Nine volunteers from Saint Lucia will be taking part in the inaugural Caribbean Volunteer Exchange (CVX) this coming weekend. The Saint Lucian volunteers will be joining their counterparts from Jamaica in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. There, they will be engaged in a number of educational, cultural and other activities over the course of four days.
Cyril Saltibus, the coordinator of Volunteer Saint Lucia, says that the idea of a Caribbean forum for volunteerism emerged out of a meeting of regional volunteer coordinators in Roseau, Dominica in February of this year.
Mr. Saltibus explains, “It was felt that an exchange programme would better address our training needs, and foster a better relationship amongst our Caribbean Volunteers. The Volunteer Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (VCTT) took the lead, and Saint Lucia will be the next hosts in August 2016. Through CVX, VCTT intends to establish a two-way exchange of volunteers between Caribbean territories. We believe that it engages two developmental theories to help build the concept of regionalization through Ting Toomey’s ‘Face Negotiation’ and helps to achieve coordination.
“One of the questions often asked by young people is, ‘How can we, as Caribbean nationals, begin to think as regional citizens if we can’t bring this idea of Caribbean citizenship to life, and fully understand each other’s needs and challenges?’ CVX has been conceptualised to bring it to life beyond issues we may read about or understand through our careers or regular life experiences.”
Through CVX, the Trinidad and Tobago volunteer organisation intends to establish an ongoing exchange of volunteers between Caribbean territories. Among the forum’s major goals are engagement, education and exposure. Specifically, the local volunteers will participate in a reforestation exercise, sessions on community engagement, and a cultural night.
The estimated membership of Volunteer Saint Lucia is 350, with chapters having been established in recent months in the communities of Laborie and Vieux Fort South, as well as school chapters at Micoud Secondary and Vieux Fort Comprehensive. The group left for Trinidad and Tobago on Friday November 20th and returns on Tuesday November 24th.