Since Hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the British Virgin Islands, we have been working tirelessly with Unite BVI, and many other partner organisations, to ensure the long term recovery, development and future of the BVI. To do this we are focusing on three key pillars; entrepreneurship, environment and education.
One pillar does not work without the other, and addressing the sustainability and climate resiliency of the region is paramount. It not only guarantees the people of the BVI are better protected in the future, but also ensures they are in a position to lead the development of their home.
In the aftermath of the hurricanes, the extent of destruction, waste and debris was vast; from homes, to buildings, the landscape had been destroyed. It was something that needed immediate attention to even allow aid to reach people; and months on, there is still more to be done.
Thankfully Unite BVI has been working in partnership with the Governor’s Office (FCO), to collaboratively fund a large-scale debris clearance project through the Recovery & Development Agency (RDA) and the Department of Waste Management (DWM). It’s a project that covers four main islands and has been focused on delivering impressive results before the peak of the 2018 Hurricane season.
Green VI - the British Virgin Islands Green Resource Foundation – is an organisation that focuses on education, energy, waste and water across the BVI, and an organisation that has also been instrumental in environment recovery and clean-up.
Back in May, Green VI coordinated a community clean-up event in Road Town, Tortola, collaborating with DWM, the Ministry of Communications & Works, BVI Wombles (community group of volunteers), OneBVI (BVI Tourist Board), and Unite BVI.
Clean-up projects like these are not only invaluable in helping prepare for the upcoming hurricane season – clearing debris and increasing public safety – but in bringing the community together. They educate communities on how to preserve the islands, and highlight the value of recycling and waste management; not least how to ensure such systems are implemented properly and maintained. Even more prominent still, is the neighbourhood spirit and pride these projects manifest.
Amongst other projects, Unite BVI has also been working to support the provision of additional recycling equipment to allow recyclable waste to be collected/transported on Tortola. This includes instating a bailer on Tortola that enables the recycling of aluminium and cardboard, two skips to collect recyclable waste in both Tortola and Virgin Gorda, and two trailer skips on wheels that can be placed in strategic community locations and at events to promote recycling.
All of these projects and lifestyle changes positively impact the rehabilitation of tourism in the region and we can’t wait to see them grow in strength.
We are now one year on from Hurricane Irma, and while there is still much more to be done, we have much to celebrate too – not least the unfaltering resilience and determination of the BVI community throughout.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our work and the long term goal of building a stronger, smarter, greener, better BVI.