A major challenge for sustainable human development is to get people to see the potential within themselves and to take responsibility for their future. It is in this regard that the Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) in Barbados exemplifies a group that has worked consistently within its own community and in others to promote ideas of self-reliance, positive self-esteem and community cohesion/togetherness, as well as a different mode of community governance.
The PCW's main tool is culture, mainly popular theatre and dance that are used to stimulate community reflection and promote togetherness. The PCW has used its cultural product, not only as a tool for education, but also as a means for generating income which enables it to be self-sustaining and to promote development in its community. The dynamic and committed leadership, operating in a flexible structure has contributed significantly to the success of the group. Through its outreach activities the PCW has impacted on the lives of the people in the Pinelands Community, and has also helped to promote concepts of sustainable community action throughout Barbados.
The highlight of each year is a major dramatic production and since its inception there has only been one year (1985) when a production was not staged. The PCW uses a popular theatre approach which is different from traditional theatre in that productions are linked to community needs and concerns. In planning the production, members talk to residents, both as individuals and in informal groups, to identify themes and issues. The cultural production is then designed around some of these concerns and through its staging reflects to the community's members issues which are important to them. In this way, the production becomes a vehicle for educating the community about major social issues including crime, racism, health, teenage pregnancies, parenting and AIDS.