Basic Needs Trust Fund

Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) is a development programme that is jointly funded by Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Guyana. BNTF improves access to basic public services for impoverished communities, in a sustainable and gender-sensitive manner. BNTF employs a socially-inclusive development process using participatory methods: community members from targeted communities are involved in the assessment and prioritization of community development.

Since its inception in 1979, Caribbean Development Bank’s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Programme has been contributing to poverty reduction in targeted communities by providing infrastructure and livelihood enhancement services nationally and regionally. So far, there have been eight completed BNTF Programme cycles, implementing over 2,000 sub-projects to directly impact the lives of more than 2.8 million people in poor commu­nities. The Programme supports a socially inclusive development process that empowers the poor and vulnerable, and supports institutional development. Community participation is essential to every sub-project, as this facilitates local ownership of BNTF investments and enhances social capital within each community.

Successive BNTF Programmes have undergone design modifications and increased resource contributions, and currently support interventions in ten participating countries (PCs) with financing mainly from the Unified Special Development Fund (SDF) of CDB and counterpart financing from participating Governments.  Previous cycles have also received co-financing from USAID and CIDA.  The participating countries are Belize, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Today, a large percentage of the poor still require access to BNTF investments.  Analyses of BNTF 5 and BNTF 6 reveal that the greatest demand is for education and human resource development (46%), water and sanitation (23%) and community access (13%).

For 25 years, the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Guyana office has been working to address poverty reduction through development projects in Regions 1-10. BNTF in Guyana has completed close to 600 projects since 1992, and has 47 projects planned for its ninth cycle. The ninth cycle will focus primarily on projects related to livelihoods enhancement and human capacity development. Specifically, this new cycle seeks to provide low-income, vulnerable communities with better access to quality education and human resource devel­opment (HRD), and to improve water and sanitation, and basic community access and drainage.

The overall objective of BNTF 7 is to reduce poverty and vulnerability through enhanced access to basic social and economic infrastructure and HRD Services.  Fulfillment of the BNTF vision is realised by operations underpinned by five central pillars:

Community participation and empow­erment: enabling the most vulnerable to be directly involved and take ownership of the project and future community development

Results and communications: gener­ating more rigorous evidence on where and how the BNTF has had most impact on people’s lives in low-income communities

Community assets: helping commu­nities build more assets and be more resilient

Transformational effects: helping communities to emerge out of poverty and be less vulnerable over time, stemming intergenerational poverty

Cooperation: attracting a range of needed services and addressing wider challenges being faced by community residents (e.g., disability, inequality and youth at risk).


  • The BNTF Programme invests in community-led development in a way that nurtures community change processes. It takes a holistic approach to building multi-faceted aspects of a community (it sees the community as an integrated whole), and it is responsive to local demand, needs and priorities.
  • The Programme prioritises and links ‘sector support’ and ‘direct community support’, and builds capital in a holistic manner.

Mission Statement

By providing resources to poor communities, we improve access to basic public services and enhance employability. We aim to reduce the economic and social vulnerability of women, men, girls and boys, lowering risks that may otherwise impact their income and well-being.

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  • Local infrastructure to enhance economic activity, labour productivity, and lower production and transaction costs, all of which are essential;
  • Capacity building to enable the poor and vulnerable to respond to opportunities, increase their assets, and secure their well-being;
  • Vulnerability reduction to mitigate the impact of economic and social shocks, natural disasters and man-made hazards;
  • Good governance to facilitate broad-based sustainable growth, social inclusion, and poverty reduction

BNTF currently funds both infrastructure sub-projects and those with developmental objectives, such as skills training, capacity-building, and enhanced service delivery. The Fund considers sub-projects from the following sectors:

  • Education and Human Resource Development with Livelihoods Enhancement
  • Water and Sanitation Systems Enhancement
  • Basic Community Access and Drainage Enhancement
  • Once project applications are received, the BNTF team will conduct community or organizational needs and assets assessment to determine whether a project is viable.
  • Viable project proposals are then forwarded to the CDB for approval.
  • Once proposals are approved, BNTF personnel will procure the necessary goods, services, and/or works.
  • Sub-project beneficiaries and communities will work with BNTF personnel on the Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring, and Closure of the projects.
  • Any infrastructure built through BNTF will become either community or government property.
  • Responsibility for the maintenance of infrastructure will be passed to the host community or relevant government authority via a formal hand-over process.
  • Certificates will be issued to all successful participants of training-based sub-projects.
  • BNTF will conduct impact assessments and evaluations for all sub-projects.

How does funding work?

BNTF is responsible for implementing projects with funding from the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Guyana. When a project grant is awarded to a particular community or organization, all funds are handled internally. Recipients will not have access to the funds directly. BNTF is responsible for all procurement and acquisition of resources necessary for project activities.


Who can apply?

BNTF does not fund individual applicants. We strive to undertake projects that benefit a large number of beneficiaries, in order to maximize positive community impact. Therefore, only those whose project proposals aim to directly benefit a group or community should submit applications. Community organizations, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies are all welcome to apply. All proposals should have the backing and support of the targeted beneficiaries.


Basic Needs Trust Fund Office
Ministry of Finance
49 Main and Urquhart Streets
Guyana, S.A.
Tel: 592-225-7238
Fax: 592-226-1456
Email: (main) or