YOUTH IS EVERYONE, SAYS COMMONWEALTH YOUTH CONSULTANT

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 14, 2016 (SKNIS): Dwynette Eversley, Commonwealth Youth Consultant and Youth Policy Expert on assignment to St. Kitts and Nevis, has sought to expound on a working definition for youth as outlined in youth policies, particularly the Federal Youth Policy Initiative 2017-2022, while appearing on “Working for You” on Wednesday, (November 09).

“When we define a youth policy, we are speaking of everyone. Youth is not a sector and youth development is not confined to any one sector of macro-national development,” said the Commonwealth youth consultant. “Youth lives are impacted in all sectors. This policy is being used as the official working document for the elaboration of a new policy and the concept of who is a youth is very exciting. The Federal official working draft has proposed as youth, a population from 0-35 and within that context they have identified special target groups that may need particular focus or investments.”

Such target groups as she stated include young men and women, rural youth, youth with disabilities, unemployed youth, school aged youth living in poverty from extreme situations of poverty and youth in conflict with the law, just to name a few.

Ms. Eversley touched briefly on the issue of youth development, noting that it is recognized as a period of life when an individual is “coming into his or her own”.

“He or she is developing a sense of independence and individuality seeking, after realizing where he or she wants to go,” she said. “It is also a matter of a lot of physiological change, and age is usually ascribed to that. In re-interrogating the 0-35 age group as listed in the policy, in the context of what youth age is – helping persons who have attained a certain level of knowledge, a certain quest for independence and needs support perhaps to navigate some issues in life – that is youth.”

She noted however, that persons think that the age group of 0-35 for a youth policy is too wide.

“There is a thinking that the age of youth for the Federal Youth Policy should be 12-29 and that articulates precisely with what the CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan has indicated as the age for youth because they want to look at early adolescence all the way to adulthood,” she said.

In 2007, CARICOM Heads of Government established a Commission on Youth Development to “undertake a full scale analysis of the challenges and opportunities for youth in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and make recommendations to improve their well-being and empowerment”.

The CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP) is a holistic and multi-sectoral institutional framework for national policy, integrated planning and action. The CYDAP operationalises the Declaration of Paramaribo on the Future of Youth in the Caribbean Community, complements the implementation of the CSME and supports mainstreamed adolescent and youth well-being and empowerment.

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