Jamaica celebrates Youth Month in November. The theme of this year’s celebrations which are being coordinated by the Ministry of Youth and Culture through the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) is “Reset di Ting”.
The NCYD reports that, in a recent situation analysis of youth, Jamaican young people expressed feelings of powerlessness in relation to the challenging circumstances in which they find themselves. One participant in the research shared the following sentiments:
“…most of us are trying to find ourselves, we have no jobs, we are lost, we have no skills to deal with certain things and no forums to express ourselves, we are in a box…a jus so di ting set.” (from the Quality Survey on the Situation of Youth in Jamaica, 2012)
This Jamaican phrase – “a so di ting set” suggests a level of resignation to and acceptance of the barriers which contribute to the marginalisation and underdevelopment of youth and the lack of achievement of their dreams and aspirations . Youth want to see and experience change in relation to voicelessness, poor education and unemployment; yet they believe that they don’t have the power to contribute to these changes.
Youth Month provides an opportunity for focus on youth empowerment as a key national and regional youth development goal.All stakeholders – government, civil society and private sector organisations and international development partners have a responsibility to adhere to our commitments to promoting youth development and empowerment. For example, the six areas of commitment made in the CARICOM Youth Development Goals (CYDGs) call for our collaborative action:
- Education and Economic Empowerment: Goal 1: To enhance the quality of life and livelihood opportunities for all adolescents and youth;
- Protection, Safety and Security: Goal 2: To enable the creation of protective environments to foster resilience and ensure adolescent and youth safety and security;
- Health and Well-being: Goal 3: To improve the health and holistic well-being of adolescents and youth;
- Culture, Identity and Citizenship: Goal 4: To enhance the development and appreciation of Caribbean culture and identity and commitment to regional integration;
- Policy and Institutional Framework: Goal 5: To create the policy and institutional environment and mechanisms to support effective national and regional implementation of the CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan;
- Leadership, Participation and Governance: Goal 6: To ensure and enhance youth participation at all levels of decision-making, programme implementation and oversight.
What of the role of individuals citizens? How can we build the confidence, innovativeness and effectiveness of young people to address personal developmental challenges and community, national or regional development challenges?
What can we do in our individual spheres of influence to promote the empowerment of Caribbean youth in order to build their capacity to “reset di ting”?
When is Youth Month celebrated in your country? Please share with us what you have been doing and your plans for Youth Month.