Capacity Building for Youth in Sustainable Land Management

The Capacity Building for Youth in Sustainable Land Management Project was started in April of 2007. The project is funded by the Organization of American States (O.A.S.).and was conceptualised to encourage our youth to become involved in more practical aspects of enhancing and preserving their environment.

Approximately 80,000 trees will be propagated & planted primarily in the South District areas of the island as the National Conservation Commission seeks to significantly reforest the island especially areas prone to soil erosion. The goals of the project were to contribute to sustainable land management in Barbados through reforestation and to create a sense of awareness, ownership and appreciation for the natural environment through the empowerment of the youth.

The primary objectives are:

  • To restore deforested areas;
  • To increase the variety of vegetation on the island;
  • To combat soil erosion
  • To improve the natural aesthetics.

In the first year, the main focus was on educating the youth participants about plant propagation, sustainable land management and the importance of trees to the environment and landscape. The schools which participated were, Roland Edwards Primary, The Rock Christian School, Barbados Community College, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Welches Primary, and Alleyne Secondary. At the end of the training, the students prepared presentations on what they had learnt during the project and garden project which they started.

The focus of the 2008 to 2009 year of the project was on plant propagation, planting of trees, training in information technology and use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as it relates to forestry and reforestation. Fifty (50) students were scheduled to participate in this training; however, the response was so overwhelming that provision was made for over one hundred (100) pupils from Combermere School, Queens College and Foundation Secondary.

Five (5) green house frames and covering material have been purchased. Three (3) of these were donated to Coleridge and Parry Secondary, Hindsbury Primary and St. Lukes Brighton Primary. The two (2) remaining greenhouses were erected at the Codrington headquarters of the NCC to be utilized for propagation of trees by the Barbados 4H foundation and other youth groups. It is our hope that these facilities will be utilized for the development of young entrepreneurs in the areas of agriculture and environment.

Almost 16,500 trees have been planted so far along beaches and in several parks including Barclays Park, Three Houses Park and King George V Memorial Park. Both Governmental and non-governmental agencies have responded to our invitation to participate in the programme. The National Sports Council has partnered with the NCC to beautify the playing fields around the island; the Soil Conservation Unit has continued to support the agro-forestry component of the project by supplying fruit trees to be planted in the Scotland District and at public schools and LIME has also come onboard and selected the Long pond site on the East Coast to re-vegetate.

The second phase of the project is underway and monitoring of tree planting is ongoing. This phase will focus on monitoring and caring for the trees which were planted. Propagation will continue during this time, but mainly for replacement of any trees which did not survive. It is hoped that this project will have a positive impact on the vibrancy of the youth participation in agriculture and environmental sustainability of Barbados.