Port of Spain, September 26, 2019: Today, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), together with the United States Embassy in Port of Spain, officially launched the Community Resilience Initiative, a program that supports communities in Trinidad and Tobago to become more resilient while hosting Venezuelan migrants.
“Trinidad and Tobago faces a new and unprecedented challenge as a result of the influx of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing the man-made crisis in their country,” said United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Joseph N. Mondello in his keynote address. “In order to address this urgent need, the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development, is providing approximately 1.5 million U.S. dollars to assist communities graciously hosting their Venezuelan neighbors in need,” he added.
Through the Community Resilience Initiative, USAID is collaborating with local civil society organizations to strengthen and coordinate social services delivery to Venezuelan migrants and refugees as well as Trinbagonian host communities. Local partners will operate a network of resource centers that provide local communities access to information, language classes, psychosocial support, and other critical services. These resource centers also provide space for activities conducive to building connections and trust between members of local communities and Venezuelan displaced persons and refugees. Public information campaigns will also promote inclusion and tolerance.
Local partner organizations and project beneficiaries participated in the launch event, demonstrating creative approaches to building bridges between Venezuelans and Trinidad and Tobago nationals. “Let us demonstrate the true meaning of inclusion… cause at the end of the day, no one of us has the key. So to unlock the safe, is together, we” shared participating youth from Drama Making a Difference in a spoken word presentation. Democracy International Chief of Party Morgan Simpson who is leading the project’s implementation added, “We are honored to support this critical initiative and we look forward to continuing to work with all of the stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago to foster resilience.”
Ambassador Mondello thanked all stakeholders for their participation, noting that a project of this nature is only possible when partners from government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations work together. He stated, “Our collaboration on the recent visit of the U.S. Naval Ship Comfort to Trinidad and Tobago, our respective assistance to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, and now our work together on this project are a testament to how much good we can accomplish together for people in need.”