St. Maarten – NPOwer, an arm of Foresee Foundation, successfully concluded its “Connect and Inspire” Conference from February 23 to 25, bringing together over 125 representatives of non-profit organizations (NPOs) and stakeholders from St. Maarten and neighbouring islands.
The conference, mainly funded by Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben SFC, St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), aimed to revitalize, build and strengthen the capacity of NPOs while fostering greater connectivity among regional and local organizations. NPOwer said, “We were also grateful for the support of several agencies and businesses that recognised the value of empowering the non-profit sector and donated to ensure that the conference was a success.”
Over 40 featured speakers and presenters provided insightful and engaging presentations, fostering high levels of engagement and interaction between presenters and attendees, resulting in a successful conference. While NPOwer is thankful for the presenters, “We are also reassured by the interest, enthusiasm and dedication of the non-profit sector of the island. While we continue to strengthen, we will see the various causes and organisations making a greater positive impact on our society.”
The conference’s connecting aspect highlighted ways to enhance collaborative initiatives, making the sector more resistant and effective, while the “inspire” aspect allowed participants to experience innovative ways to utilize tech options, creative network building, and knowledge exchange.
Thursday, February 23, focused on the regional component, allowing participants from St. Maarten and St. Eustatius connected with St. Maarten-based organizations, gained insight into interesting St. Maarten-based projects, and exchange ideas and knowledge.
The main aspect of the conference started on Friday, February 24, with a symposium focused on key themes such as maximizing the impact of diversity, transparency in the NPO sector, ethical and legal expectations of a good NPO, and the pros and cons of interdependency within the sector. The symposium culminated in the opening of a unique NPO speed matching exercise. His Excellency Governor Mr. Ajamu Baly and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs opened the conference with a very inspiring charge.
Saturday, February 25, empowered participants to take control, each participant was able to select from approximately 30 different capacity-building courses designed to stimulate productivity within their organization, build skillsets needed to operate optimally, and inspire innovation.
NPOwer has always valued youth involvement, and as such, youth-operated NPOs were invited to participate and provide volunteers such as conference rapporteurs, runners, and support personnel. Some youth volunteers were selected from St. Dominic High Schools and Learning Unlimited. Getting the youth involved exposed them to becoming proactive citizens and added an innovative youth-centric approach to the sector’s traditional modus-operandi.
“We had over 30 volunteers, which also included a section a team for technical support, some senior citizen and students of American University of the Caribbean (AUC).
“We are extremely pleased with the turnout and engagement of this year’s conference,” said NPOwer. “The conference’s connecting and inspiring themes were evident in the numerous collaborative initiatives and innovative ideas exchanged among participants. We thank all presenters, attendees, and volunteers for their time and effort in making this conference a success.”
NPOwer is committed to continuing its efforts in building the civil society sector and invites all interested parties to visit its website and join its online database
NPOwer, noted for the slogan ‘where NPOs connect,’ is located at Illidge Road #60, Unit 1.1, in the shared offices of R4CR and SFC. For more information, please contact the NPOwer team at email@example.com or +1 721 581 5050.”