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Communities push Beyond Borders for progress

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Kessel Byer of Embacadere, San Fernando, describes how he was empowered to start a bottled water company through the Beyond Borders Capacity Development Programme. Listening to his message are (from left) Sterling Belgrove, executive chairman of The Rose Foundation; NiLeung Hypolite, Laventille West MP; Joel Primus, Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations adviser, bpTT; and Gary Edwards, technical director, Tek Engineering.

Some 275 persons from several communities in Trinidad participated in a gala ceremony at the Trinidad Hilton Hotel last weekend to celebrate their accomplishments in the annual Beyond Borders Capacity Development Programme.


The initiative provided training in organisational development skills for groups in the marginalised communities of Beetham Gardens, Farm Road (St Joseph), Mt D’or, Covigne and Embacadere. The programme was developed through a partnership between BP T&T and The Rose Foundation, along with the Ministry of National Security through its Citizen Security Programme, a release said.


Since the start of the training initiative in 2010, 35 organisations have been formed across the five communities, resulting in community-based business initiatives in the areas of bottled water, construction, graphic arts, transportation and catering. These enterprisers have generated $7.3m to date.


BPTT’s Corporate Responsibility manager, Ronda Francis, outlined the rationale for the programme: 


She said: “Beyond Borders began out of the belief that if given the tools, your organisation could build your capacity and so too, your communities. It has been inspiring for us to see you transform from disorganised, informal groups into formal, legally registered, high-perform


“Every person and community group here has gone far beyond the borders that were keeping you back from the greatness you have achieved and will continue to achieve.” 


Putting the entire initiative in context was Sterling Belgrove, executive chairman of The Rose Foundation which delivered the training. 


“The results we’ve seen clearly show that every community organisation has the opportunity to turn relevant training into functional activities that provide employment and generate revenue for their community. 


“We’ve changed lives by giving people the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Our vision is that this training be spread across the nation and empower communities to become sustainable and foster a stronger society,” Belgrove said.


Every member of the community groups attending the graduation received certification recognising their completion of the capacity development training modules, including organising and leadership, incorporation and compliance, good governance practices and development of strategic relationships. 


Other highlights of ceremony included heartfelt testimonials from leaders of the various community groups, the premiere of a music video denouncing violence that was produced by the Five Phase Energy Sounds Association, of Beetham Gardens, and presentation of $16,000 to the young artists of Sogren Trace through the sale of their paintings produced through the Beyond Borders programme. 


According to Kessel Byer of Embacadere, San Fernando, who was able to launch the Amethyst Family Foundation producing purified and ozonated bottled water, the experience had been life-changing. 


“This training enhanced our thinking processes and helped us to develop critical technical skills. But more importantly, it helped us to change our mindset so that we believe that we can be as great as we want to be. We were empowered with the knowledge, skills and confidence to forge a better future for our communities and the nation as well,” Byer said.


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