Building the Capacity of the Rio Blanco Mayan Association and Buffer Communities to Sustainably Manage the Rio Blanco National Park
Building the Capacity of the Rio Blanco Mayan Association and Buffer Communities to Sustainably Manage the Rio Blanco National Park
The Goal of the project is to improve sustainable management of biodiversity resources in and around the Rio Blanco National Park.
The Specific Objectives are:
• to strengthen park management with training and capacity building
• to increase visitation to Rio Blanco National Park through improved marketing and physical infrastructure
• to improve relations with Santa Cruz and Santa Elena communities through opportunities for residents
• to improve awareness of the Rio Blanco National Park within the Santa Cruz and Santa Elena Primary Schools.

The project fits the GEF SGP Country Programme Strategy for Operational Phase 5 under Objective 1: ‘Improve sustainability of protected areas through community-based actions’ and Outcome 1.2 ‘benefits generated at the community level from conservation of biodiversity in and around protected areas and indigenous community conservation areas’.
For this project, the communities, the schools, RBMA, GEF Small Grants Programme, and Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment (TIDE) are forming a diverse partnership which can serve as a model for other projects in other villages.
The project has the following outputs and deliverables:

1.0: Improved management of the Park through training and institutional strengthening
1.1 A full time Park Manager (Project Coordinator) hired
1.2 Park Management and Project Management training and Mentorship for Park Manager
1.3 Capacity building workshops for RBMA board members in computer and internet use
1.4 Install improved solar system, and security lighting at Visitors Center
2.0: Improved marketing and physical infrastructure of RBNP
2.1 Satellite internet access at RBNP with service for one year
2.2 A website for RBNP and the two communities
2.3 Construct concrete exit staircase for bathing pool

3.0 Improved relations with Santa Cruz and Santa Elena communities
3.1 Intensive Training in Solar Technology and Climate Change Mitigation for 4 members of each village (three days at Maya Mountain Research Farm)
3.2 Expanded solar-powered computer labs
3.3 Improved security for computer labs
3.4 PTAs trained to manage computer labs
3.5 High school book scholarship program
4.0 Improved awareness of the Rio Blanco National Park
4.1 Design educational awareness program
4.2 Implement educational awareness program in both primary schools using RBNP as a Living Laboratory for experiential learning about biodiversity by teachers and students.
4.3 One day Science Fair focusing on the biodiversity of RBNP
4.4 Educational Field trip to PHMR
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Project Snapshot

Rio Blanco Mayan Association
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 53,700.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

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Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
The Board of RBMA has developed this project in consultation with the community stakeholders. Several meetings have been held with the village leaders, school principals, teachers and PTA members who provided their input and support for the project. The Board of RBMA will be actively involved in the implementation and monitoring of the project. The board will form the nucleus of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) which will meet monthly. Village chairpersons and alcaldes, some of whom are on the RBMA board, will also attend the PSC meetings. These village leaders will represent their communities and provide feedback to their villages during project implementation. They will also participate in the selection of community participants for the training and infrastructure activities.
Capacity - Building Component
The volunteer Park Manager, a young Maya woman, will be provided with a contract and TORs for project coordination for a twelve month timeframe. The Park Manager will receive hands-on training in Park Management and Project Management with a focus on biodiversity. Training in Biodiversity Management will be provided by the Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment (TIDE). The Park Manager will undertake a rigorous training programme for 3 months. TIDE will train the Park Manager to understand the dynamics of Park Management, and Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation. This training programme will be designed to provide theoretical and hands-on practical field experience in general Park Management and Biodiversity Conservation Strategies and techniques. TIDE would provide three-month course of 25 days of on-the-job, one-on-one, face-to-face training across the entire range of management skills: accounting, file management, report writing, project design and other related topics.

Grantee Contact

Ms. Regina Choc
Phone: 501-624-0652


Rio Blanco National Park
Punta Gorda Town , Latin America & Caribbean ,

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Leonel Requena
(501) 822-2462


UNDP Belize,3rd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building Complex ,P.O. Box 53,South Ring Road,
Belmopan, Central America