The Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP)

The Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP) is a unique model which was first developed while working at T&T’s largest hillside farming community of Paramin, alongside the Paramin Development Committee (PDC) with support from the GEF Small Grants Programme and UNDP. Under VEEP, The Vetiver System (VS) is introduced to communities as a simple, green and cost-effective bioengineering tool which can be used by anyone (especially farmers), to protect their agricultural lands, roads, homes, and other infrastructure.

Under the original VEEP in Paramin carried out in 2016-2017, a total of 25,000 plants were installed on 15 properties, along with classroom workshops being implemented to educate and share knowledge on the VS. An educational brochure was also co-created with the community, and a short documentary film produced to capture the project and share with others. It is called “Metiver” in Paramin and made it to the big screen in several local and international film festivals. Several nurseries were also created in Paramin to generate plants supply for the future, to be shared with other members of the community and interested clients beyond Paramin. A handicraft component was carried out also where participants learned how to make beautiful sustainable handicrafts and household products with the leaves and roots of vetiver grass, including baskets, mats, chairs, soaps and fragrant root bundles. The support of the sale of these handicrafts is now ongoing through a cooperative brand which came out of the project called “House of Vetiver”, which other communities including Turure can now participate in as well.

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

After the first VEEP was completed in Paramin, interest has grown in the model and it has since expanded into Quarry Rehabilitation in the Valencia Sangre Grande areas of Trinidad, and a small scale replication has taken place in the coastal town of Canaries St. Lucia in September 2018, with support of the British High Commission and in partnership with a local Ridge to Reef project implemented by the Canaries Community Improvement Foundation (CCIF). In addition, where interest has also been shown from stakeholders on several other Caribbean islands, introductory workshops, outreach and site visits were conducted in 2018 in Antigua and Barbuda with support from the GEF Small Grants Programme and Antigua Department of Environment; and in Dominica in partnership with the Inter-American Institute for Corporation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MOAFF). And finally now, The Vetiver Network West Indies (TVNWI) and will serve as a platform to facilitate interested partners and stakeholders learning more about The Vetiver System (VS), the VEEP model, as well as other individuals and organizations implementing projects regionally using vetiver grass and VS solutions; to support expansion in awareness and growth of this simple and green solution, which can become an important addition to our ‘toolkit’ as a region, on our pathway to climate resilience and sustainability.

The short video was produced in 2014 to provide the original concept for the Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP) model in T&T prior to implementation

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