Empowering Leaders to Fight Crime

U.S. Government, Trinidad and PADF Empower Local Leaders to Fight Crime — Five-Day Accreditation Course Brings Together Diverse Actors to Pool Resources

This week, 28 Trinidadian community leaders and government officials have been accredited to serve as facilitators in social crime prevention. This is part of a collaborative effort to address youth crime and violence between Trinidad’s Ministry of National Security, the U.S. State Department and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) under the Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP). To date, more than 250 people in Trinidad have been accredited as RAPP Facilitators.

The program has been so successful that the Ministry of Education has agreed to adopt the program, which will now reach more schools throughout the country.

The U.S. Embassy, together with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, are proud to see the positive effects the RAPP program is having with the youth, the schools, and the communities, and look forward to continued collaboration.  Ambassador John L. Estrada visited the Diego Martin Secondary School, which participates in the RAPP program, and expressed the importance of making the right choices, about how negative influences and peer pressure can lead young people astray, and about having the “moral courage and integrity to do the right thing, even if it is not popular.”

Participants from various agencies including the Trinidad and Tobago Police, Defense Force, Prison Service, Judiciary, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Office of Law Enforcement Policy, attended a five-day training course on social crime prevention. The training focused on the risk factors that lead youth to become involved in crime and violence, as well as protective factors that can be put in place to prevent it. Those accredited as RAPP Facilitators will engage in mentoring activities to promote social crime prevention practices in their communities. The program also highlights the importance of interagency collaboration in social crime prevention.

“We can accomplish much more when agencies and individuals pool their resources,” says Roberto Obando, RAPP program director at PADF. “The program gives local officials, schools and community members the tools they need to work in tandem to better understand, respond to and prevent youth crime.”

RAPP is a unique regional effort that employs a social crime prevention approach to reduce crime and violence, particularly among at-risk youth, in the Caribbean. Since 2014, PADF has RAPP has reached more than 10,500 people in Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and Suriname through its accreditation course, outreach programs and events.

During training, participants are asked to identify an issue the community is facing, and find solutions for addressing that concern. The resulting action plans are meant to be adapted in collaboration with community members and youth, as stakeholders in the process. RAPP works closely with course participants on the successful implementation and evaluation of select action plans. Examples include public campaigns to address crime and violence, neighborhood clean-ups, or after school programs with youth offering recreational or learning activities.

About PADF
The Pan American Development Foundation, a nonprofit organization, brings together many stakeholders to improve livelihoods, empower communities, strengthen civil society, support human rights, protect the environment and respond to natural disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the last decade, PADF has reached more than 92 million people, investing more than $600 million in development resources throughout the region. www.padf.org

About INL
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) advises the President, Secretary of State, other bureaus in the Department of State, and other departments and agencies within the U.S. Government on the development of policies and programs to combat international narcotics and crime.  INL programs seek to reduce the entry of illegal drugs into the United States and to minimize the impact of international crime on the United States and its citizens. http://www.state.gov/j/inl/

Hearly G. Mayr
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
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