Aug 27, 2015 News
With the aim of furthering regional development, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has committed US$73M towards youth specific programmes.
USAID has earmarked the millions of dollars for the period of 2015 to 2019 for its Regional Corporation Youth Development programmes in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.
The announcement was made yesterday at the Pegasus Hotel’s Savannah Suite by Christopher Cushing, Mission Director of USAID’s Eastern and Southern Caribbean sector, at the organisation’s Employer Partnership Forum and Award Ceremony.
The ceremony at the time was honouring those young people who passed through the Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) project, a branch of the youth development work USAID does in Guyana.
According to Cushing, under SKYE, 2200 youths were to receive jobs skills, with over 700 subsequently finding new and better jobs. He added that the youth and employment initiative was part of the public-private partnership goals which the organisation is working towards. This approach is part of a new model in international development which USAID has been implementing.
“This model seeks to maximise strengths, experience, ideas and innovations brought to the table by various partners based on their particular skills input and resources. Through this model USAID is forging partnerships to alleviate poverty, and bring about meaningful results in changing the lives of individuals,” Cushing said.
Youth unemployment in the region ranges between to 20 to 40 percent, with most crimes being committed by youth offenders. It is for that reason, Cushing explained, that projects like SKYE are continually receiving funding from the US.
The SKYE project has four components to its programme which includes; Detention Prevention, Welcome Home, Get Ready For Work and Be Your Own Boss (BYOB).
USAID has seen many success stories within their various programmes, with over 80 youth juveniles benefiting from alternative sentencing programmes.
Meanwhile, the participants in the BYOB project, an initiative which provides young people with education, information and support to develop their own businesses, were honoured for completing the project. Approximately 20 graduates from the project received their certificates of completion with some relating stories of success.
Among those was Tashanna Frank, from Region Ten, who said the SKYE project fostered the necessary skills she needed to start her own business. Frank added that the programme has even motivated her to start a community outreach initiative as her next “short term goal”.
Karen Raphael, Youth Self Employment Manager under the BYOB programme, shared that a number of young participants have managed to open their own poultry farms, hair salons and become computer designers.
The Employer Partnership Forum also honoured public agencies such as the Ministry of Education’s Department of Culture, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Social Protection, which were integral in supporting the SKYE project.
Additionally, corporate agencies were honoured including the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), BK International, Giftland Office Max and Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) among others. Chief Executive Officer of Ming’s Products and Services, Stanley Ming, who was also honoured, delivered brief remarks which applauded the initiatives of the employer partnership initiatives.
Ming shared that his investments in the education of young people in the community his business is located, Tiger Bay, Georgetown, have benefited not only his establishment, but also provided those in the area the opportunity to improve their lives.
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