The OECS Commission and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC) are continuing efforts to reduce flooding and strengthen resilience in the community of Malgretoute, in Micoud, Saint Lucia.
This latest effort facilitated the planting of trees along the Fond/Malgretoute River by student volunteers from the Vide Bouteille Primary School’s Scouts and the Duke of Edinburgh Caribbean Awards Sub-regional Council.
Programme Officer in the OECS Environmental Sustainability Cluster, Josette Edward-Charlemagne, welcomed the participation from the students and highlighted the need for sensitisation on environmental sustainability at all levels.
“It was a pleasure to have the students be a part of this riverbank stabilisation activity. This project serves to sensitise the community of Malgretoute but also our wider community on the ways in which we can intervene, albeit in small ways, to protect the environment. The trees that were planted in the past few weeks will, in time, aid in preventing the extensive erosion and flooding that the residents of Malgretoute experience every year during the rainy season,” Charlemagne said.
Eva Williams, Teacher at the Vide Bouteille Primary School, played a key role in organising students to participate in the river stabilisation project and was pleased the initiative was a success.
“We started this project in July with a group of students from the Vide Bouteille Primary School—the Scouts. The activity was not complete, however, so we decided that we would bring the campers [from the Duke of Edinburgh Caribbean Awards Sub-regional Council] here to complete the project. We are very happy that the OECS and CCRIF were able to bring us on board to be a part of this project.”
Duke of Edinburgh Participant from the Cayman Islands, Julien Manko, noted the importance of extra-curricular groups such as the Duke of Edinburgh Programme to foster leadership skills and help young people give back to their communities.
“The Duke of Edinburgh is an excellent experience that I would certainly recommend to anyone wanting to improve their leadership skills and who would like to have an opportunity to visit other beautiful countries in the Caribbean, learn more about the culture and work on a project that can help the local community,” Julien said. “Today, I’m very excited to be working with the rest of my teammates on this project for river bank stabilisation. We are working on planting trees to ensure that the silt does not continue to block the river here in Malgretoute.”
Mitigation work in the Malgretoute area has been ongoing for approximately 18 months and the project continues to engage members of the community, both in the performance of project activities and in the transfer of knowledge, to better maintain the watershed and riverbank.
The main goal of the Malgretoute riverbank stabilisation and reforestation initiative is to replant at least half of the deforested areas along the Malgretoute/Fond watershed and implement measures to stabilise the river banks. The project is estimated at USD $34,100.
Student participants in the project were from Antigua and Barbuda, the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
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