Nevis Recieves Top Marks For CYA Initiatives

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis (June 19, 2007)

A recent report from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat rates St. Kitts and Nevis as the best in implementing initiatives of its youth ambassador programme.

In a June 2007 official review and assessment of the PANCAP/CARICOM Mini-Grant Programme, St. Kitts and Nevis distinguished itself by having the best overall implementation in the region.

The Mini-Grant Programme (MGP) is administered by CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYA) and seeks to sensitise persons about HIV/AIDS-related issues, while challenging young persons to develop projects to reduce the transmission of the pandemic and the associated stigma and discrimination of persons infected and affected by the disease. The MGP launched in St. Lucia in 2005 and is also being implemented in the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Outgoing female CYA Khalea Robinson told SKNIS that she was proud to have the Federation achieve top status.

“It is a wonderful feeling, she said. “I think that the project has been enormously successful and I’m very grateful for that. It is a wonderful note for me to end my tenure as CYA on.”CARICOM’s assessment specifically addressed the contributions of Ms. Robinson, in the implementation of the “Taking on the Challenge ““ East Basseterre Project”.  This project was described in the report as having “shown the way for overall project implementation in the MGP” with “Ms. Robinson guiding the project for which she was responsible through each step of the process.”

Taking on the Challenge was a collaborative initiative lead by the Washington Archibald High School Young Leaders (WAHSYL), in alliance with Youth Impact Ministries and the St. Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKANYPA).  Project coordinator Lenrick Lake and Young Leaders President Ericka Simmonds impressed the CARICOM assessment team by “creating a financial mechanism at the outset that guaranteed fiscal accountability during the implementation process.”

A centerpiece of the project was a professionally rendered, AIDS-awareness comic book aimed at youth. It was designed by local artist Travis Liburd.  The project highlights also included East Basseterre sporting events and a day fair to heighten awareness of the pandemic’s causes and consequences.

The other project undertaken in St. Kitts and Nevis targeted the Saddlers community. Male CYA Jolanie Johnson oversaw the project which was initiated by the Saddlers Cooperative Interest Group in association with the Leo’s Club and Rotaract. It used basketball related activities to “dunk” the HIV/AIDS message home.

Although implementation of mini-grant projects stand at various stages throughout the region, CARICOM reports that there was only one member state where all activities have been completed ““ St. Kitts and Nevis.

Ms. Robinson gave special thanks to the Department of Youth describing its contributions as extremely supportive. Members of the local Technical Working Group, as well as individuals including former CYA Pierre Liburd and Terry Morris were also cited for assisting the successful local implementation of the regional initiative.  Ms. Robinson described the guidance and support of the CARICOM Secretariat’s Youth Desk as invaluable to the programme success and credited SKNIS for keeping the populace informed throughout the process.

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