Welcome readers and leaders from around the world! This Q4 edition of our One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) Newsletter is brimming with exciting updates that will not only renew your faith in our collective resiliency but hopefully inspire you to take action!
This quarter our Rock Sound campus came alive with the pulse of community-driven activities, as we slowly and cautiously welcomed visitors back on campus. Carefully adhering to COVID-19 protocols we successfully launched our bi-monthly farmers market, made preparations for the rollout of our free “Learn-to-Swim” program, hosted Centre for Training and Innovation (CTI) graduations and made great strides in the construction of our Cravo Cooling House (CCH).
Notwithstanding the myriad of challenges the world is facing as we wrestle to reduce the health, social and economic impact of COVID-19, there’s still hope. Behind the unsettling question of “what happens next,” is the golden opportunity to drive and support positive change in our very own communities, as you will read about here.
Life is a balanced system of learning, evolution and action. Thanks to your generous, ongoing support we’re still making a difference and taking action. We hope you will join us on this mission!
With deep gratitude,
President & CEO, OEF
“We Farmers Market”
Welcomes Community Back To Campus
The highly anticipated farmers market at CTI is off to a successful start!
This newest campus attraction gives our local community access to an
abundance of healthy produce and authentic Bahamian food products,
art, gifts and crafts.
Dubbed “We Farmers Market,” the market is held the second and last Saturday of every month from 8am to 4pm at our Rock Sound campus. It has lived up to its name attracting over a dozen talented farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs each partnered with us in growing the reach and popularity of this important community event.
Three successful markets have been held to date including the soft opening events, (June 12th and 26th) and the official Grand Opening which was celebrated on July 10th alongside the country’s 48th Anniversary of Independence.
Each event has been widely received attracting both locals and visiting tourists.
Housed in our newly constructed open-air marketplace, “We Farmers Market” provides a healthy selection of fresh, organic produce harvested from our on-campus farm as well as from neighboring community farms.
This adds a double benefit for participating farmers allowing them to gain access to new customers, while simultaneously boosting their monthly sales.
Returning customers to the market have delighted in the availability of delicious, farm-to-table offerings including fresh spinach, lettuce, hot peppers, mangoes, pineapples and cage-free eggs plus more! Aromatic home-grown herbs like fresh basil, thyme, dill, chives and fennel have also been popular buys.
While perusing, you’ll also find savory baked goods, locally-inspired hot and cold teas, freshly squeezed fruit juices, handcrafted jewelry and straw work, hand-poured medicinal soaps and organic body products, authentic craft items,original paintings, and even composted soil!
You can join our mission to provide access to affordable, healthy, and fresh foods, while also supporting local entrepreneurs.
This massive project funded by the TK Foundation is one step closer to fruition. The three project phases include construction, outfitting and first-year operation.
With the structure’s foundation, framing and roof in place, we’re accelerating toward the outfitting phase and food sovereignty for Eleuthera.
Welcome Tim & Selima Hauber
The OEF/CTI family is pleased to welcome Tim and Dr. Selima Hauber to the team. This husband-and-wife power duo is relocating to Eleuthera in the coming weeks to head up the CCH’s operations at the Rock Sound campus. They will both be responsible for the day-to-day operations of growing, harvesting, and planning for the successful launch and ongoing development of this new food sovereignty project for Eleuthera.
Tim holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada and Selima holds a Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Georgia.
The Haubers have managed several leading farms in the country and are long-time contributors to the local farming industry. Dr. Hauber has also contributed to internationally published research in two academic journals in the field of Horticulture.
Ready To Make A Splash!
This July we are excited to roll out our OEF/CTI “Learn-to-Swim” pilot program for adults and children. Open to beginners from ages four to sixty, the program is offered to the public at no cost and will utilize trained instructors to teach basic survival swimming skills. Classes will be held five days a week for three months at our campus pool.
It’s well known that many residents of Eleuthera and their children lack this fundamental survival skill. Local schools do not have access to swimming facilities to safely teach swimming. As a result, the majority of students go through life without ever getting the chance to learn to swim in a properly structured program designed for beginners of all ages.
Our islands are surrounded by water and prone to dangerous sea surges as a result of Hurricane activity. For these reasons launching a community swim program has become a critical part of our overall campus and community outreach plan.
The intake for the inaugural program is set at 40 persons. Within one hour of launching the pre-registration campaign, we had an overwhelming response from over 70 applicants, and the waiting list continues to grow!
We hope to acquire funding to run additional cohorts into the Fall and eventually extend the Learn-to-Swim survival program into a year-round offering.
You can support our community Learn-to-Swim Program.
CTI Students Win $10,000 In Seed-to-Succeed
Three aspiring agriculture entrepreneurs have been awarded a total of $10,000 in grant funding as the top finishers in OEF’s “Seed to Succeed” business pitch competition held on June 9th.
This second instalment of the “Seed to Succeed” competition was offered exclusively to students enrolled in CTI’s Learn-and-Earn Hydroponics Program. Students were challenged to create a business plan and pitch their hydroponics business to win grant funding.
The event was organized by OEFSEA, OEF’s Social Enterprise Accelerator with grant funding provided through partnerships with the TK Foundation and The Bahamas Development Bank.
Davinia Cartwright Vanhorn won the $5,000 first-place prize with her pitch
to further develop both her businesses, “Da Farm Yaad,” a local farm and “Da Melting Pot,” a take-out and food catering business in Palmetto Point, Eleuthera.
Second place finisher and $3,000 prize winner Lynette Ferguson proposed “Ancient Native Therapeutic Solutions.” This modern apothecary business will provide native, holistic healing products inspired by time-honored Bahamian and African healing traditions.
Michelle Outten earned third place and a $2,000 grant with “Hydro Fresh.” Building on her deep passion for landscaping and growing clean and green, Michelle’s business concept was pitched on expanding her current landscaping business to provide customized hydroponic systems and seedlings to the local market.
CTI Students Soar At Double Graduations
L to R: Banu Devi-Nair, CTI Academic Dean; Sharnette Kemp, CTI Registrar
This Summer, CTI hosted two graduations adding to the elevated excitement and buzz at the Rock Sound campus. The “Learn-and-Earn” Hydroponics Graduation took place on June 30th and the Apiology 101 Graduation luncheon was held July 14th.
Nine “Learn-and-Earn” Hydroponics students successfully completed our 12-week course, each earning a weekly stipend while pursuing their studies. The graduating cohort mastered how to construct, install and maintain a basic hydroponic system and effectively grow herbs and nutritious leafy crops without soil.
In addition to technical training, students were mentored in entrepreneurship and challenged to develop a business plan utilizing their newly acquired hydroponic farming skills.
Three students were awarded grant funding totaling $10,000 from our Seed to Succeed competition to invest in their businesses. Our Apiology cohort of ten students also completed a 12-week program expanding their beekeeping and business knowledge.
This free course was offered in partnership with the UNDP, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme to increase honey production on the island and provide valuable resources to local beekeepers. Graduates gained skills in apiary management and improved their ability to operate a successful commercial bee business.
We’re proud of these tenacious graduates and look forward to their contributions to the local farming and bee industries and economy!
Ministry of Tourism Managers Tour
The Retreat Hotel
On June 28th, we welcomed a group from The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (MOT) Marketing Team on campus. The group spent the morning touring our lovely 16-room Retreat Hotel and witnessing the exciting new projects taking place on campus.
Jacqueline Gibson, General Manager of the Eleuthera Tourist Office coordinated the visit which was part of a larger multi-island tour for the group. Seven of the ten managers on the tour are preparing to be dispatched to MOT offices (overseas) and across the United States. We look forward to this talented team sharing the good news about our one-of-a-kind training hotel with new audiences and the world.
As we close out our fiscal year, we’re calling on our faithful friends and donors to help us finish strong! Despite the economic challenges brought on by Hurricane Dorian and Covid-19, we’ve accomplished some amazing work with our partners this fiscal year. There’s so much more to be done but we know we can do it with your help!
Your financial support is the key to driving these changes. As we close out the year, we invite you to give an unrestricted gift of any amount. Click the button below to join this mission. Together, we can innovate, empower people and strengthen our communities!
training of 96 students in apiology, culinary, carpentry and hydroponics through our Learn and Earn Program and CTI-Harbour Island Training School;
providing more than 8,000 persons on Eleuthera with ongoing food assistance in partnership with the Bahamas National Food Distribution Task Force;
launching construction on our 1-acre Cravo Cooling House, the first of its kind in The Bahamas;
supporting over 38 non-profit organizations as they navigated registration under new Bahamian legislation;
strengthening five local community partners’ strategic plans and budgets through our Social Enterprise Accelerator; and
developing our first prototype of a sustainable and affordable housing model in partnership with UNC-Charlotte, Florida A&M University and University of The Bahamas.
It’s all the BUZZ! Our OEF/CTI Apiary has doubled in size to twenty hives! This expansion came as a result of a working partnership with the UNDP, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme. The goal is to increase honey production across Eleuthera, and in doing so build the local bee population and industry.
Our staff answered the challenge to provide creative names for our new hives. Winning entries included: Bezzthoven, The Bee-stro, Honey Runners, Biggety Bee, O-Bee-One-Keno-Bee, Sugar Hive, Golden Drops, Da’ Honey Hole, Buzzalita, & House of Bees. On your next visit to campus be sure to check out our cool new additions.
Campus Wellness 101
Our in-house Wellness Consultant Stephen Thompson has been leading the charge in supporting our staff, community and students with wellness support and counselling.
Stephen is a Clinical Psychologist and works in collaboration with the Human Resources department to ensure that OEF’s most valuable asset, its people, are supported in maximizing their wellness.
In May, our CTI Learn-and-Earn Hydroponics students had the opportunity to participate in
a virtual 4-week Wellness Series facilitated by Stephen. The series focused on the 8 dimensions of wellness; physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental. Students explored wellness education, thought-provoking discussions and activities to positively reinforce the concepts introduced.
Staff and student wellness is a priority as we encourage the development of healthy habits across our organization.
OEF Provides On-going Support to Evacuees Post Hurricane Dorian through UUSC
Following Hurricane Dorian in September of 2019, the island of Eleuthera became home to hundreds of evacuees, many of whom lost everything in the storm. In response, OEF quickly stepped in offering urgent assistance with daily meals, the provision of housing, counselling services and job placement.
Almost two years later, Dorian survivors continue the challenging task of rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. Through a $30,000 grant in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC,) OEF is providing continued assistance for evacuees who remain in Eleuthera.
The program affords financial support through micro-grants. The goal is to help survivors develop their small business ideas on Eleuthera, enabling them to earn an income and improve their stability. In addition, utility and rental assistance is being provided for those experiencing financial difficulties.
Displaced survivors from the Haitian, Creole-speaking communities were also engaged to understand and address their current challenges, post-Dorian. As part of this initiative, they also received support, including food assistance.
Food Assistance: As part of the UUSC Grant, grocery bags are prepped for delivery to Hurricane Dorian survivors still residing in Eleuthera .
Emory Explores Non-Communicable Disease
(NCD) Management in Eleuthera With OEF
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (NHWSN) at Emory University recently teamed up with OEF to launch a three-month research project assessing the treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) on Eleuthera.
NCD’s including Diabetes and Hypertension are a leading cause of death in The Bahamas. On “out-islands” such as Eleuthera, healthcare is delivered primarily through Registered Nurses at government clinics that are understaffed and underfunded.
The NCD study is being conducted to explore the need for additional trained healthcare workers to provide education and basic in-home, healthcare for patients with chronic health issues. The study is being
conducted under the supervision of Dr. Corrine Abraham and Dr. Caroline Coburn, Associate Professors at the NHWSN. The OEF team has been pivotal in conducting the groundwork and providing administrative support, as well as granting researchers access to community stakeholders, and healthcare professionals.
The outcome of the project will be a needs assessment and business plan for the implementation of a home visitation program that would address the challenges of island residents with complex healthcare issues.
Collaborators on this project include students and professionals from the NHWSN and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, The Bahamas Ministry of Health, business and civic leaders, local healthcare workers and private clinics in Eleuthera.
Farmers Hosted To FREE Post-Harvest Workshop
On June 30th OEF/CTI hosted a free 1-day workshop on Post-Harvest Management with Dr. Michele Singh, Animal Scientist and Country Representative of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI.) Farmers and local growers learned critical yet simple steps to preserve and manage crops to extend shelf life and increase revenue.
May 12th marked “International Nurses Day” and a fitting time to recognize the selfless work of nurses working on the front line in Eleuthera. The OEF community outreach team paid a surprise visit to government clinics in Eleuthera, hand delivering personalized gifts. Each nurse was presented with a customized gift box filled with treats as a small token of our sincere gratitude. The day was filled with welcoming smiles and provided the opportunity to demonstrate our appreciation and share words of encouragement with these local heroes.
Two New Community Awards for OEF!
“President’s Award for Philanthropy” The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church, Eleuthera
“Outstanding Contribution Award”
The Salvation Army, Eleuthera
The President’s Award for Philanthropy is given to those who have made a significant and positive impact in their community.
This month, The Eleuthera Region of The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church (BCMC) bestowed this award on the President and CEO of OEF, Mr. Shaun Ingraham, and his team.
OEF also received the Salvation Army of Eleuthera’s “Outstanding Contribution Award.” Most recently, OEF provided financial assistance to the Salvation Army, helping launch its community Thrift Shop.
We pledge to continue our ongoing efforts to build, connect and strengthen communities across the island while supporting other community service organizations.
President’s Award: L to R: Avis Munroe, CFO, OEF; Shaun Ingraham, President & CEO, OEF; Mario Smith, Chairman,OEF; Yolanda Pawar, CCO, OEF
L to R:
Audrey Carey, Operations Officer, CTI accepts award from The Salvation Army. Yolanda Pawar, CCO, OEF accepts the President’s Award at the Wesley Methodist Church of James Cistern.
Friends of Harbour Island Trade School (H.I.T.S) Visit Campus
Below L to R:
Banu Devi-Nair, Academic Dean, CTI; Constance White, Friends of H.I.T.S.; Rick Anderson, Friends of H.I.T.S.; Joan Barrett, Friends of H.I.T.S.; Lisa Scolatti Anderson, Friends of H.I.T.S.; Vicky Parmentier, Friends of H.I.T.S.; Audrey Carey, Operations Officer, OEF; Susan Culmer, Finance Dept., OEF; Avis Munroe, CFO, OEF
In June, our partners in the North, the Friends of H.I.T.S (FHITS) visited the OEF/CTI team at our Rock Sound Campus to discuss plans for the remainder of the year and early 2022.
During the visit, the OEF/CTI team shared the strategic vision for the next five years and talked about ways both organizations could continue working together to improve and expand training on the island, specifically in North Eleuthera.
The findings of a tracer study conducted by CTI about the impact the program has made with its alumni in the local job market was also discussed.
The visit and tour of our campus renewed and strengthened the commitment and relationship between both OEF/CTI and the FHITS board. Stay tuned for exciting program and expansion updates!
“I’m a resident of Harbour Island and a proud graduate of the very first CTI-HITS Culinary Class. I graduated in October of 2019 and during my course, I learned a lot of baking skills. Additionally, I refined my understanding of sanitizing protocols and gained more organizational skills.
The program helped me to sharpen my culinary skills and to gain a lot of confidence in the kitchen and within my profession. I learned that it’s okay to make mistakes, and more often than not, even with a mistake, people will still find the food to be delicious.
Since completing this program, I was offered a full-time job as a private chef. I’ve worked as a full-time private chef now for a year and a half and it’s provided a lot of unique opportunities, including traveling and connecting with other chefs in the industry.
Currently, I’m traveling throughout the United States trying new foods. I recently toured the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York and I intend to apply at the CIA to continue my education in the culinary arts for the fall of 2022.”
Thank you for your continued support! It’s because of your donations that we’re able to reach, uplift and empower people and communities.
Yolanda Pawar, OEF’s Chief Communications Officer, sat down to have a conversation with Summer Interns, Kate Egan and Tova Petto about their personal experiences volunteering with OEF and living in Eleuthera for the past two months. Read below and enjoy!
Yolanda: “What was your inspiration for volunteering at OEF?”
Tova: “When Kate called me and asked if I wanted to join her at One Eleuthera for the summer, I couldn’t say no! I was so happy to hear about all the projects the foundation does across the island, and I was inspired by the work and eager to be able to help out!”
“The thought of staying home for the summer, especially after a year of quarantine and home life made me physically nauseous. I started researching potential volunteer/internship opportunities with a special interest in nonprofits outside of the United States. When my mom brought up the idea of interning with the One Eleuthera Foundation, I knew that was the place to be. OEF offered an array of wonderful programs from beekeeping and hydroponics farming to Junkanoo costume making. How could I possibly want to intern anywhere else?”
Yolanda: “What did you enjoy most about volunteering?”
“In this volunteer experience, I really enjoyed the fact that we were able to move around to all different kinds of jobs. Within the two months, we farmed, worked in offices, helped kids in different programs, and so much more. It has been awesome to get to see all the kinds of work One Eleuthera does, and getting to explore different parts of the island along the way.”
“My time here on Eleuthera has been a life-altering experience. Through the course of volunteering, I have met so many wonderful people that are now lifelong friends. I have picked up several new skills that will help me in all components of my life. The aspect that I enjoyed most about volunteering here was definitely being able to work all over the island at so many different jobs. Because of this, I was able to meet many different locals and see how the inner workings of the island were carried out. By the end of my experience here, I really did feel as though I was part of the community here on Eleuthera.”
Yolanda: “What was your greatest takeaway or lesson?”
“I knew that coming to Eleuthera was going to be a major change of pace than what I was used to. At home, I am always very busy and constantly planning ahead. Being here has been such a nice break from that kind of stress, and I’m learning that things will turn out just fine, even if I don’t have every detail planned out. I hope I’m able to bring this less-stressed mindset with me into my last year of college.”
“This trip has taught me how to live my life to the fullest. I wholeheartedly enjoyed every single moment of my experience here. Tova and I packed so many different activities into each day in order to see everything we could. When in the United States, I constantly think about the next part of my week, and in return, I let the days pass by without notice. My time on Eleuthera has trained my brain and body to soak up every moment and thoroughly enjoy life. I truly hope that this new mindset carries over into my life back at home.”
Yolanda: “What new foods did you try? Did you enjoy it or not so much?”
Tova: “One Eleutheran food staple that I had to try here is all things conch. I wasn’t a huge fan of conch salad, as fish and salad, in general, are low on my list, but I think conch fritters might be some of my favorite food.”
“Before flying to Eleuthera, I had heard rumors about the famous conch salad. I was of course skeptical; I mean how could raw sea snail taste good…, but I was determined to try. It took some time finding the right place and time, however, when I finally built up the courage to bite down on a fork full of conch, onion, and peppers, I was pleasantly surprised.
ENJOY THIS MONTH’S VIDEO FEATURES
Big news about Food Security from OEF and the Farm at CTI
Check out our Bee Video Series created in partnership with the UNDP SGP – GEF