Young people between the ages of 19 to 29 recently took park in a hands-on disaster preparedness and management workshop in North-East Tobago, from May 7-9. The workshop was organised by the Division of Sport and Youth Affairs (DSYA), with technical support from the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).
Twenty people attended the programme at the Charlotteville Branch Library, which included the following topics: chainsaw use and management, fire prevention, emergency planning, risk assessment and radio communication. The workshop was facilitated through a combination of multimedia presentations, lectures and practical exercises.
Lyndon Wilson, the Youth Development Officer II, Department of Youth Affairs, highlighted the overall goal of the workshop.
He said, “It is necessary that young people be empowered to take responsibility for the space that they are in. The idea is exposing the youth to key information on how to handle themselves and their environment during an emergency so they can step up to the plate in such circumstances. The workshop was held in Charlotteville to further develop the knowledge base in that district, so residents can be better equipped to respond to a disaster.”
Following his participation, Charlotteville resident Akel Rogers said, “My favourite part of the programme was the entire programme. Just the fact that people would come and teach the youths of the community something like this was great. I will be creating an emergency plan with my family and preparing an emergency kit.”
Speaking of her experience, Raysine Roberts of L’Anse Fourmi noted, “It was really interesting because I got to learn a lot about natural disasters and how to be able to prepare for it and not to get comfortable, because it can happen to anyone. It’s a good experience and it’s something everyone should learn.”
TEMA Chief Facilitator Earl Hernandez expressed his satisfaction with the initiative.
“Charlotteville is an excellent place for this to happen and it made me happy to see young people passionate and willing to learn. It is good that the youth are being included because now they can help their families and by extension their communities.”