The enactment of the projects is the climax of an Innovation Lab, held November 27 to 29, 2014, in which approximately 25 participants from 12 groups came up with ideas and solutions for crime prevention and community safety. The workshop was part of a UNDP initiative dubbed SocialINNO4Change being piloted in the twin island Federation in partnership with the Department of Youth Empowerment.
Stephen O’Malley, UNDP Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS (Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States), emphasized that the pilot project was designed to tap into the creative energy that young people possess and use them to target criminal activities.
“We sought to work with youth to develop some new ideas to reduce youth crime and violence at the community level,” said. “This theme was chosen due to the growing national and regional concern that the robust government practices had become challenged by high levels of crime, citizen insecurity, declining rule of law and challenges to human rights.”
The five groups that have been tasked with carrying out the crime prevention activities are: Brimstone Flavours with the project “Fertile Providers,” Creative Media with “Project Teenview,” Positively Inclined with “Positively Inclined Community Challenge,” SKN ACTS with “Positive Vibrations” and St. Kitts Agricultural Youth Forum with “Greenhouse Technology.”
The UNDP Representative revealed that a total of US$3,600.00 will be presented to each group for implementation. He revealed that based on the success of the projects, they would be further piloted in five countries in the region, among 25 communities.
Christopher Herbert, Acting Permanent Secretary of Youth Empowerment and Director of Information Technology thanked the UNDP for its continued training opportunities for the youth of the Federation and explained why it was necessary to seek assistance.
“Many issues have been realized that lead to a decline in moral, simultaneously an increase in criminal activity and unfortunately increases in unemployment for our youth,” Mr. Herbert noted. “We have also seen a decline in innovative contributions to national development by our youth. It was with this in mind that our department sought resources from the UNDP in this very specific methodology.”
Minister responsible for Youth Empowerment Honourable Glenn Phillip stated that he was proud of each project’s representative as well as the Youth Empowerment Department for developing initiatives that continue to positively change the lives of the Federation’s youth.
“Every single young person in this country represents a vast reservoir of potential that can manifest tangible benefits to the present and future of this county,” Minister Phillip emphasized. “What is critical, however, is that they have recognized this and are empowered to realize it. It is for that and every reason why our government has invested so heavily in improving our educational facilities, personnel, tools, practice and skills and opportunities to meet emerging demands and prepare our young people for a bright future.”
The five winning projects have targeted strategies in areas such as agriculture, the arts, media as well as rehabilitative social and skills training.