IDB urges local thinkers to Unfollow

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Above: Carina Cockburn, Principal Operations Specialist and and Tomas Bermudez, Country representative of the IDB during the launch presentation. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

At the launch of the IDB’s new country campaign today at its Alexandra Street head office, the prestigious bank offered its guests a head fake, better known in T&T as a meggie.

The space that looked like the meeting area wasn’t, and we were led to a room that seemed more appropriate for clubbing, with bright red lights and a gliding spotlight.

Tomas Bermudez, Country Representative of the IDB explained: “The point of that exercise was to illustrate that sometimes to get where we need to go, we must see and do things differently.”

The IDB is celebrating 50 years of partnering for development in Trinidad and Tobago and is launching its country strategy for the next four years which will be led by The Unfollow Campaign, a year long effort to engage with sectors of Trinidad and Tobago which aren’t usually represented in nation-scale development efforts.

The IDB team pose in front of the new banner outside their St Clair head office. Photo by Mark Lyndersay. Click to enlarge.

That deliberately disorienting room was meant, perhaps, to reflect a new position that welcomes new, younger strategic partners.
This weekend, the campaign kicks off in earnest with a new edition of Startup Weekend and will be followed up with a travelling “Unfollow Room,” a booth where participants can record a 30-second video statement of their ideas for change.

The campaign will also include a NextGen Board, an as yet unannounced group of young professionals who will guide the development of idea pitches.
“The strategy focuses on three main areas,” said Bermudez, “strengthening public sector institutions and governance; promoting private sector development; and fostering human development.”

The Unfollow Campaign introduces a country strategy that broadly acknowledges the T&T 2030 strategic plan, but which hopes to make room for fresh thinking from entrepreneurial voices that don’t always have a chance to be heard.

“In an age where the norm is going with the flow and settling to do things the way they’re usually done, the IDB is challenging this way of thinking and we’re asking people to do the same by doing things differently.”
The IDB is actively courting partnerships with local groups and NGOs who wish to contribute to national development.