Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 27, 2019 (SKNIS): Efforts to raise the awareness of the St. Kitts and Nevis Federal Youth Policy 2017-2022 among stakeholders and strengthen its effectiveness were explored at a three-day workshop held from June 24 to 26, 2019, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
The “Capacity Building Workshop on Youth Development and Youth Policy Implementation” training was organized by the Department of Youth Empowerment (DYE) with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat. More than 30 participants including staff from the DYE, Ministry of Education, Department of Community Affairs, and the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF), along with representatives of youth groups, faith-based institutions, sporting associations and others attended.
The sessions were mainly facilitated by Layne Robinson, Head of Social Policy Development, and Stephen Sowa, Assistant Programme Officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat. Mr. Sowa said that the workshop was designed to build on the participants’ current understanding of youth work, and develop the capacity of the individuals as well as their respective organizations.
“It’s been really interesting because we’ve had a diverse range of stakeholders,” Mr. Sowa said, noting that each had varying experience in different areas. “It’s been a challenge in some ways to have them working together because they have a range of different tasks to cover including youth work, youth development, youth policy implementation, and youth mainstreaming. These are broad topics but it’s been great to see how they all came together and addressed these different topics using their own expertise.”
Juevelle Pemberton joined the DYE as a Youth Officer in March. She noted that the workshop was an eye opener.
“It was very thorough and informative for someone like me who’s new,” she stated. “It really called for introspection as to why we are here in the first place [that is] doing youth work and ways we can improve ourselves.”
Another participant Glenfield Boddie of the Rising Stars Community Brigade said that he was impressed with the robust protections outlined in the Federal Youth Policy 2017-2022.
“There is so much in the policy to protect youth that they don’t know about and I think that the government and youth organizations need to do more social media to give the youngsters greater awareness of the policy and their rights. They have a voice to speak,” he stated.
Sergeant Consie Rogers, Head of the Special Victims Unit in the RSCNPF, indicated that she will make greater use of the Federal Youth Policy and try to steer children that she comes into contact with towards positive youth activities and partner agencies that she learnt about while attending the workshop.
DYE officials expressed appreciation to the Commonwealth Secretariat and other partner agencies that made the training a success. There are plans to continue engaging with stakeholders to expand the reach and impact of the Federal Youth Policy. A similar session will be held in Nevis in October 2019.