On December 5th, 2020, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) re-launched its Volunteer Programme to strategically coincide with the commemoration of International Volunteer Day (IVD). The event was hosted physically at the ODPM’s Alternate National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in Mausica, as well as via live stream for virtual attendees.
In recognition of this year’s IVD theme “Together we can Through Volunteering”, the ODPM understands that coordinated citizen participation is a key principle of disaster risk reduction and resilience building. Thus, the ODPM Volunteer Programme was revised to support a comprehensive approach to Disaster Management which mirrors the ODPM’s organisational structure. The programme seeks to develop a pool of persons with specialist skills who can support local and national efforts during times of emergencies and disasters.
During his feature address, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Security Mr. Gary Joseph, thanked the existing volunteers for agreeing to join a life changing programme where their skills, knowledge and compassion will be channeled to benefit many families and communities, in strengthening their capacities against disasters. He highlighted that the relaunch of the programme provides tremendous opportunities for citizens across Trinidad and Tobago to become directly involved in changing how their communities prepare for and respond to disasters.
In his opening remarks, CEO of the ODPM, Major General (Ret’d) Rodney Smart acknowledged the existing men and women of the ODPM’s Volunteer Programme for remaining steadfast in their commitment to transforming the national disaster management system. He also thanked them for their commitment and support to working with the ODPM to revise the programme.
CEO Major General Smart emphasised that our nation needs persons before a national disaster. He called on persons with various skills such as emergency responders, medical practitioners, lawyers, skilled labourers, social workers, web developers and even entrepreneurs, to join the ODPM’s Volunteer Programme. CEO Smart emphasised that no amount of skills, talents or act of kindness is too small or too insignificant.
Attending the Relaunch Ceremony were representatives from the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government, Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency, the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society, EMATT, ADRA, Habitat for Humanity, Unmanned Aerial Systems and the Trinidad and Tobago Off-Road Association.
The ODPM invites various citizens who have the passion, desire and commitment to national service, to enroll in the ODPM’s Volunteer Programme.
Together we can through volunteering strengthen Trinidad and Tobago’s disaster resilience.
To learn more about the ODPM’s Volunteer Programme, members of the public can visit the ODPM’s website at www.odpm.gov.tt/volunteer. Enrollment is currently open and available for applicants 18 years and over.