The United States Launches Three New Programs to Benefit Grenada’s Youth
On March 23, as part of its Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the U.S. Government launched three new programs in Grenada.
The programs, funded through the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) over the next five years, will advance citizen security in the region. The programs – Youth Resilience, Inclusion, and Empowerment (Y-RIE); Strengthening Evidence Based Decision Making for Citizen Security 2.0 (CariSECURE 2.0); and Opportunities to Advance and Support Youth for Success (OASYS) – will support national programs to create a safer, more prosperous, and resilient Caribbean region.
In a keynote address at the launch, delivered in the Prime Minister’s absence by Permanent Secretary Carlyn McQuilkin, lauded the programs which will provide a framework for youth to be their best selves.
The Prime Minister thanked the U. S. Government for their support noting, “The Government of Grenada, notwithstanding its limited resources, remains committed to targeted efforts that empower and equip our young people to achieve their full potential. To this end we are extremely grateful for the support of development partners such as USAID, UNDP and the OECS Commission, who continue to strengthen our efforts through collaborative initiatives that align with national priorities.”
Reaffirming the U.S. Government’s shared goals and strong partnership with the government of Grenada, Ambassador Linda S. Taglialatela said, “The empowerment of Grenada’s young people is key to the continued development of this country and of the entire Caribbean. These USAID programs will focus on young people who are most at risk, and meaningfully engage them at all stages of the program. This approach will empower young people to discover and uncover their many abilities and assets.”
In his remarks, Minister for Social and Community Development, Hon. Philip Telesford, underscored his Ministry’s commitment “…to working alongside and with everyone in our youth ecology, our education and judiciary systems, parents, families, communities and our regional and international counterparts, to ensure that our youth succeed and make successful transition into adulthood. As a nation, it is important for us to raise strong, resilient children who can make a difference in their own lives, and that of their families”.
Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Ron Redhead championed the support that USAID is providing, highlighting that “…interventions for our at-risk youth must take a microscopic look at the problems, rather than just glossing over them. We must be clinical and precise if we are to solve these problems. That is why we are confident that if the Y-RIE Program succeeds it will enhance our ability to intervene, investigate and identify the real issues of our at-risk youth and solve them. Minister Redhead added “As the Honourable Prime Minister said ‘No-one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves’. Therefore, there is no better way to demonstrate this thinking than through this strategic partnership…testing our capacity over the next few years.”
The new USAID programs were designed based on a key principle of positive youth development, an approach that recognizes and leverages youth’s assets as a foundation for creating safer communities. In a compelling testimonial, Adam Williams, a prior beneficiary of the Juvenile Justice Reform Project, shared his views on how he has benefitted from past USAID assistance. He urged all stakeholders to build more programs that provide support to young people to help them make a life and make a living.
About the programs
The Y-RIE Program, implemented by DAI Global, will partner with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and other government partners to strengthen government-provided social services by addressing service accessibility and the capability of service providers. Y-RIE will also improve the learning outcomes for youth, prepare them for workforce opportunities, facilitate youth connection to professional development opportunities, and will work in communities to strengthen community and family systems that play a critical role in the lives of vulnerable youth.
CariSECURE 2.0, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, and working in partnership with the Ministry of Social and Community Development, will provide resources and technical assistance to build the capacity of youth-serving institutions to collect and analyze timely, reliable and standardized data that can be disaggregated to support youth crime prevention and response.
OASYS, implemented by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission, and working in close partnership with the Ministry of National Security, will focus on increasing diversion of youth away from custodial sentences where appropriate, supporting the use of evidence-based diagnoses and treatment in rehabilitation and diversion, and facilitating the reintegration of youth into society after leaving rehabilitation facilities.