PIOJ Community Renewal Programme Signs $15.0 Million Partnership for Roll-out of the Inter-Agency Network Youth Development Programme
Kingston, February 16, 2021
PIOJ Community Renewal Programme Signs $15.0 Million Partnership for Roll-out of the Inter-Agency Network Youth Development Programme, being piloted in Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town
On February 4, the Community Renewal Programme at the Planning Institute of Jamaica and partners, formalised a partnership to continue the roll-out of a $15.0 million, 18-month youth development programme to encourage youth involvement in community development process and to build the capacity of the community development committees.
The programme, named the Inter-Agency Network Youth Development Programme (IAN_YDP), arose from discussions within the Kingston and St Andrew Inter-Agency Network.
The Inter-Agency Network is the primary mechanism of the Community Renewal Programme, to guide coordination for the effective and efficient delivery of services to its targeted communities.
Speaking at the event launch, Tivoli Gardens participant, Ms Simone Simpson quoting USA 2021 Inauguration Poet Amanda Gorman’s poem, ‘The Hills We Climb’, said, “Let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left with.” She said that the IAN_YDP is helping young people to be equipped with skills for effective community engagement.
First cohort participant, Mr Devonte Thompson from Trench Town, said that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the programme to pause for two months and he was delighted when he got the call to return for work. Thompson said that he was tasked with recruiting youth ages 15 to 25 to establish the Trench Town Youth Council, and he deployed his newly acquired skills in administration and networking to bring youth together through a series of football matches. He experienced emotions of frustration when he started fund raising but also feelings of satisfaction when, after putting in time and effort, he exceeded his goals. Thompson said that the project allowed him to learn a lot more about his community and said that programmes like the IAN_YDP would benefit residents of inner-city communities.
At the launch, the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation donated digital tablets to the programme for shared use by the participants.
Youth development is a cross-cutting issue said the PIOJ’s Director General, Dr Wayne Henry, who said that the role of the Inter-Agency Network is to provide a common space for partner agencies to address critical issues that require intervention in communities to facilitate their transition towards renewal. He also stated that the IAN_YDP provides an opportunity for youth to engage directly by highlighting and addressing issues of importance to them, and in coordinating and planning interventions that are youth-focused.
Technical Specialist for Socio Economic Development, Ms Charmaine Brimm, said that the project started its pilot with a total of 20 youth from Trench Town and Tivoli Gardens in February 2020. This cohort underwent training in the areas of core skills, community engagement and leadership and business administration, for which 18 went on to achieve NCTVET Level 11 certification in Business Administration. A total of 15 youth also achieved passes from the Northern Caribbean University Morris Entrepreneurship Centre in proposal writing, project management and business model canvassing.
The HEART Trust NSTA provides the core readiness exposure and training to the students, which Ms Rayharna Wright, Regional Manager HEART, said is important in the 21st century. She said that the input of the HEART NSTA provides a bridge from being unemployed and unengaged to moving into a formal working space. She also stated that the agency is committed to this programme to serve the young people who need life-coping skills in order to function in society.
Following training, the HOPE Programme will provide support by placing participants in internships. National Coordinator of the programme, JDF Colonel Martin Rickman, also gave his agency’s commitment to ensure continued success of the programme.
Training in project management, proposal writing and business model canvassing is being provided by the Northern Caribbean University, through the Morris School of Entrepreneurship.
Another partner, the Project Management Global Institute is providing mentorship in Project Management. PMGI Board Member, Dr Nsombe Jaja, commended the design of the programme and said that if the results are carefully documented it can be replicated across the island and beyond.
Keynote speaker, President of the Northern Caribbean University, Dr Lincoln Edwards said that Jamaica’s youth need every advantage at this time and invited the committee to include churches, giving various examples where these groups can provide support. Dr Edwards said that UNESCO has indicated in one of its publications that, for a developing country to sustain development, 40.0 to 50.0 per cent of its population must have access to tertiary education. He stated that there is no more than 20.0 per cent access in Jamaica. To bridge this gap, he said, private educational institutions must be supported with additional resources.
The Community Renewal Programme Secretariat was established at the PIOJ to provide an effective and efficient platform for coordinating and monitoring initiatives that facilitate social transformation and economic development, strengthen governance and improve safety and access to justice in targeted communities.