This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 March 2013
s it has become established tradi‐ tion over the past years, the 5th De‐ cember marks one of the most im‐ portant celebratory events for volunteers around the world highlighting achieve‐ ments, dedication and solidarity of the countless individuals that seek to improve social conditions in their respective host and home countries. For IVD 2012, the UNV Trinidad and Tobago Field Unit joined forces with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) to show appreciation for the volun‐ teers who have been enrolled in a National Volunteer Programme over the past year. These persons have assisted the ODPM and other Ministries in times of need, most nota‐ bly in Diego Martin Flood during August 2012. Both UNV and ODPM’s initiative forms part of the wider framework of Comprehensive Disaster Management currently undertaken by the Ministry of National Security through the ODPM intends to highlight the hugely important contribution that volunteers are making towards community preparedness and disaster risk reduction. By holding joint celebrations on the occasion of IVD has pro‐ vided an important platform for showcasing the work and the impact of volunteer action on a topic that is vital to the sustainable de‐ velopment of Trinidad and Tobago.
ODPM National Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony International Volunteers Day (IVD) 2012 in T&T
Staging IVD celebrations on the 8th has given therefore an opportunity to interpret the 2012’s motto of “Celebrating Volun‐ teering” through the prism of citizen‐ driven disaster risk management initia‐ tives. The event was covered by the media and included speeches from the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy representative Mr. Henri‐ Francois Morand and the representative of the ODPM Mr. Vijai Mahabir.
Inside this issue:
IVD 2013 Remarks on IVD Marina Kobzeva Important Dates Carnival 2013 Volunteering for Kiddies Carnival Voice of UNV Victor Reyes 1‐4 3 4 5‐6 6
Our New Little UNV 77 2 Years after the 3/11 Earthquake in Japan
Every year, hundreds of millions of people around the world volunteer their time and effort to help others. The core values of volunteerism – striving for the common good in a spirit of solidarity and without e x p e c t i n g material reward ‐ are shared universally across cultures, languages, and religions.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark on the occasion of International Volunteer Day
Representatives of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Volunteers Programme and the ODPM National Volunteers– on 8th December 2012 at the ODPM. During the Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony, volunteer certificates, ODPM‐UNDP volunteer vests and the UNV mugs were awarded to 80 National ODPM Volunteers.
Left: Dr. Francisco Roquette : UNV Senior Portfolio Manager Latin American / Carib‐ bean Development Division
Mr. Henri‐François Morand : UNDP Resident Representative a.i., made remarks on his former UNV colleagues who were killed in an armed attack during the UNDP mission in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 2009. He said the victims were viciously killed as they sought to serve the peo‐ ple of Afghanistan but their sacrifice will not be forgotten. All participants observed a minute of silence in tribute to the victims. Center : UNV T&T Field Unit
Remarks on IVD: UNV Programme Manager Marina Kobzeva National Capacity Development for Disaster Risk at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management
here has been an increased attention to natural disasters around the globe in the last decade. Climate change and ongoing urbanization have been contributing to increased vulnerability of the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago over the past years. The na‐ tional Office for Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) seeks to promote a resil‐ ient nation whose continuous protection from new and existing threats, posed by all natural and man‐made hazards, is integrated into routine practices of individuals, communities, gov‐ ernment and public and private sector businesses. The ODPM’s Comprehensive Disaster Management Policy Framework has integrated the United Nation International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) Hyogo Framework for Action; the latter encourages nations to “develop specific mechanisms to engage the active participation and ownership of rele‐ vant stakeholders, including communities, in disaster risk reduction, in particular building on the spirit of volunteer‐ ism.” In the light of this the development of a National Volunteer Programme was seen as vital to achieving comprehensive disaster management goals. Subsequently, in 2010, the Volunteer Programme was designed, with its purpose to allow members of the community; public, private and civil sectors to take ownership of their communities’ vulnerabilities and engage in risk reduction and management practices. The main objective of the ODPM’s National Volunteer Pro‐ gramme is to establish a mechanism through which volunteers can offer their time, efforts and skills at various phases of disaster management cycle. The ODPM has pledged to provide these volunteers with disaster management related training and emergency skills which will enable them to support stakeholders and their communities’ times of disas‐ ter. Primary emphasis will be placed on the response and recovery phase of disasters and the majority of volunteers will be charged with assigned tasks and responsibilities that are intended to enhance the response capabilities and recovery mechanisms of the ODPM. But it was decided that within each phase of the Disaster Risk Management Cycle, volun‐ teers will be able to play an active role. The ODPM launched a media campaign and community outreach programme and by the end of 2011, more than a hundred of interested citizens, ready and willing to donate their time and skills, responded to the call and comprehen‐ sive volunteer training, proceeded by a brief selection and recruitment phase, begun. In order to achieve best result and make the training as effective and interactive as possible the volunteers were divided into four manageable groups. In 2012, over the course of 10 months they received training from the ODPM’s own skilled disaster managers in the basics of General Hazard Awareness, Disaster Management Cycle, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment, Ini‐ tial Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis, Damage and Loss Assessment, Logistics Management, Use of Radio and emergency communications, Incident Command System, Shelter Management and First Psychological Aid and Community‐based Psychosocial Support. At the next stage, the volunteers who successfully completed the initial training will be offered to specialize in one or two areas of disaster management and to continue their in‐depth training over the course of 2013. First aid and CPR training will be given to all volunteers and after the necessary training is received by each volunteer group, they will be issued basic equipment to ensure efficiency of their assigned duties. Torrential rain and flash floods that hit the West of Trinidad in August 2012 led the ODPM test their volunteers and their support to the Local Government and the ODPM in initial damage assessment and shelter management was greatly appreciated. In December 2012, together with United Nations Volunteers in Trinidad and Tobago, the ODPM organized a simula‐ tion exercise to commemorate to the International Volunteer Day and test volunteers’ knowledge in the field. Their performance and commitment were exceptional. The day ended with a Ceremony of Volunteer Appreciation, hosted by the ODPM and UNV. The ODPM's Volunteer Policy still needs to be updated and finalized, many organizational, administrative and insurance issues need to be discussed and improved, the volunteers still have a lot to learn. But one can be sure saying that as of 2012 national volunteers have become an integral part of disaster management in Trini‐ dad and Tobago.
Volunteer Fair in Port of Spain: December 5th 2012
n December 5th 2012, the Volunteer Fair to cele‐ brate International Volunteer Day and to promote volunteerism and highlight the work of local NGOs in Trinidad and Tobago took place on Brian Lara Promenade between Chacon and Frederick Street. Initiated by the Vol‐ unteer Connection, a local organization which connects vol‐ unteers to the network of local NGOs, 10 local NGOs as well as the United Nations Volunteers Programme participated in the occasion. It was such a successful event that hundreds of pedestrians stopped by to ask questions and to exchange ideas. Many have signed up as a volunteer for local NGOs.
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
March 20 2013 International Day of Happiness April 21~ 2013 T&T National Volunteer Week
Did You Know? International Day of Happiness
n 28th June 2012, the United Nations passed a resolution designating March 20th International Happiness Day to promote happiness as a universal goal and aspiration in the lives of human beings around the world. The initiative was taken by the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan which already has its own “gross national happi‐ ness index” (for more details, visit http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com). So, how can you best commemo‐ rate this day? At personal level, you can focus on your own personal happiness, such as ‘get plenty of sleep’ or ‘go shopping’. I would stop by at Häagen Dazs and have 2 scoops of strawberry ice cream on the classic sugar cones! Or you can try to develop practices that bring happiness into your life, such as ‘practice an attitude of gratitude” and ‘speak with kindnesses’. You can also go a little further and do something that resonates with you to make the world a better place. This could be anything from saying “hi” to anyone you pass on the side‐ walk to doing one small thing to help the planet of Earth. So let’s get to celebrating! Smile!!!! “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama
UNV/UNDP Joint Programme
n Saturday 2nd February 2013, the UNV Field Unit in Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with the UNDP sup‐ ported Children's Carnival 2013. The purpose of the partnership was to highlight and strengthen the UN presence in Trinidad and Tobago as well as to promote awareness on volunteerism and its contribution to development and peace. Accordingly, the UNV Field Unit selected Mr. Gerard Kelly’s Children’s Carnival Band, a totally fun‐ inspired band exclusively designed with the kids in mind. Over the past 13 years, Mr. Kelly has earned a vast wealth of knowledge and experience through his years of devotion and dedication to the Children’s carnival. The spirit of the volun‐ teerism also encouraged him to ensure that the less fortunate children get a taste of the national festival; as every year he has been sponsoring a section for kids at various Homes and Institutions. This year his theme was in tribute to his country, Trinidad and Tobago, “Preserve Our Heritage ‐ I love My Country”. Through UNDP funding, the UNV Field Unit produced the 150 T‐shirts and the front banner for Mr. Kelly’s carnival band. In addition, the UNV Field Unit as well as the UNDP staff members spent hours at his carnival mass camp, helping to creating and putting the finishing touches on children’s carnival costumes.
Support for Children’s Carnival 2013
Volunteering for Kiddies Carnival
y initial impression on my arrival at the Gerard Kelly mas camp on Hunter Street, Woodbrook, was one of apprehension. Given that my visit to the camp was a mere two days before the scheduled parade of the bands the atmosphere at the camp was hectic and somewhat chaotic. The camp itself was small as Mr. Kelly was utilizing a single room in an office building for the fabrication of the band’s costumes. It was strewn with all manner of cloth, tubing, rolls of wire and other parapher‐ nalia used in the art of costume making. It was quite clear at the onset that our assistance was greatly appreciated and much needed. I was quickly assigned by Mr. Kelly’s aide, Rhonda, to glue strips of fabric to make straps for back pieces. Upon completing the assigned task I was then asked to affix decorations to heads pieces. Some 5 hours later I was heady with the fumes of contact cement but more than please with some of my creations. Though being from Trinidad, the entire experience of creating carnival costumes was something new to me. Rhonda told me that the true joy from all the work involved would be felt on the day of the event when one sees the kids in full costume parading in the streets and enjoying themselves.
Mr. Lyndon Wright UNDP Programme
ince this being my first carnival ever, I didn’t know what to expect. But when I visited the mass camp to offer my volunteer work, I was amazed to learn that carnival costume making is a labor‐ intensive hand‐made artwork from start to finish, and the time, creativity and love put into the chil‐ dren’s carnival costumes just overwhelmed me. Having said that, seeing hundreds of children actu‐ ally in their beautiful costumes, looking cheerfully and proudly on the stage, has absolutely made me appreciate more the time I spent at the mass camp. It was truly their time to shine in their carnival costumes! I still have a lot to learn about the carnival culture in Trinidad and Tobago but I believe it strengthens children’s connection with important aspects of their cultural heritages as well as with their families and communities. UNV Field Unit will continue to support the events and activities that Ms. Hitomi Urushihata promote youth development in the land of carnival. UNV Programme Officer
A Special Thanks to those Good People who voluntary helped the costume making at the mass camp!
Mrs. Isele Robinson‐Cooper, UNDP Programme Officer
Ms. Rosemary Lall, UNDP Programme Officer
alfway through my one year assignment in Trinidad and Tobago, the balance so far is defini‐ tively positive. I am in charge of managing a project to develop a National Corporate Social Responsibility policy in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment. Yes, quite a mouthful and definitely quite a challenge. At a professional level accepting this position gave me a lot to reflect upon. Is CSR just a way for legitimizing business to operate according to fair labor or non‐corrupt practices on a voluntary basis? Is CSR just another way of reducing the responsi‐ bility of the government towards its constituents? Chances are that this text would have another au‐ thor if that was the case. I chose this position for the opportunity to significantly impact the lives of those with few opportunities. I add emphasis to opportunity as true impact will happen when companies incorporate the notion of responsibility being not limited to their board. This could mean enhanced production, more skilled work force, better communities and the list goes on. In an aggre‐ gated effect, enabling corporations to go beyond business as usual can foster sustainable growth. Achieving such impact is of course bigger than my assignment but it turns out that through this project we can trigger change. As with any policy exercise there is a great deal of work to be done. Research, interviews, discussions and management of different interests are all part of the day to day work “routine”. There is great buy in from different sectors of society and it seems we are on the right track. It is also true that much of this effort will be invisible in the final policy draft, but as discour‐ aging as that can be no good policy has ever come out of a succinct, desktop‐base policy process. It’s also fair to say that an International UNV experience has more to it than the professional opportunity. It is a chance to experience reality me it means experiencing that appendix some regional organizations like to add to its name –Latinamerica AND the Caribbean‐ as if it were one. It is clear for me that the Caribbean is a world to itself, with a culture with much to offer and conditions that differ greatly from its close continental neighbors. That of course is not a call for distancing both but perhaps integration efforts should not be built on geographical closeness but on the common desire to respect and value our identities.
Voice of UN Volunteer : CSR Policy Project Manager Victor Reyes
Welcome to the world Mr. Newen Ezequiel Reyes Our New Little UNV!!!!!
uite an event, for me – or anyone I suppose, the birth of my first son, Newen has changed my life in more levels than I expected. In one of those parenting books, most of them written for mothers I must say, I became interested with the following statement “Is the parents who need to learn from their children and support the development of their per‐ sonalities”. One may be skeptical about what can be learned from an individual who sleeps and eats 80% of his time, but going through the process can help to put things in perspec‐ tive. First time parents may have some difficulties in the adaptation process of going from 2 to 3, it requires much more effort than one would think. Yet, we often forget that babies are really the ones with the hard part. If you think about it they NEED ‐ need as something re‐ quired for survival, not as the latest Smartphone‐ our attention, our time and full dedication. Yes, I am jumping in the band wagon with all the mothers, who are really demanded, but we fathers have a stake here too. Being abroad adds a layer of amusement to the whole parenting entanglement. Getting to know the local parenting tradi‐ tions, different approaches to what is good for babies, suggestions for those bad nights; it all makes the experience richer. Being involved in the “ex‐pat” world comes also with exposure to other couples from around the world going through the same experience, becoming another source of information, experience exchange and support. We are glad to be going through this part of our lives in a beautiful and healthy environment; Newen has enjoyed the good weather and the week‐ end beach visit. We might hold on a little bit before exposing him to the local cuisine, mostly the pepper, but he will sure be the delighted with the local fruits. I am a little hesitant about the immigration officer who will have to stamp passports from all over the world. It’s not every day that you find a Trini boy with an Ecuadorian father and a Swedish mother, but let’s deal with that when the time comes. For now the trilingual environment offers multiple lullaby options!
The Great Earthquake and Tsunami– Two Years On Disaster and Volunteerism in Japan
nternational Volunteer Day 2012 in collabora‐ tion with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) had a special meaning for me. On March 11 2011, my home country Ja‐ pan was hit by a catastrophic magnitude 9.0 earth‐ quake, the largest ever recorded in Japan and the fifth most powerful earthquake in the world. The earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsuna‐ mis, inundating many and annihilating some entire coastal communities with waves up to 133 ft high. The beautiful beaches where I spent time with my family and friends when I was a child were com‐ pletely perished without a trace. The earthquake and tsunami also caused extensively severe struc‐ tural damage, including heave damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas. In the midst of the winter season, around 4.4 million households were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water for weeks. My family was no exception. Communication systems also broke down which led the Japanese society in utter chaos. Emer‐ gency calls to the police and fire stations were never reached or delayed. My cousin who lived near the epicenter re‐ mained missing for a week. As of September 2012, the death toll stood at 15,870, with a further 2,814 recorded as missing. 129,433 buildings were completely destroyed and approximately 330,000 people are still displaced. Today, Japan still suffers from after‐ shocks of the March 11 earthquake. Each of those aftershocks keeps reminding us the scale of the earthquake and tsunami we have experienced and triggers traumatic memories resembling a horrible nightmare. Since March 11, Ja‐ pan experienced over 1,000 aftershocks, with 80 registering over magnitude 6.0 and three of which were over magni‐ tude 7.0. Japan’s vulnerability to earthquakes and tsunamis is well known. Japan is subjective to about 20.5% earthquake with the magnitude 6.0 or more, and is in a constant state of readiness for the arrival of the “big one”. In fact, tsunamis so frequently occurred in Japan, we invented the word specifically for the phenomenon: ‘tsu’ meaning harbor and ‘nami’ meaning wave. Believe it or not, 6 out of 10 worst tsunamis of all time occurred in Japan. As a result, Japan has be‐ come a nation where earthquake and tsunami drills are part of the culture. The level of individual preparedness varies, but majority of households keep a basic earthquake survival kit. We have adopted various disaster management re‐ lated laws and have developed nation‐prefectural‐municipal level disaster management system. The nation has a state‐of art tsunami warning system and has become one of the best countries better prepared for the worst disas‐ trous scenario. In addition, the hardships of horrible disasters in the past brought the Japanese people together in a sense of unity and helped to develop the bond in a self‐sacrificing attitude towards each other in the form of volun‐ teerism. The 1995 Kobe earthquake killed 5,500 people and brought a significant change in the history of volunteerism in Ja‐ pan. Approximately 1.2 million volunteers were involved in relief efforts from all over Japan converged on Kobe to help victims of the quake, making the year 1995 a turning point in the emergence of volunteerism as a major form of civic engagement. The spirit of volunteerism has developed over the years and through numerous tragic experiences
once again united the Japanese after March 11 by bring‐ ing over a million people responding by volunteering their time, energy and compassion to assist the affected communities. The resilience of the Japanese people, re‐ flected by the massive volunteer mobilization in the area, brought hope to the affected communities as well as to the grieving nation as a whole. It is equitably im‐ portant to mention that many international volunteers who have never set foot in Japan before boldly made their way for the cause. Whether they were national or international volunteers, people left their lives behind, came together to work tirelessly in extreme conditions and they brought hope to the damaged communities. Our country also received generous emotional support from all over the world. At the National Day Reception held at the Japanese Ambassador’s Residence on December, the Hon‐ ourable Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, told the guests that immediately after receiving the news of the event that shook the world, people in Chaguanas gathered together and prayed for Japan. Those acts of love and encouragement from all over the world meant a lot to the Japanese people. As I was at the Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony at the ODPM, there were many things going through my mind. I thought about the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, about thousands of volunteers tirelessly working for the af‐ fected communities and about those workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant literally risking their lives to save Japan. I was recalling numerous stories on how the most people saved were rescued by relatives and neighbours within the first 24 hours before professional responders reached there. The incident and its aftermath had proven that the local communities are the first responders to take action and save countless human lives right after the disastrous event hit. While local and national authorities have key responsibilities for civil protection in hazard events, communities have always been the first responders and the first rescuers. I also thought about natural disasters that had taken place and affected thousands of people around the world; earth‐ quakes in Haiti, Sichuan China and Solomon Islands, tsunamis in Indonesia and Thailand, floods in New Orleans, Paki‐ stan and Brazil, drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and hurricane Sandy which devastated portions of the Carib‐ bean, the Mid‐Atlantic and Northeastern United State. Europe is no exception, the continent has been hit by a series of cold as well as heat waves killing hundreds of people every year. Natural disasters can happen anytime and any‐ where, each time causing great emotional distress. Coping with such traumatic distress is not easy, just as it takes time to clear the rubble and repair the damage; it takes even longer time to recover the emotional equilibrium. The aftermath of the March 11 Earthquake as well as other disastrous events around the world, volunteers are not only dedicating their time and skills for restoration and reconstruction purpose but they also play a great role in assisting the healing and rehabilitating process of the victims by brining hope and love to the devastated communities. At the very end of the ceremony, one of the national ODPM volunteers gave beautiful remarks on the occasion by say‐ ing “…we are trained, we are willing to be trained and we are available 247, 365 days. If anything happens in our beau‐ tiful twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago we will be ready and honored and prepared to respond and to ensure that the lives are not lost.” Volunteerism is not for money, fame or fortune but to be able to go out there and do something for mankind. I would like to congratulate the national ODPM volunteers for becoming an integral part of disaster management in Trinidad and Tobago and I do hope they continue their commitment to the principle. Hitomi Urushihata UNV Programme Officer, UNDP Trinidad and Tobago