Tag Archives: 50/50 Youth

Jamaica Conference: Values and Attitudes in Youth Development

The UWI Mona’s celebration of Youth Month in Jamaica included the convening of the first National Youth Conference, on the 26th November, hosted by the UWI Mona Department of Government, in partnership with the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) and with support from the Institute of Caribbean Studies, the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM); the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Guardian Life.

The Organising Committee of the Jamaica National Youth Conference

The Organising Committee of the Jamaica National Youth Conference

The event was a welcome landmark in the University’s advocacy for youth development and the theme of “Preparing Youth for the Future: Promoting Values and Attitudes in Development” inspired an interesting discussion among policymakers, researchers, youth activists and secondary and tertiary students on “promoting positive values and attitudes among Jamaican youth”.

Please click here to: Download a copy of the Programme to see details of the panels and visit the website of the Centre for Leadership and Governance at the UWI Mona to learn more about the Youth in Governance and Development Programme, including the Youth Mainstreaming Strategy Development Projects in Jamaica and Belize.

50/50 Youth spent the day with participants at the conference, discussing promising and significant youth development initiatives including:

Participants in the Conference

Participants in the Conference

  • the work being done on the revision of the National Youth Policy in Jamaica;
  • Jamaican social enterprise initiatives which seek to engage youth in adopting positive values;
  • the results of a National Values and Attitudes Survey of youth bettween 14 and 26 years old;
  • the new UNFPA State of the World Population Report: “The Power of 18 Billion” 
  • and the values embraced by a group of young people who demonstrate resilience in the face of vulnerability.

On the latter issue, I served as panel chair for the session entitled: “Preparing Youth for the Future: Fostering Resilience to Overcome Odds”. In the literature on youth, resilience “involves positive adaptation under stress and the development of good outcomes despite serious threats to well-being. It refers to the capacity of youth to cope with challenges and resist risk factors. It is about supporting youth agency – the capacity of youth to resist the overwhelming influence of risk and to take responsibility for their own development – through processes that promote youth well-being and empowerment” (see UNDP. 2012. Caribbean Human Development Report, Chapter 2 ‘Reducing Youth Violence and Enhancing Youth Resilience’, pp.45-46).

The panel discussed this concept based on presentations by Dr. Anne Bailey – a visiting Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Government; and Judine Bailey, Steven Rob and Kevin Daley – students at the UWI Mona who come from vulnerable and/or volatile communities in Jamaica and are excelling in their academic careers.  All students were considered to be from disadvantaged backgrounds and were told, at various points in their childhood, that they would not or could not amount to anything. The panel began with an introduction by Dr. Bailey who spoke of increasing academic acceptance of the fact that “positive adaptation” can take place within challenging socio-economic contexts and widespread rejection of  traditionally deterministic theses of negative outcomes for those who grow up in poverty.

Then, each of the three students shared their unique life experiences of “beating the odds”. I was struck by the extent to which their stories told of common tools of resilience. The following factors played a role in building resilience against risks associated with growing up in contexts where few people could afford or had the opportunity to pursue higher education; in contexts where most parents and family members were unemployed; in contexts where communities were plagued by violence:

  • Faith in a higher power; and belief in self
  • Family/mentor support and encouragement
  • Peer support and building youth coalitions for a better life
  • Having an individual vision for a better life; and discipline to plan and implement initiatives to meet goals
  • Having a desire to excel – not just for one’s own prosperity but for the betterment of others and prosperity of community and nation

The last factor was one of the most compelling of the shared tools of resilience which emerged from the discussion. Resilience – from the technical definition above and others like it – is often considered to be an individual trait and objective. However, for Judine, Steven and Kevin and the other conference participants in the discussion, resilience was inextricably linked to the resilience of their communities and country. They were motivated to do well in order to build their capacity to help others and contribute to a more prosperous society. The discussion spoke to building coalitions among youth to change the society to enable a more resilient country and region. That’s a refreshing view on building youth resilience! So, in recognition of the agency of youth in building a resilient Jamaica, and a rejection of a reliance on others to build resilience in young people, we renamed the panel – “Youth Preparing the Future: Being Resilient in the Face of Odds”.

Minister of Youth, the Honourable Lisa Hanna with Students of Waterford High School at the Conference

Minister of Youth, the Honourable Lisa Hanna with Students of Waterford High School at the Conference

What have been your experiences of building resilience?

What are your views on the values and attitudes discourse in youth development?

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#youthpolicymatters (After Baku)

We spent three days with over 700 youth activists, academic and technical experts, legislators and policymakers from over 165 countries exchanging information on the state of youth policies. What an experience! I wish we could have provided you with the live updates during the conference as intended. However, with over 700 people connecting to a single internet access point, connectivity was challenging. However, we are glad that you can view video excerpts from the conference here: http://vimeo.com/ypforum2014 and read the Baku Commitment to Youth Policies issued at the end of the Forum.

Over the three days, participants in the First Global Forum on Youth Policies exchanged information on progress in their countries and regions with respect to:

  • The status of implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 200 and Beyond which is now 20 years old;
  • Guiding Principles for Youth Policy: Rights-based design; inclusiveness; participation; gender-responsiveness; comprehensiveness; evidence-base; full resourcing and accountability
  • Best practices in national and regional youth policy formulation and challenges in implementation in respect of an impressive array of thematic areas: education, employment and entrepreneurship, peace and security, health, participation, volunteerism, environmental protection, gender equality, justice, urbanization and housing, social inclusion, information communication and leisure.
  • Methods and approaches to securing commitments to the common denominators of a “modern” youth policy – compiling the evidence base for policy formulation; securing youth and stakeholder participation; formulating the legal frameworks and instruments; securing political leadership/commitment and mobilization of resources; securing cross-sectoral/transversal commitments to implementation across government and non-governmental stakeholders; and building effective monitoring and evaluation systems.

Some of the key debates which caught my attention (and perhaps remain unresolved) include:

  • How best do we ensure accountability for implementation of youth development priorities? By Youth Laws or by Youth Policies and Strategies?
  • What is the role of regional organisations in youth policy? Should there be a single Regional Policy or a regional action plan for coordinating national policies?
  • Youth Participation is critical at all stages of the policy process (formulation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and revision) but which are the best ways to secure effective participation?
    • For example, with respect to monitoring, are National Youth Councils the right entities to be involved? What about governments?
    • Do these organisations have the capacity, the independence and objectivity?
    • What is the role of academic institutions in the monitoring process and in supporting youth participation? 

One of the benefits of the conference was that it facilitated time for a small Caribbean Working Group to meet to discuss the implications of questions like these for the region and to discuss some next steps in advancing youth policy in the region.

Out of those discussions, new partnerships have been formed between SALISES 50/50 Youth and the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) and representatives of National Youth Councils, Ministries and Departments of Youth and other youth practitioners. We have plans to work together to build the regional capacity for youth policy analysis to ensure effective monitoring of the state of policy responses to youth development needs in the region. This will serve as a means of advocacy for national accountability for formulation and implementation of youth policies.  

We also have the endorsement of these stakeholders for our plans to celebrate Caribbean Youth Day next year on 30th September, 2015 with a special Caribbean Youth Development Conference. The conference will provide an opportunity for you to join the discussion in person and connect with some of the interesting and knowledgeable people we have been interacting with in Baku and other forums.

Stay tuned for announcements on these two new initiatives!

FYI: We have a new email address so you can connect with us at salises5050youth@gmail.com 

International Youth Day 2013

Today marks International Youth Day (IYD). The theme of this year’s commemoration is Youth Migration : Moving Development Forward. Young people represent a significant proportion of the people who move around the world. In 2010 there were 27 million international migrants aged 15-24 globally.

The situation of migrant youth will be discussed and addressed in a variety of fora today. To find out more about IYD and what may be happening in your community, please see http://www.un.org/en/events/youthday/

What has been your experience with migration within your country, within the Caribbean region or internationally?

Have you ever taken advantage of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)?

How has movement influenced the achievement of your dreams and aspirations?

Please share with us at 50/50 Youth, by commenting here on this blog.

SPOTLIGHT: New Study on Youth Political Participation

Gerardo Berthin shares a new study he has prepared on youth political participation at local levels in Latin America which has been published by the UNDP Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.

EXPLORING THE DYNAMICS OF YOUTH POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN LATIN AMERICA

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(click on the image above to download study)

This study systematizes and documents the practices and experiences of youth political
participation at the local level in four municipalities of four countries in Latin America: Cartagena in Colombia; San Carlos in Nicaragua; Alajuelita in Costa Rica; and El Cercado, in the Dominican Republic. It analyses the main trends, opportunities and challenges facing youth participation at the local level, from the perspectives of the stakeholders themselves of these 4 localities, which comprise a group of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 28.

The study shows that in respect of opportunities and challenges for youth political participation, it is equally important to focus on inputs from individuals as it is to focus on social organizations. This may be important in understanding how young people provide inputs and under what conditions. That is, it is important to analyse the virtuous circle of firstly, how and why young people perceive the openness of organizations in their context (whether political, social, international, educational or religious) to their demands, concerns, interest and participation; secondly, how this generates commitment and participation; and finally how this translates into the youth seeing their voice reflected in political processes and their results. The study supports the approach taken in the UN System Wide Action Plan on Youth (SWAP).

For more information contact gerardo.berthin@undp.org or luis.ruiz@undp.org, and visit the UNDP Regional Bureau’s Democratic Governance Knowledge and Service Platform.

Welcome to 50/50 Youth

Welcome to 50/50 Youth – the blog of the SALISES Research Cluster on Youth!

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The cluster was formed against the background of the 50/50 Project launched by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) in 2010 and which engaged Caribbean people in collective reflection on the successes and shortcomings of the past 50 years of political independence and then, consolidated those reflections during a major conference in August 2012 – the 50th anniversaries of Jamaica’s and Trinidad and Tobago’s independence – under the theme “Critical Reflections in a Time of Uncertainty”. 

See the 50/50 Project Blog here: http://thesalises5050project.blogspot.com/  

Among the recommendations for the next 50 years were proposals for enhancing youth involvement in the formulation of solutions to the region’s most pressing development challenges. SALISES acknowledged that more needed to be done to understand the challenges and opportunities which impinge on youth preparedness and empowerment to lead over the next 50 years.

In that regard, the Youth Cluster – 50/50 Youth – was formed to:

  • document current youth contributions to regional development;
  • investigate gaps in legislative, policy, socio-economic and institutional frameworks for maximising youth potential to provide leadership over the next 50 years;
  • assess the performance of youth work and youth development practice in the region, including documentation of best practices; and
  • review the implications for youth of development issues, policies, practices, recommendations raised by the 50/50 project.

Here, in this Blog space, we will sharing the outcomes of our research and outreach activities and  partnerships as we chronicle the experiences of young people in navigating the complex and dynamic environment of Caribbean environment. We hope that these contributions will encourage debate about the best ways of preparing and empowering youth for the next 50 years of Caribbean development.