Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 17, 2007
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Youth Ambassador programme has charted the way forward for the next three years after a December 11 to 13 strategic planning and evaluation workshop held in Nassau, Bahamas, under the theme Lessons of the Past: Building blocks for the future.
Over 30 delegates including twenty-two youth ambassadors, youth officers, and facilitators attended the meeting at the Wydham Nassau Resort, to engage in a comprehensive assessment of both the qualitative and quantitative achievements of the youth programme for the past three years and to develop the framework for a new Strategic Development Plan for 2008-2010.
The tone of the meeting was set at the Opening Ceremony, by Honourable S. Byran Woodside, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of The Bahamas, who acknowledged the Youth as “the most valuable resource and asset of the Caribbean region,” and added that “the voice of the youth has been recognized as an important dynamic in the evolution of regional strategies in youth involvement.”“Young people are viewed “¦as catalysts of the development potential of the Caribbean. The participation of young people throughout the Region therefore, continues to be critical in the discourse on unity amongst Caribbean countries,” the Minister opined.
Minister Woodside commended the CYAs for what he said was the excellent work they had done in implementing the PANCAP/ CARICOM Youth Ambassadors’ Mini Grant Programme against HIV and AIDS. He also commended them for leading the Region in the first private sector partnership for youth development, which was given expression in the signing on October 10, of a Memorandum of Agreement between Suriname’s Telecommunications service provider, Telesur and the CARICOM Secretariat, to promote youth development.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ CYA Ian Richards said the meeting was extremely productive and served to reenergize the body as they continue to serve youth in their respective territories and advocate issues on the regional level. He credited facilitators Armstrong Alexis, former Regional Director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme and Henry Mangal, Director of Youth, St. Lucia for the critical review of the CYAP and noted that the reforms considered will serve to strengthen the effectiveness of the body.
Dr. Heather Johnson, Deputy Programme Manager, Community Development and Youth, noted that the outcomes of the meeting would be shared with the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development.
The CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme is a mechanism for leadership development and youth participation. Youth ambassadors, appointed annually, serve as focal points for deepening the regional integration and development process through advocacy and peer education initiatives.