Young Leaders, The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.
The Young Leaders Programme of The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago was created in 1991, though its roots date back to 1981. The aim is to help young people develop leadership skills, learn the value of working as a team and develop projects, which benefit the community.
Today, almost every secondary school in the country, as well as youth groups, vocational centres and cadet forces participate in Young Leaders. Students are given six months to complete a project under a theme.
In 1996, Young Leaders chose `The Environment: 21st Century - The Future in Our Hands'. Some of the projects undertaken included paper, glass and plastic recycling schemes, tree planting, cleaning of beaches, rivers and parks, beautifying school compounds, creating jewelry and other utility items from driftwood, paper and other waste materials, and wildlife exhibitions.
The Bank had a difficult task in choosing a winner from the many exemplary projects. The Williamsville students project, however, stood out. Inspired by the drowning of a student and his sister when the garbage-choked Guayacare River overflowed, the school decided to clear the River. The students spoke to villagers, undertook research on water pollution and tested the quality of the water. They wrote newspaper articles and produced TV programmes and posters. Signs were erected and the people signed petitions, which were presented to the Government to prevent further dumping. Systems were put in place ensuring the continuity of the project.