USAID Initiative Strengthens Community Resilience in Trinidad and Tobago through Integration

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USAID Community Resilience Initiative Launched
USAID Regional Representative, Clinton White, (right) participates in an impromptu Stick-licking demonstration during the launch.

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Communities across Trinidad and Tobago, with the support of the United States Government, are responding to the Venezuelan crisis while becoming stronger, more adaptive, and more cohesive in the process.

On Thursday, September 26,  the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), together with the United States Embassy in Port of Spain, officially launched the Community Resilience Initiative, a program that supports communities in Trinidad and Tobago to become more resilient while hosting Venezuelan migrants.

Delivering the keynote address at the launch, United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Joseph Mondello said “Today, Trinidad and Tobago faces a new and unprecedented challenge as a result of the influx of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in their country. In order to address this urgent need, the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development, allocated 1.5 million U.S. dollars to assist communities graciously hosting their Venezuelan neighbors in need.  The project we gather today to launch will be the vehicle for delivering that aid, and is a worthy addition to the United States Agency for International Development’s legacy of outstanding projects in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region.”

Through the Community Resilience Initiative, USAID is collaborating with local civil society organizations to strengthen and coordinate social services delivery to Venezuelan migrants and refugees as well as host communities. Local partners Living Water Community, Ryu Dan Dojo Youth Empowerment Center, Families in Action, and Drama Making a Difference will operate a network of resource centers that provide local communities access to information, language classes, psychosocial support, and other critical services. These resource centers also provide a safe space for activities conducive to building connections and trust between members of the local communities and Venezuelan migrants and refugees. Public information campaigns will also promote inclusion and tolerance.

Democracy International Chief of Party, Morgan Simpson, who is leading the project’s implementation, added  “We are honored to support this critical initiative and we look forward to continuing to work with all of the stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago to foster resilience.”

In conclusion, Ambassador Mondello thanked private sector and Government partners alike for their participation, noting that a project of this nature would not even be possible if not for the strong relationship between the governments of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago. “Our collaboration on the recent visit of the U.S. Naval Ship Comfort to Trinidad and Tobago, our respective assistance to the Bahamas’ recovery from Hurricane Dorian, and now our work together on this project are a testament to how much good we can accomplish together for people in need.  To all the government officials here today, thank you for your strong support for the bilateral relationship, for this initiative, and for all the future good I know we will do together.”