This year’s NPOwer NGO Conference, funded by Samenwerkende Fondsen, was anything but normal, it was extraordinary to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic created a new challenge for the event and the NPOwer team went to work to create a unique virtual conference experience for Sint Maarten’s NGOs.
The conference themed ‘2 for 1’ kicked-off with a week-long pre-conference event that was filled with physical, creative and practical workshops. Early birds were able to join us for yoga, capoeira, pilates, stretching and dance classes. Those joining in the afternoon were treated to art, music and even a preview for the new Soualichi stories with Papa Umpo! In the evenings attendees could choose between a variety of workshops such as creating videos with your phone, social media for beginners, accounting, community building, and much more.
The main virtual conference event on Saturday started with a joint radio show hosted by radio stars from 5 different radio stations, Alston from MY88.3fm, Suppa from Laser 101.1, Lady Grace from PJD3 Power 102.7fm, Elektra Voltage from Oasis 96.3fm & Dr.Soc from Island92 91.9fm. Following this there was a beautiful address by the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and 2 amazing keynote speakers, Yasmine Essed & Angela Richards.
The event had some technical challenges, with 1 main zoom “lobby” and 3 breakout zoom rooms with different workshops running each hour. The lobby was free for anyone to join while simultaneously being live-streamed on Facebook. The workshops were open to those who signed up via the online conference website and consisted of a large variety of choices for each participant to select from. Thanks to the amazing NPOwer tech-team led by Raoul Gomes, we were able to navigate through any and all minor issues that occurred throughout the day, with the conference ultimately turning into a great success!
At the end of the event NPOwer released their new NGO community song “This one is for you” created by King Verse along with a music video featuring some of our fantastic NGOs.
In addition a number of sponsors donated some amazing raffle prizes for the attendees, including yoga classes, overnight stays, dinners, lunches and much more!
NPOwer would like to thank all sponsors for their contributions: Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, Kitchen Garden Club, Serve Yoga, SXM Fisheries, 978 Sanctorum, Belair Beach Hotel, Taloula Mango's, Dominoes SXM, TELEM, Coffee Lounge, Divico, Holland House, Sint Maarten Nectar, Joga, Movida, and SXM Crazy Beach Chairs.
The Foresee Foundation board and NPOwer conference team would also like to thank participants, the speakers/presenters, the radio hosts, the keynote speakers, the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, who all helped to make this virtual conference a success and looks forward to everyone joining next year.
The 2021 ‘2 for 1’ NGO Conference is one of the events of the Foresee Foundation’s NPOwer Program which aims to strengthen St. Maarten’s civil society organizations by providing networking opportunities and capacity strengthening workshops, trainings and events.