Ten youth groups have been selected to receive grants of USD$10 000 each to implement their own citizen safety and security projects in crime and violence hotspots across Jamaica, with expert mentorship and oversight guaranteed.
The grants, amounting to a combined JMD$15.2 Million equivalent are being awarded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi Country Office in Jamaica under its Amplifying Youth Voice and Action (AYVA) project
The 10 successful groups chosen from a field of 70 applicants are: I-SEEED; Youth Inspiring Positive Change Ja. Ltd.; Bully ProofKids International; National Police Youth Club Council Of Jamaica; Total Health Services; Norwood Community Development Benevolent Society; The Every Mikkle Foundation; Called to Lead Jamaica; LifeYard & Jahmeyka Project; Young Women/Men of Purpose.
Announcement of the awards was made by UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio at the recent opening ceremony of Youth For Excellence’s regional Math Chattingz seminar series. Noting young people are disproportionately the targets and perpetrators of crime, she said the project was seeking to move youth inclusion beyond consultation and participation to also facilitating their innovation and leadership of solutions addressing safety and security. Ms Antonio explained that youth groups will develop customized and demand-driven solutions aligned to local priorities under a mandatory incubator programme, mentored by a coalition of stakeholders from Government, the International Development community, Civil Society, Academia and the Private Sector..
As its contribution to the incubator programme, the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean has engaged the ten youth groups in workshop sessions on the use of their Digital Project Planning tool, mentorship sessions and access to opportunities for networking and global fora such as UNESCO’s Global Youth Community or the UNESCO Youth Forum, Ms Anotnio disclosed.
The Resident Representative said that an established Civil Society Organization will facilitate the on-granting process by supporting youth groups with implementation of their projects. Expertise from UNDP and other members of the coalition will be leveraged throughout the design, implementation and monitoring of the microprojects innovated by the groups, Ms Antonio outlined. Five individuals from youth groups who complete the mandatory incubator programme or who successfully implement their grants, will be awarded internships at UNDP,” Ms Antonio announced.
In addition, UNDP is providing a US$ 29,000 grant to assess the extent to which Government & Non-governmental entities have adopted youth-centric approaches to be implemented by UNESCO Caribbean. The project will also develop knowledge products geared at improving mechanisms for youth participation in citizen safety and security decision-making processes with the participation of five young people from across the island.
Applying the same principle of mobilizing peer to peer solutions in challenges impacting youth, the UNDP Resident Representative told the math conference that a similar approach to math should be adopted in the region. “I challenge education authorities to identify, mentor and empower math-savvy young people to help other young people in math, and further, to encourage their creativity and innovation using the platforms and methods loved by young people,” she said. She further challenged young people to innovate creative means of demystifying math and to reward, amplify and replicate successes.
The Math Chattingz opening was also addressed by Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr the Hon Ralph Gonsalves who encouraged young people “to be individuals who are hungry to learn, who question things and think for themselves”. He said “above all, use what you have learned to help your family, community nation and humanity. Declaring math to be vital for the future, the Prime Minister urged students to use their skills and abilities in positive ways.
Jenine Shephard, Founder of Youths For Excellence and host of the Math Chatingz series underscored that the programme was designed to highlight the applicability of mathematics across the different industries. "No matter what you do, you need math,” she advised. The Math conference runs from May 17 to June 5.
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Contact: Gillian Scott, UNDP Communications Analyst, Kingston office, 1 -3 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5, Jamaica. Tel: 876 978 2390 – 9 Ext 2032; Mobile and WhatsApp: 876 509 0724; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org