Eighteen male and female inmates of Her Majesty’s Prison, here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were trained in Vetiver Mat and Basketry Construction Training between August-October 2015 as part of the Forest Livelihood Training Initiative, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The training aimed to offer inmates the opportunity for social and economic re-integration, whilst addressing the wider issue of forest livelihood creation to strengthen the forest rehabilitation drive currently being undertaken by the Forestry Division in the Ministry of Agriculture.
The majority of participants were under 30 years old, with half of the participants aged 16-25 years.
The workshop coordinator and trainer Ms. Vonnie Roudette, was impressed with the inmates’ enthusiasm and rapid pace of learning, which in her experience, exceeded that of tertiary level college students.
Additional trainers, Leon Alexander and Lucita McCoy, reiterated that the response to training was positive and expressed their hope that the handicraft project continues.
The team of trainers aims to establish an ongoing inmate-driven production unit within the prison, with linkages to small business operations in the private sector.