Say yes to ‘YES’ US Ambassador urges at launch of $64M USD Youth Empowerment Services Programme
The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) four-year $64M USD Youth Empowerment Services (YES) project of which Guyana is a significant beneficiary was earlier today launched at the Cara Lodge, Georgetown.
Providing an overview of the YES Programme Management Specialist (Youth), Ryssa Brathwaite said the USAID, recognizing that the Eastern and Southern Caribbean is losing its human resources to “guns, graves and gangs” sought a way to have youths gainfully occupied.
Guyana, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis were recognized as priority countries which needed immediate attention. The YES programme has three components.
Component one known as CARISECURE aims to improve youth crime and violence, policy making and programming. Component Two deals with Community, family and youth resilience and its goal is to build youth resilience in response to growing levels of crime and violence and the third Component, the Juvenile Justice Reform Project, phase two deals with promoting the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth in conflict with the law, back into society.
Representative of the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) Shabnam Malik said the organization is particularly delighted to partner with USAID as they roll out the 165 Million US Dollar Five-year assistance programme, under which YES falls, since it focuses on areas such as combating climate change, HIV/AIDS and reducing crime and violence, which are of importance to UNDP.
Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence expressed gratitude for the intervention in Guyana especially since there is a high incidence of crime and violence among youths. It is this involvement in nefarious activities, Minister Lawrence noted that is hindering these youths from acquiring the requisite knowledge to enable them to find employment.
Meanwhile, United States Ambassador, Perry Holloway in his brief remarks pointed out that Guyana is a significant beneficiary under the $64 M USD four-year Caribbean Regional YES initiative, which builds on previous gains made in promoting youth development under the SKYE project.
The ambassador also proposed that a hashtag or slogan titled “say yes to YES” be utilized.
A youth participant under the SKYE project, Alieo Primo who hails from the community of Sophia, said despite the public perception that the community is only about crime and violence, he is a living testimony that positive things can happen there. The youngman is a proud owner of an internet cafe and game center and takes delight in encouraging others to choose the right path. He also assists other youths like himself offering his services in the completion of their home-work and other school-based assessments. Primo urged the youths present at the event to take advantage of the opportunities being offered under the YES initiative and strive for greatness.
YES is based on a community public health model for crime and violence prevention and will identify and analyze risk and protective factors experienced by crime-affected communities.