success laventille_short crops growing in plastic bottle

   Success Laventille Lions Club

The community of Success Laventille, in East Port of Spain, is often identified as a vulnerable community with high levels of socio- economic deprivation. To address some of these social gaps the Success Laventille Lions Club was established to empower volunteers to serve the community, meet humanitarian needs and encourage peace and promote international understanding through the spirit of ‘Lionism’. The Club has been doing projects in the Success Laventille and Beetham area since 1992.

One of the environmental issues that frequently plagues the nation’s capital is flooding due to indiscriminate dumping of garbage, waste and plastics into roadways and drainage systems (among other factors). Against this backdrop the Success Laventille Lions Club implemented the “Recycling and Re-Using Plastic Bottles: Contributing to Food Security” project with funding from the GEF SGP UNDP between 2015-2016. The Project benefited students from the community who were engaged in information sessions on waste, recycling and responsible consumption. They also participated in the collection and recycling of plastic containers through inter-school waste collection competitions. Additionally, the Project contributed to local livelihoods by providing women in the community with an opportunity to learn new skills and generate food for their households, by re- using plastic bottles as growing containers. Through this Project, the Success Laventille Lions Club also developed important partnerships with other NGOs and local actors, such as the Solid Waste Management Company Ltd, the Ministry of Agriculture, Unit Trust Corporation and Plastikeep.

Key project results:

-           195 primary school children from 6 schools were educated on the impact of the indiscriminate dumping of used plastic bottles on the environment.

-           121 primary school students collected 35,550 plastic bottles between February 1- February 28, 2016. Plastics were sent to SWMCOL for compacting and processing.

-           A ‘champion’ student won the overall first prize for collecting the 4,000 plastic bottles over a month period.

-           29 women in the community completed a 6-week training programme on green technology and the use of plastic bottles as containers to grow short crops, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Plastikeep.

-           Small garden tools, soil and plants were given to the participants to commence their gardening project.

-           Produce generated by the project included: patchoi, chive, thyme, celery, lettuce and parsley.

Dr. Caroline Alexis-Thomas, President of the Lions Club stated that she ‘was thoroughly pleased with the response from the community and was confident that students and parents would continue to do their part in maintaining their environment.’

Undoubtedly, this project has made significant steps toward addressing the environmental issue of littering; and has also provided women in the community with avenues to improve their earning potential using cost effective techniques.  Pilot projects like this certainly fuels positive change in small communities and has the potential to stimulate comradery and collective good.


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