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Pinelands Creative Workshop breathing new life into the Blue Economy

Pinelands Creative Workshop has launched Social Entrepreneurship for Caribbean Transformation, which is a collaborative project between the GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme the University Of The West Indies, Open Campus and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy.

Speaking at the launch of the event on Wednesday at the University of the West Indies Open Campus Minister in the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey said that the course Social Entrepreneurship for Caribbean Transformation is a historical collaboration that must be taught outside of the traditional academic spaces.

“We need to teach this course outside of UWI Open Campus as we need to start to talk to people about how to live differently. Because unless we do this all that we are doing is in vain. For me, we need to empower as many persons as we can empower with this course, we can change the world. If we do not change the world and take up that which is incumbent on our generation to take up to change the world then we do ourselves and our children a disservice. I think that Pinelands has stuck to the objective to help persons wherever they are and to deal with challenges as they evolve,” he said.

Minister Humphrey also added that he hopes that the Social Entrepreneurship for Caribbean Transformation Course develops some innovative social entrepreneurs by the end of the 10-week programme set to begin in 2022.

“I hope that at the end of this programme we have persons who are innovative and can think for themselves which is the best gift you can give to anyone. And we create the supportive framework that even if they are tested and they have some rigour, that they know that it is not meant to be offensive and that is meant as a genuine way to help them. And if we do that, we will not only create the best programme, but we will also create the best people and the best society,” he said.

Deputy Director of the UWI Open Campus Ryan Byer said the UWI Open Campus decided to become involved as they understand that resource mobilization has been a bit challenging for Non-Governmental institutions especially with the onset of COVID-19.

“The programme is one which is done under our continuing professional education which is competency-based. The concept of social entrepreneurship is one that is useful particularly for the non-governmental sector as a part of their development and transition as the whole issue of resource mobilization becomes a bit challenging as you seek to solve social problems whilst earning revenue at the end of the day. This is one that the open campus wanted to play a part of,” he said.

Due to this, the UWI Open Campus remains committed to assisting Pinelands Creative Workshop with the Social Entrepreneurship for Caribbean Transformation Course and believes that the course can be implemented regionally once the pilot is completed in Barbados.

“Social entrepreneurship falls under the over sustainable development goals as we seek to empower and improve lives throughout the world. In terms of the Open Campus’ involvement, we play a pivotal role in terms of the programme development. As an accredited institution and one that has been able to soar in the times higher education ranking, we thought that this programme once it goes through the approval and the quality process and we use Barbados as a pilot it has the ability to be taught throughout the entire region as the open campus is in 17 countries in the region. This course while started as a pilot in Barbados will now have the stretch and reach of the wider Caribbean,” Byer said.

National Coordinator of the GEF Small Grants Programme David Bynoe said that the collaboration is indeed a historic one between the partners' Pinelands Creative Workshop, GEF Small Grants Programme, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, and the Blue Economy and the UWI Open Campus.

“ The launch here represents the climax of the Social Enterprise for Eco-Tourism project, and it was a natural organic partnership between the GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, but it did not end there as the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy came on board in a very tangible way and we thank you, Minister Humphrey. Today we made history again by launching the first Social Enterprise for Caribbean Transformation Course, not only in Barbados but regionally. As you heard this is something that is piloted here but it extends regionally,” he said.

Bynoe added that if there was ever a time that social enterprise was needed it is now as many persons in Barbados are suffering.

“If there was ever a time that social enterprise is needed it is now. Not only needed in Barbados but in the Caribbean and the world, it is now because people are suffering. When we speak about the issues the resources are far less than the problems and we need civil societies on board to address these social issues. So, if there was ever a time, it is definitely now. Solving the problems requires a transformation approach and that is why this project and this course touches me deeply as it speaks to social enterprise being used as a catalyst for metamorphosis and transformation within the systems that exist,” he said.

The National Coordinator for the GEF Small Grants Programme said that Barbados has nine years to attain their sustainable development goals hence why social enterprise has a vital role to play in the attainment of the SDG goals.

“Social enterprises and NGO’s have a major role to play in addressing our socio-economic challenges that the Caribbean currently faces, and it also has a role to ensure that we can facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Bynoe gave his assurance that the GEF Small Grants Programme remains committed to ensuring that Non-Governmental organizations such as Pinelands are able to continue to address the social concerns that the country faces.

Chief Executive Officer of the Pinelands Creative Workshop Sophia Greaves- Broome said that the course would allow for a new conversation to be had about the Blue Economy.

“We are looking at the future of this programme. How can we bring about a new conversation about the Blue Economy? How can we bring about a new conversation about Non-Governmental development and sustainability? And these are the questions that we want to engage with you on. We are thinking about the future of the sector, whether it is tourism, the NGO sector across the board and this programme is for everyone and we will continue to think as we develop initiatives that speak to the wider society as well as nationally,” she said.

The programme social Entrepreneurship for Caribbean Transformation is a thirty-hour programme that will be taught virtually for 10 weeks and will cover 12 units of study which is set to begin in 2022. Students will be graded by a Social Enterprise Team Project, Three Individual Assignments and In-Class Participation for a total of 100 marks. (Write Right PR Services)

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