Trinidadians and Venezuelans were side by side in Saith Park, Chaguanas, on September 25 as they navigated a trivia questions maze and an amateur steelpan showdown as part of the United Nations (UN) in Trinidad and Tobago’s SDG Amazing Race.
The event was hosted by three UN agencies: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office. The organisers aimed to give participants a memorable hands-on learning experience to demonstrate how ordinary people can promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their communities.
A Venezuelan contestant performs for the judges during the amateur steelpan showdown. Judges from left, Laura Dowrich from Loop TT, Jewel Ali from IOM, and EU Ambassador, His Excellency Peter Cavendish.
There are 17 SDGs that Trinidad and Tobago, like all other members of the UN, must achieve by 2030. The inaugural round of the UN’s SDG Amazing Race focused on SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
SDG 16 promotes inclusion, advocates for an end to violence–including human trafficking–and champions access to justice and due process for all. This SDG is at the heart of much of the work that UNHCR and IOM do with migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Trinidad and Tobago.
Dr Maurice Frank, one of the participants in the SDG Amazing Race, searches through a trivia box to find the correct answer for his question on the SDGs.
Eight teams–five Trinidadian teams and three teams of Venezuelan migrants and refugees–competed by racing through a maze of trivia boxes to find correct answers to questions on the SDGs. Teams then sprinted into the gazebo where instructors from Proman Starlift Steel Orchestra were waiting to teach participants how to play the six-line chorus of beloved Venezuelan folk song, Alma Llanera, on the steelpan. The musical challenge was an example of the cultural fusion that takes place when host communities embrace the contributions of migrants and refugees.
Shereen Maharaj and Anu-Nandika Bachew were the winning duo.
Social media personalities, from left, Stephon Felmine (the Trinidad Alphabet Man), Omkar Lal (Omi868) and Carlos Hernandez (‘The Spanish’) strike a pose after judging the amateur steelpan showdown.
The event was funded in part by the Inclusive Cities Communities of Solidarity project, which is financed by the European Union (EU). Chaguanas is one of six cities in Latin America and the Caribbean that has been selected for this project. UNHCR and IOM are the UN’s implementing agencies for the Inclusive Cities project.
A player from Proman Starlift Steel Orchestra teaches a Venezuelan participant the Venezuelan folk song Alma Llanera on the steelpan.
Judges for the race included UN Resident Coordinator ad interim (ai), Dennis Zulu, EU Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Peter Cavendish, IOM Head of Office, Jewel Ali, UNHCR Head of National Office, Miriam Aertker, Pan Trinbago Education Officer, Marcus Ash, Loop TT Regional Lifestyle and Culture Manager, Laura Dowrich, and social media personalities Stephon Felmine (the Trini Alphabet Man), Omkar Lal aka Omi868, and Carlos Hernandez aka Spanish.