Working with the Corporate Sector toward a Collaborative Approach to Sustainable Community Development
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to welcome you to our second instalment of deliberations with you, representatives of the private sector, as we work on a collective approach to community development.
When busy people give of their time in the Christmas season in Trinidad and Tobago, it is even more special. We feel very privileged. I understand that the majority of you were at our first session held earlier this year. Your presence is a testament to your commitment to community development.
Theme 1 of the National development Goals of Vision 2030 is “Putting People First: Nurturing Our Greatest Assets.” This first priority translates directly into our goal of building resilience – communities must be increasingly able to support a transformed quality of life for all our citizens.
The Ministry is also championing approaches to community development that are inclusive and that promote community ownership of initiatives. We need our communities to be active participants in charting their future. They must decide what they need our support with and the corporate sector’s willingness to facilitate community capacity-building and long-term sustainable community initiatives, while achieving return on investment, has been noted. We applaud you!
What we now have to do is work together to optimize our resources. The June meeting started the conversation on the complementarity of interests and we achieved consensus about developing a partnership approach to this mission.
We also heard, when we last met in June the challenges and constraints that you envisaged hindering partnership with government. Your concerns included – availability and use of data for assessing community assets and for measuring the impact of interventions and whether systems and structures exist for co-ordination of resources. And a key, pragmatic concern – the absence of an institutional framework to govern the partnership.
I am pleased to advise that each of these concerns have been addressed and progressed to a significant extent by the Ministry. These form the basis of the deliberations today.
We do know that both government and private sector – have already been involved independently in various programmes and initiatives under the banner of community development. Likewise, NGO’s, CBO’s and FBO’s would also have been involved in similar initiatives, some financed by international development agencies.
What we are embarking on is ground-breaking and ahead of the curve – structured partnership over the long term, among public sector organisations, corporate organisations and the community sector. Formalised and strategic Public Private Community Partnership on a national scale is new for our country therefore what is needed is a re-orientation of the approach to community development envisioned in the forerunner document to the National Policy on Sustainable Community Development.
We believe that the public private community partnership we are advocating has the potential to strengthen the impact of your corporate social responsibility efforts, allowing for greater alignment to national goals, supporting an even more strategic approach from the boardroom, greater employee satisfaction and improved potential for supply chain opportunities. Our partnership will ensure:
- greater coordination at the community level,
- community-based strategic assessments and goals,
- support with monitoring and impact evaluation, and
- a whole of government approach based on our relationship with the local government reform process.
We have mapped out some timelines for ironing out challenges and achieving early successes over the next year and the presentations to follow will set out the details for doing so.
We are extremely hopeful that these approaches will blossom into fruitful and productive relationships redounding to the benefit of the over 500 communities of Trinidad and Tobago.
I thank you and wish you insightful deliberations today. I look forward to the outcome.
On behalf of my family I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and productive 2018.