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Jamaica has made notable progress in poverty reduction and is ranked as a middle-income country. Despite its status there are more than 1 in 6 Jamaicans- overwhelmingly rural dwellers and women, who remain poor. Decline in the rate of poverty has been slowest in the Rural Areas, which in 2007 had the highest prevalence of poverty of 15.3%, compared to 6.2% in the Kingston Metropolitan Area and 4.0% in other Towns.
The Rural Youth Employment Project is the UNDP Poverty Reduction response to this acute disparity.
The Rural Youth Employment Project (RUYE) is a 3-year initiative being implemented by the Scientific Research Council (SRC) with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The project which officially started in January 2010, will end in December 2012. It specifically targets young persons in the rural parishes of Manchester, Trelawny, St. Ann and St. Thomas aiming to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged youths aged 15-29 in rural Jamaica. The project seeks to strengthen rural youths' capacity to capitalize on income generation opportunities in a sustainable manner through profitable agricultural or agro-processing enterprises.
As a part of the project's activities, one hundred and thirty-eight (138) males received training in human relations and business development and one hundred and six (106) females received training in human relations and business development. These 244 participants were among 274 youth to also receive technical training in various agricultural income generating activities: apiculture, cash crop production, greenhouse / horticulture, poultry production, goat rearing, plant nursery and agro-processing.
Already, three young men from the Golden Grove Agricultural Youth Club, Trelawny are taking steps to start processing sorrel, following their participation in a Juice Processing Workshop hosted by the Scientific Resource Council (SRC) on February 22-24, 2011.
In addition to on-going training the Rural Youth Employment Project (RUYE) will also be collaborating with the 4H Clubs of Jamaica to refurbish and equip their New Forest Training site in Sherwood, Trelawny to accommodate youth embarking on agro processing businesses. The 30+ acre spread is an active training facility for the local 4H Clubs and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) with a variety of agricultural products (crop and livestock) already existing at the location. Refurbishing and equipping the facility will greatly enhance its agro-processing capacity and provide even greater opportunities for youth.
More information available on:
(Youth Forum at the Ministry of Education, Q4, 2010 – Mandeville, Manchester)
(Apiculture training conducted by Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries- MOA&F Q3, 2010 – Grant’s Mountain, St. Ann)