Fourteen Venezuelans were among a group of 37 participants who graduated from the Sustainable Hydroponics Agricultural Programme for young Entrepreneurs (SHAPE) yesterday.
The participants are now poised to become young agricultural entrepreneurs after completing the programme which ran from August 2nd to September 18th, 2022. The participants were trained in hydroponics and traditional agriculture methods, financial management and sales strategy.
They received certificates of participation during a graduation ceremony held at the PSL Building, Couva.
The project, initially a venture of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Police Youth Club (PYC) Organisation, expanded and is now funded by the European Union through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), implemented by Sgt Jacey Small of the Community-Oriented Policing Section, Central Division.
This cohort included Venezuelans within the Borough of Chaguanas, members of the Brechin Castle United Youth Empowerment Committee, Chickland and Edinburgh/Lendore Young Stars PYCs and is in keeping with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and 17 Partnership – which is also a strategic priority of the TTPS Strategic Plan 2022-2024.
Head of COPS Superintendent Subhash Ramkhelawan said PYCs are “still working with young people in the country to have positive change.”
“We understand the importance of proactively working with our young people and we are making a strong commitment to continue working with IOM through our TTPS Police Youth Club Organisation which officially started its movement in 1974.” There are currently over 100 established PYCs with over 7000 members.
Meanwhile, Sgt Small said the project “will improve the lives of not only the participants but the wider communities.”
“The project, which will be an ongoing one, is targeting young people in the Central Division, providing alternative avenues to increase their capacity and providing an avenue to be self-sustainable while contributing to the greater good of their communities,” he said.
He added, “What we are aiming to do is to ensure that young people can self-sustain, ensuring employment and tackling and addressing the issue of food security in the country. Although training ended the project is an ongoing one and it aims to be replicated throughout the Central Division and more so throughout Trinidad and Tobago.”
There were also 700 lbs of sweet potatoes being donated to participants by Kemraj Singh, a farmer.
Also present at the graduation were Superintendent, Central Division, Administration, Sampooran Kissoonlal, Project Team Leader, Cpl Randy Kanhai and Manager of the TTPS Monitoring, Evaluation and Compliance Unit, Tonya Pierre-Gopaul, IOM Communications Officer, Kandy Serrant, IOM Project Officer, Desery Whiskey and Jewel Ali, Translator, Shanaz Mohamdally, and Project Assistant, Seema Kadir, among other key stakeholders.
Chesky Agro Solutions provided consultancy services for the programme.
Anyone who wishes to partner with the Central COPS and the IOM can contact Small at 461-1211 or Central COPS at 671-5394 or email [email protected]