Richmond Vale Academy to award 10 grants in Puerto Rico for its programs
Richmond Vale Academy — a nonprofit training and research institution based in St. Vincent — is to grant the first 10 Puerto Rican applicants’ scholarships to attend its six- to 10-month program that cost up to $4,000, as a full immersion experience.
RVA, which recently announced the expansion of its volunteer program to Puerto Rico, as News is my Business reported, wants to gather local interest for its programs that are already working with other islands, like Barbados and St. Lucia.
“We are looking to expand our program with more students from the Caribbean, especially people from Puerto Rico and the United States, because they are two important actors in solving our resilience problem in the Caribbean,” said RVA Director, Stina Herberg.
The six-month Climate Activist program RVA offers starts in February 2023, looks to involve students with the community and help “create ecological home gardens, planting mangroves along the coastline and teaching in schools,” as Herberg explained.
The 10-month Community Development program that starts in April 2023, focuses more on health security, agricultural production, and education.
“We aren’t looking for specific qualifications, but that you are 18 years or older, hardworking and willing to learn because our program is tough and practical work, hand in hand with an international team, with a lot of people from the Caribbean and a lot of people from Europe, a few from Asia, North America, and South America,” said Herberg.
RVA explained how they thought Puerto Rico’s biggest problem is capacity building, in terms of energy, food and water security due to the increasing number of natural disasters passing the Caribbean.
“If we had more micro grids, maybe with more solar energy based and more capacity, everywhere in the Caribbean, we would be able to rebuild and recover faster, and that would be the same with food and water security,” said Herberg.
“If we change our agricultural methods to be more sustainable, and eat more local, then we could also recover faster and be more ready for climate change,” said Herberg.
RVA’s goal to recruit Puerto Rican students is its first step, so those recruits can implement what they learned on the island, such as newer agricultural methods with a more sustainable focus, so Herberg started visiting local institutions to find collaborations.
The nonprofit is also looking to create an ambassador program in Puerto Rico, “for people who want to talk about sustainability to build a more resilient future on the island.”
“We are in the middle of an emergency, we are in an extinction crisis, we have an ocean crisis, with it turning acidic, causing our corals to be more vulnerable and dying, causing natural disasters to hit harder,” said Herberg.
“If we come together, it will benefit St. Vincent, Barbados, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and so on, as we share results and help each other be more prepared for climate change,” said Herberg.