Young people in Trench Town and Tivoli Gardens in Kingston are being empowered to participate in the development of their communities, under the Inter-Agency Network Youth Development Programme (IANYDP).
The initiative, which was officially launched during a virtual ceremony on Thursday (February 4), is a collaborative effort between the Planning Institute of Jamaica Community Renewal Programme (PIOJ/CRP) and the Social Development Commission (SDC) Kingston and St. Andrew Inter-Agency Network.
It was developed as a response to the issues of lack of youth involvement in the community development process.
As such, it will strengthen and motivate youth to become more involved in community building, while providing capacity-building support to community development committees (CDC) in the targeted communities in the areas of project management and proposal writing.
The other partners in the programme are the HEART NSTA/Trust, the Northern Caribbean University’s Morris Entrepreneurship Centre, the Project Management Global Institute, and the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme.
In his remarks at the launch, Director General at the PIOJ, Dr. Wayne Henry, said that IANYDP “provides a timely intervention to give youth the opportunity to become active participants in the community development process”.
It will highlight and address issues of importance to young people, while coordinating and planning interventions that are youth-focused, he noted.
“I sincerely hope that all those who are able to benefit from this programme will fully utilise its opportunities and, in turn, become an inspiration to other youths who may be needing motivation and direction to chart a better future for themselves,” he added.
Thursday’s launch marks the successful implementation of the programme, which began in August 2020 as a pilot in the two Kingston communities.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), indicating the commitment of the participating entities to continue to work under the CRP’s Strategic Implementation Framework in the execution of other relevant programmes in the targeted communities, was also signed.
In addition, the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation donated 10 tablets, which will provide added support to the participants, particularly in carrying out their assignments.
For his part, Deputy Executive Director, SDC, Omar Frith, reminded the participants that when they have been trained and received certification “that is not just for show. [We] are giving you the opportunity to participate and define how you see development in your community and yourself as an agent of change”.
“Ultimately, it allows you to ease back from the attitude of saying, when you see a problem in your community, ‘a wah dem a guh duh bout dis?’, but rather, ‘what can we do about this’, because you are empowered,” Mr. Frith said.
So far, 20 unattached youth, aged 18 to 29, as well as executive members of CDCs, have completed six months of training in the areas of core skills, business administration, proposal writing, project management, business model canvassing, and community engagement and leadership.
The next two months will see the participants working alongside the CDCs in the development and implementation of community projects, after which they will be placed in six-month internships in the areas for which they have been trained.
The National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) has accredited the programme within its training offerings as ‘Development of Community Projects for Implementation’ and it can now be rolled out to other groups.