Basseterre, St. Kitts, (SKNIS): Five new projects are to be launched in St. Kitts and Nevis to tackle youth violence – an issue described as “an important development challenge” for the Caribbean by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The interventions are the outcome of an Innovation Lab which focussed approximately 25 participants in crafting ideas into solutions to crime prevention and community safety. The November 27 to 29 workshop was part of a UNDP initiative dubbed SocialINNO4Change being piloted in the twin island Federation in partnership with the Department of Youth Empowerment.
The five winning projects were selected from a number of submissions. Each has targeted strategies covering areas through agriculture, the arts, media as well as rehabilitative social and skills training.
“We are very excited about the scope of the projects,” explained Senior Youth Officer Pierre Liburd of the Department of Youth Empowerment. “They all have great potential to positively impact youth and their communities and we are proud of the dedication and commitment shown by the young persons who participated in the workshop.”
Participant Ervin Welsh described the experience as “wonderful and amazing.” The sessions were facilitated by persons from a Trinidad-based group called Art in Action and Welsh credited their techniques which relied more on practical strategies than theoretical. He said the value of networking was highlighted and he intends to use such to strengthen his project.
SocialINNO4Change has been fully embraced by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. Minister responsible for youth empowerment Hon. Glenn Phillip stressed: “the focus … is important to the development of a stronger and more viable society built on conflict resolution and the pursuit of lasting peace and prosperity.”
He expressed pleasure that the project taps the “vision, passion and potential of young people to communicate the need for positive action.” Minister Phillip reaffirmed government’s commitment to use every available medium to promote positive change and open the consciousness of the youth population to recognize that “life is beautiful.”
The successful participants will spend the next three weeks engaging with the Department of Youth Empowerment and other stakeholders to fine tune their proposals and finalize implementation plans. A grant of EC $8,000 will then be provided by UNDP for project execution. All projects are expected to be completed within the first half of 2015.
The SocialINNO4Change is a collaborative venture between the local Department of Youth Empowerment, UNDP Barbados and the OECS Sub-regional Office.