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Finding a place for more Altas

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Over the past few weeks this column has sought to raise awareness of some of the issues facing Alta and similar organisations in the current social landscape. The intent was not to showcase the negative, but rather how our challenges sometimes cloud the things that make our work and function rewarding. That being said, there are times when events like the just-concluded T&T NGO Professionals Conference are a much-needed thrust to help us all persevere. 


Out of this conference, supported by the JB Fernandes Memorial Trust II and curated by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), Alta was bestowed the honour of being the 2014 recipient of the JB Fernandes Award for NGO Excellence.


The award recognises an NGO’s impact and as a model of best practices in non-profit management and comes close on the heels of Alta’s best practices nomination from the US Library of Congress in November 2013.


Apart from it being a great endorsement of the work done by Alta, we are extremely grateful for the opportunity it affords us to demonstrate impact and value of the changes we have undergone to our partners who have supported us over the years. 


Alta also aims to use the recognition as another opportunity to advocate for greater partnerships among organisations and enhanced support for the work done through civil society. As we demand greater accountability and transparency from our government and leaders, our ability to make a difference as civic organisations also weighs heavily on our ability to be accountable to those who support our efforts and those whom we serve. We hope with greater accountability, the NGO community moves forward from being a sleeping giant to a powerful force for change, and applaud the foresight of the conference hosts, IIE and Veni Apwann for placing these issues as priorities on the conference agenda.


Like the more than 100 people from NGOs, civil society, community-based and faith-based organisations attending the conference, we recognise collaboration as key to better serving our communities, whether through literacy or accessing other social services. Since 2013 this column, prompted by a partnership with the AnSa Foundation, has been an excellent avenue for Alta to give voice to issues common to the local NGO community, even as we raise awareness of our own work. By leading the way, we hope media attention continues to shift in favour of the work and people that often go unnoticed.


Alta has a cadre of committed volunteers among our membership who have made it possible for us to serve over 2,000 students in 50 communities across Trinidad. To them and our students who continue to battle with stigma and shame from poor literacy, we strive to persevere amidst every obstacle. Added to this, we look to like-minded partners to continue helping us make an impact by referring their clients to us and together bring Alta instruction to areas not previously served.


Alta remains a willing partner to refer others to those among us who have taken action instead of sitting on the sidelines. We firmly believe together the power of one will become the power to bring necessary change to our society.



Become a part of Alta. Volunteer, donate, sponsor a student. Alta volunteers are unpaid. Call 624-ALTA (2582) or e-mail [email protected] or find us on Facebook: Alta Trinidad. 


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