YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SERVICES HIGHLIGHTED AT CARIBBEAN BASIN SECURITY INITIATIVE CONFERENCE 2018 IN ST. KITTS-NEVIS

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 10, 2018 (SKNIS): The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project, which was launched in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in November 2016, was highlighted at the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) 8th Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Crime Prevention on May 10 at the St. KittsMarriott Resort.

The programme seeks to increase protective factors that build resiliency and the capacity of regional bodies, national governments and community stakeholders to identify and analyze risk factors experienced by crime-affected communities, at-risk youth, and youth in conflict with the law.

On April 30, 2018, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and USAID officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) solidifying their unwavering support for the youth of the Federation.The project had been instrumental in the undertaking of reducing crime and violence within communities and more importantly empowering young persons.

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, while delivering the featured address said that the matter of crime and violence in the Caribbean region is of significant importance and therefore it is imperative to implement plans and programmes to assist all, in particular, the young people.

 “As our young people stand on the threshold of their lives it is important that we develop our own understanding of how we can inspire and empower our young people to make the right choices and to follow the path of positive fulfillment that truly unleashes their potential and our potential as a people and as a region,” said Prime Minister Harris, while adding that discussions from the CBSI Conference will be extremely important in terms of policy formation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony for the CBSI 8th Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Crime Prevention by Focusing on At-Risk Youth and Vulnerable Populations, Christopher Cushing, Mission Director – Eastern and Southern Caribbean, said that the programme is designed to positively assist young persons throughout the region.

 “Under the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, youth aged 10-29 are being supported through positive youth development activities and after school programmes, while being given opportunities to lead projects improving their communities and addressing gender based violence, among other critical issues,” said Mr. Cushing.

The mission director noted that there are many benefits to be derived from the project.

“Under YES, over 1000 youth will benefit from an intensive family counseling programme designed to reduce risk factors associated with crime and violence. The YES project also makes Governments better able to collect, analyze and make citizen security decisions using robust data.  It continues to work with our government and civil society partners to tackle juvenile justice reform across the OECS countries,” he added.

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