Belize Black Howler Monkey Conservationist
Commonwealth Point of Light 172. Jessie Marina Young
Jessie Marina Young, representing Belize, is the founder of the 'Community Baboon Sanctuary Women's Conservation Group', who assist in the running of the country's world-class Community Baboon Sanctuary.
Jessie works with over 240 landowners to protect and conserve their land, helping to increase the local endangered black howler monkey population from 800 in 1985 to over 6,000 today. Jessie has also been instrumental in providing opportunities for young people and local residents through projects with the conservation group, such as organic farming and animal husbandry, and through ‘Fallet’, an annual summer environmental programme she set up for over 200 children based in the nine communities in the river valley.
“I am deeply honoured and extremely grateful to be honoured with the Commonwealth Points of Light Award. To know that my efforts are acknowledged at this level makes me very grateful and motivated to continue the work ahead. Thank You!”
Claire Evans OBE, UK High Commissioner in Belize, said:
“The Commonwealth Points of Light Award bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen to Jessie Marina Young is a testament to the exemplary volunteering found across Belize and the Commonwealth.
“I am delighted to celebrate Jessie’s selfless commitment to her community whether it is establishing her home as a pre-school, supporting the relief efforts of the Belize Red Cross and the work of the Belize Women’s Department or actively championing programmes and activities that provide alternative livelihoods to residents in her community, especially to women and youth. She is also an advocate in preserving the environment e.g. in helping establish the ‘Community Baboon Sanctuary’. Jessie is clearly an inspiration to many.
“Many congratulations to Jessie on her Commonwealth Points of Light Award.”