Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP) in Paramin

Trinidad and TobagoThe Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP) was conceptualized by Mr Jonathan Barcant of Vetiver TT Ecological Engineering Solutions Ltd, and Ms Jaime Romany of the Paramin Development Committee (PDC) to introduce vetiver grass to Paramin to help solve many major issues such as slope stabilization, erosion control, infrastructure protection, and to help with soil and water conservation in agriculture. Once the project began, it was discovered that vetiver grass actually used to exist in Paramin long ago, and the older generations were familiar with it including having memories of its correct implementation in hedgerow formation to rehabilitate and protect land and infrastructure. But over time, the knowledge got lost and almost all vetiver was killed off using chemical herbicides by those unaware of its value. Among those who had memory and knowledge about this unique plant, it is commonly called by its local name, “Metiver”.

VEEP in Paramin was the original design and implementation of the VEEP model, which has since been improved through lessons learned under the project and continues to evolve with each new iteration of it. However, the model itself through VEEP in Paramin was proven to be a very successful one for the introduction and integration of vetiver grass and The Vetiver System (VS) at the community level, as a simple, green and cost-effective tool for property owners to protect their lands, roads and homes, while serving a host of other valuable benefits including building back soil health and livelihood benefits through the production and sale of vetiver plant stock, and handicrafts.

Throughout this first Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP) in Paramin, a total of 25,000 plants were installed on 15 properties; in-house and field training workshops were carried out; four (4) vetiver nurseries were established to provide ongoing plant supply to the community into the future; participants learned how to make vetiver handicrafts including baskets, mats, chairs and soaps and a new cooperative community-led brand called “House of Vetiver” was born. An educational brochure was also co-created with participants to allow ongoing sharing of knowledge among the community into the future, and a short film was produced to capture the project, directed by Dylan Quesnel and which is called “Metiver” in Paramin.

VEEP in Paramin was implemented by Vetiver TT EES Ltd, the PDC, and was supported by the GEF Small Grants Programme and UNDP.

Metiver” in Paramin – a short film which captures the 2016-2017 original prototype Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP)

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