Community Development Division
Community development in Trinidad and Tobago subscribes to the broad tenets as defined by the internationally accepted United Nations definition of community development. This initiative subscribes to ‘ the combined efforts of people in local communities and the government and other external agencies as a developmental method for improving the social, cultural and economic conditions of communities and for integrating communities into the national planning framework’.
The official policy framework of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago outlines seven interconnected pillars for sustainable development. The Ministry of Community Development subscribes to the pillar six which promotes ‘a process of people- centred development’.
The Ministry of Community Development is ideally situated to be the key driver of the mission. It mirrors the government’s programme overview for the ‘mobilisation and engagement of communities throughout Trinidad (…) so that everyone can make a contribution to our nation’s success, with everyone benefitting from it.’
The Community Development Model focuses on a multifaceted approach to community intervention through the following programmes;
1. Group Registration – community organisations are encouraged to develop an official association with the ministry through the process of registration.
The Community Development Division recognises the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Village and Community Councils and its regional bodies as coordinating structures for village and community councils.
The division also works with other community based organisations that have a legitimate existence to promote specialised interest relating to women, sports, youth, culture, agriculture and social and economic issues.
2. Community Education – non-formal education programmes are promoted by the division to complement the formal education system in Trinidad.
This programme consists of four components:
- Domestic Support/Skills Training Projects which exposes the economically disadvantaged citizens to skills training in order to enhance existing skills or learn a new skills to assist them to become engaged in home – based production of goods and services to compensate for deficiency or absence of reliable household income
- Entrepreneurial Development Projects which promotes skills enhancement and business training as a prerequisite for launching into micro business enterprises.
- Leadership Development Projects aimed at improving the organisational skills of existing community leaders and ensuring the sustainability of authority structures in organisations through the availability of trained human resource repository.
- Community awareness and Sensitisation Project comprises lectures and related activities with a focus on social issues which confront citizens during their daily lives.
3. Community Building Programme – cognizant to the fact that communities need physical infrastructure to meet, plan and convert their ideas and creative intuition into programmes and projects. The division constructs, modernises, refurbishes and maintains Community Centres, Regional Complexes and Civic Centres. Management of these facilities are paramount to the Ministry’s mission of promoting inclusivity and maximising use of these facilities.
4. Craft Development Programme – preserves the creativity and artistic ingenuity of local artisans. It also promotes craft production as a viable contributor to the national goals of economic diversification and job creation.
Projects promoted include;
- Skills training
- Post S.E.A. training
- Special training for the disadvantaged
5. Community Action for Revival and Empowerment (C.A.R.E.) Programme – A number of critical community intervention projects are developed by community based organisations to address the basic needs and development aspirations of communities. Projects requests should be submitted through district offices. These projects are processed by a project management team from the Ministry of Community Development.