14 October 2005

SGP logoOn August 28th, Residents of Bon Air North (Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago) came together to celebrate the spirit of their community, their achievements and to discuss the next step forward.

As part of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) project, The Cropper Foundation, in partnership with the University of the West Indies (St.Augustine), The Environmental Management Authority, The Tropical Re-Leaf Foundation and the Trust for Sustainable Livelihoods, is conducting an ecological and socio-economic assessment of the Northern Range of Trinidad, one of the 25 sub-global sites selected in the MEA project. This assessment considers the forces that impact on the Northern Range as an ecosystem, and its capacity to continue to provide the goods and services on which its communities and the society as a whole depend. Three communities were consulted during this assessment, one of which was Bon Air North, Arouca.

In a continuation of the Northern Range Assessment a sustainable living project has been initiated for Bon Air North in the Lopinot Valley.

The project aims:

  • · To facilitate this community in its interest to actively participate in its own development
  • · To support the residents in exploring and creating livelihood opportunities, while improving the natural environment and building the community's sense of place, collective identity, and communal forms of governance
  • · To contribute to methodology and best practice for involving and supporting communities towards sustainable development that might be useful for application in other locations

Notable Community Participation
The community of Bon Air North, led by the Village Council, is actively involved in the project cycle.

Capacity - Building Component
Training for community members in adult literacy, organization and management, project management, accounting and reporting, other skills as required.

Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
Sustainable livelihood activities include: · assessment of livelihood options and viability · seed funding for livelihood activities Sustainable Livelihood options include: 1) Organic Agroforestry 2) Agroprocessing: e.g. jams, sun dried fruits 3) Bee keeping: honey and wax harvesting 4) Vermiculture: vermicompost, worms for home gardens, home composting, bait, pet food 5) Ecotourism: nature trails, butterfly farm

Promoting Public Awareness of Global Environment
Outreach by the 'model' sustainable community to other communities to share experience and approaches would also contribute to possible replication of the Community Component of the Northern Range Assessment