Context for project:
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), over four million Venezuelans have left their
country to flee the economic and political crisis. For many (estimated 40,000 by UNHCR),
Trinidad and Tobago has been the chosen destination due to its proximity with Venezuela and
historical ties. Not surprisingly, T&T's government and civil society are struggling to deal with the economic, social, health, and legal needs of these migrants. Support services are struggling with capacity. Although recently implemented government registration allows for access to work and some basic social services, many remain undocumented, living in precarious conditions, and facing important barriers for participation in society. The matter is complicated by a level of rejection faced by many Venezuelans due to the perception that they would take local jobs and resources already strained. Venezuelans, in turn, have the perception that Trinidadians are not aware of their realities, the reasons they fled Venezuela, and the struggles of their current lives.
Any solutions to support Venezuelans and their host communities would need to address and
help bridge this divide.
This Global Grant will assist the host community and the Venezuelan community in
collaboratively designing and implementing a food and agriculture based business, within the
context of a Community Hub. The infrastructure, human resources, and community network
present within the Cashew Gardens community will provide the bases upon which this project
will be implemented and sustained.
The collaboration between community based expertise, including that of the local Rotarians, and global experts will broaden the resources and capacity of the population as well as decrease their sense of isolation, frustration, powerlessness, and dependency.
The expected outcome is an increase in social cohesion and economic performance in the
community at large. In order to achieve these goals, we will:
● Conduct a Community Assessment - an analysis of human and institutional assets and
gaps inside and outside the target community.
● Based on this analysis,we will implement initiatives that are both Vocational and
Humanitarian in scope and nature:
○ This will include initial training for all partners (Local Rotarians, Cashew Gardens
staff) in the Pillars of Positive Peace and facilitating dialogue. Integrating these
models into the project increases the likelihood of long term success as they can
build social cohesion and create system change at the social and attitudinal
○ The project will facilitate the design and co-development of a Community Hub
that will connect people with available resources and identify gaps where
capacity building is required.
○ Conduct training and capacity building workshops by leveraging resources and
skills within the community and those from outside expertise as needed. Foster
dialogue by providing space and expertise to help the immigrant and host
communities in bridging the divide and finding common ground, and train women
in the community in conflict resolution and mediation.
○ Facilitate the participatory co-development and implementation, from the
grassroots, of a joint (immigrant and host community) pilot business project plan
with a focus on food security.
This project is not only sensitive to the culture, community, and consequences of migration and illegal migration, but utilizes an integrative, holistic approach to identify the assets in the culture and community that can contribute to success, and the barriers which may limit engagement,
retention, and success. It will produce valid and reliable results that are more able to be
expanded and replicated in similar Venezuelan communities in the region.
The project funds will be used for training in positive peace, dialogue and conflict resolution and for the supports needed so that both local Trinidadians and migrant Venezuelans are able to attend training and develop a business plan for implementation. These supports include administrative supports through our local partner, Cashew Gardens, child care, transportation, and meals, as well as stipends for trainers and experts. Local Rotarians will be contributing expertise in business development and agriculture. They will also be trained in Positive Peace and conflict resolution along with the host and migrant community members.
The timeline for the initial phase of this project, for which funding is being sought, will be 3-6 months with a goal of developing the second phase based on the implementation of the business development.