Youths to benefit from USAID-funded project


Aimed at addressing the rise of violent crimes and supporting youths to build safer, prosperous and resilient societies, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) on Tuesday launched the Youth Resilience, Inclusion and Empowerment (Y-RIE) Program.

Designed to target youths ages 10-29, the intended objectives of the program are to strengthen government-provided social services, improve learning outcomes amongst youths, improve the preparedness of youths to enter the workforce and strengthen community and family systems.

Speaking at the launch at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud said the Y-RIE Program complements and provides synergy with many of the government’s existing programs.

Dr Persaud said the government is committed to removing every barrier which prevents young people from accessing these programs that are geared at molding their future.

“We are all committed to a process where young people will be given an opportunity in every sense of the work and also through strategies that counter any escalation of violence and crime,” Dr Persaud said.

“…That is why it is important to ensure that they understand the difficulties that young people experience that are peculiar to them in this modern era with the onset of technology and the connectivity of the virtual world and also the difficulties they may experience in communities where sometimes they feel very much alone,” she added.

While noting that with their input, the country will be in safe hands for the future, Dr Persaud charged youths to be an inspiration to their peers.

The Y-RIE Program will help strengthen coordination between social services and justice institutions, particularly around referral pathways, and promote partnerships to support community crime and violence prevention efforts.

The program will focus on increasingly diverting youths away from courts and custodial sentences, supporting rehabilitation centres and diversion programs to use evidence-based diagnoses and treatment, and facilitating the reintegration of youth leaving rehabilitation facilities into their families and communities.

In her remarks, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy to Guyana, Adrienne Galanek said with the Y-RIE Program, USAID will partner with the government to improve social services provided to youths who are at a higher risk of involvement in crime and violence and in doing so, she said physio-social support will be prioritized.

Additionally, she noted that work will also be done to improve educational opportunities and access to employment for youths.

“We have heard the challenges some youth face as they mature into adults. We have discussed how young people are influenced by their peers and how they impact, for example, young man’s involvement in disruptive groups.

“We have heard of the violence in schools and in communities and in particular the troubling state of violence against women and girls….And we are working with our partners to address these challenges by actively engaging with youths and their families and working proactively with communities,” Galanek said.

Guyana is among the four countries in the Caribbean where the program was launched.

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