The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Community, Family and Youth Resilience (CFYR) program delivered four years of programing to communities in Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Guyana to prevent and reduce youth involvement in crime and violence. Local youth and caregivers, two U.S. Ambassadors, regional government representatives, youth organizations, private sector and non-governmental organizations convened on Monday to celebrate community achievements at reducing violent tendencies and empowering disadvantaged youth through the CFYR program at a virtual closing ceremony.
Funded by the United States and implemented by Creative Associates International, the CFYR program initiated in 2016, used evidence-based strategies to reduce youth violence, and contributed to a safer, more prosperous Caribbean. In Saint Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis, over 700 individuals (269 youth and their families) benefitted from family counselling to improve family relationships and reduce youth’s delinquent behavior. Following the final round of counseling, 90% of youth in St. Kitts and Nevis and 71% of youth in Saint Lucia demonstrated reduced risk of involvement in such behaviors. Over 1,300 youth participated in after-school programs, summer and Easter camps and coding and robotics training. CFYR provided workforce training to over 700 youth across the region. In Saint Lucia, 300 youth received life and work skills training and over 200 youth started new jobs following their training.
CFYR is a component of the USAID Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project. Over the last five years, the U.S. invested more than US$50 million to achieve the YES goal of reducing youth involvement in crime and violence.
U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela, applauded the efforts of CFYR program participants, which included over 15,000 youth, family members and community residents. “To the CFYR youth – your passion, perseverance, and hard work have transformed you into what you are today – leaders who can help shape a more stable and resilient future for your Caribbean communities.”
Youth played prominent roles in the program’s work, serving in leadership positions in their communities, participating in decision-making and implementing activities that made their communities safer. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, youth working along with their community groups in Saint Lucia provided support to those most vulnerable in their communities. They raised awareness among residents of the importance of wearing face masks, held online classes to teach young people to make masks, and partnered with the public and private sector to distribute food and cleaning supplies to vulnerable groups.
USAID through Creative Associates International worked closely with local governments and community organizations that will now continue the work of CFYR through program best practices. National Advisory Boards were established for government, youth, civil society, and the private sector to contribute to and sustain the achievement of CFYR program outcomes.