 30 to 40 nurses from Cuba will be contracted to help fill vacancies within healthcare systems
  • 50 persons will undergo nursing assistants training through National Training Agency

In early 2020 Grenada will be contracting between 30 to 40 nurses from Cuba as a temporary measure to help fill vacancies within the healthcare systems as part of a short-term measure adopted by health administrators aimed at reducing the impact of nurses who are leaving the system and taking up jobs in places like the United Kingdom.

Health Minister Nikolas Steele said government is finalising arrangements for the nurses following the visit of a delegation to Grenada a few weeks ago. “This is a stop-gap measure,” he said, admitting that over the years nurses with experience are leaving the system. “Unfortunately, we are losing our nurses to first world countries,” he said. He did not share the number of nurses who have left the system in most recent times.

Besides Cuba, Steele said that Grenada is also looking to import nurses from Ghana and India. The final agreement will include housing for the nursing professionals.

While the government will be importing the qualified registered nurses and those of high-level qualification, Steele said that 50 persons are desirous of becoming nursing assistants while undergoing a one-year training through one of the certified national training centres of the National Training Agency (NTA).

“We are still on schedule for a January start of our nursing assistants programme. We are in final negotiations with La Boucan and the national training authority of Grenada as well as our Ministry of Youth and Education to finalise the training of 50 nursing assistants, in two batches of 25,” the minister said.

The curriculum is expected to meet the criteria of the Nursing Council, the National Training Agency and the Ministry of Health. The training will involve both theory and practical.

La Boucan Creative Centre is owned and operated by former Health Minister Ann Peters, and her husband Francis Urias Peters. As a recognised national training centre, its programme will be accredited by the National Accreditation Board.

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