The National Youth Council (NYC) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has launched an initiative geared toward crime prevention within communities around the island. Called SocialInnov4Change, the initiative was introduced by the UNDP on August 12, 2015 in celebration of International Youth Day. This was followed by a call for proposals focused on bringing young people together to find solutions to social problems and challenges within communities in Saint Lucia.
Present at the launch ceremony on Wednesday October 14, were community youth leaders, students and specially invited guests. Sean Edward, Minister of Youth Development and Sports was one of the guest speakers at the ceremony which was held at the Pastoral Centre in Marisule.
Jeanine Chase is the Project Co-Coordinator for Youth & Citizen Security with the UNP Barbados and the OECS Office. “This is a project that the UNDP Barbados and the OECS Office launched . . . whereby we try to encourage youth of Saint Lucia between the ages of 16 to 35 to be more involved in coming up with solutions into mitigating challenges and in particular, trying to resolve the situation with crime and violence,” Chase said. She continued, “Over the next three days we will be having something called an ‘innovation lab’, in which all of the young persons represented in the room, will develop 15 project ideas to reduce crime and violence in one of the communities in St. Lucia.
There were about forty young people present.
Participants would then go before a panel of five judges with the opportunity to win US$2,000 to implement the solutions within the next few months in one of the communities. The selection process would based on ‘call for ideas’, use of social media, youth organizations and e-mail blasts to encourage young Saint Lucians to submit proposals.
Following the brief ceremony on Wednesday, minister Edward told the STAR, “This is an excellent initiative on the part of the UNDP. Citizens’ security has become a topical issue, not just in the Caribbean but also throughout the world, and what it entails and encompasses is more than crime prevention but all the things which can pose a threat to democracy and the co-existence of people in communities.”
He went on: “At the centre of it is crime prevention. I do not believe that the responsibility to ameliorate this situation lies solely with the government. There is no running away from it, and no doubt that the government has a lead role to play, but we have recognized that we must partner with quite a few of our social partners.
“There must be stronger collaboration even amongst government agencies and we must be able to forge partnerships within, with community-based organisations, NGOs and other national based organisations and even find ways to reach the unattached young persons in society,” the Minister said.