JDI Undertakes Initiatives to Empower Young People

Photo: Mark Bell Executive Director of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute (JDI), Professor Neville Ying.

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Diaspora Institute (JDI) has been undertaking several initiatives aimed at empowering young people in vulnerable communities.
  • Working through the Diaspora Youth Connect (DYC) project, which was launched in 2013 in partnership with the non-profit organisation, CUSO International, the initiatives are leveraging the human and financial resources that exist within the Diaspora to strengthen the business management skills of youth.
  • “We have trained 365 persons in business development and 12 of them have their own start-up business ventures,” Professor Ying told JIS News.

The Jamaica Diaspora Institute (JDI) has been undertaking several initiatives aimed at empowering young people in vulnerable communities.

Working through the Diaspora Youth Connect (DYC) project, which was launched in 2013 in partnership with the non-profit organisation, CUSO International, the initiatives are leveraging the human and financial resources that exist within the Diaspora to strengthen the business management skills of youth.

They are also connecting young people across borders.

Executive Director of the JDI, Professor Neville Ying, says the DYC has so far worked in eight inner-city communities – six in Kingston and St. Andrew and two in St. James.

The communities include August Town, Mountain View, Trench Town, Allman Town, Fletcher’s Land, Flanker, Granville and Parade Gardens.

“We have trained 365 persons in business development and 12 of them have their own start-up business ventures,” Professor Ying told JIS News.

He also noted that some of the participants are now pursuing degree programmes and short courses at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and University of Technology (UTech). The purpose of the training is to help young people develop their ideas into income-earning activities.

Additionally, 18 persons from community-based partner organisations were empowered through ‘Training for Trainers’ sessions for Business Lab Methodology.

Professor Ying explained that CUSO International had provided 12 volunteers from the United States of America (USA) and Canada Diaspora locations to work in the communities.

The JDI Executive Director said that his organisation is also moving to get more young people in the Diaspora, especially the second, third and fourth generations, to participate in the movement.

“That’s an area where we really need to intensify our efforts, because the affinity for Jamaica is mostly with the first generation and if we don’t engage more aggressively and intensively the second and third generations, then these efforts will not be sustained,” he said.

The JDI has also worked with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and the Jamaicans Inspired Group from the UK Diaspora, to support projects of the JCDC Parish Queens. Each parish queen is responsible to initiate and deliver at least one project in their parish.

In this regard, Professor Ying said the Institute has facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the JCDC and the Jamaicans Inspired UK.

“So far, they have provided assistance for parish queens in Hanover, St. Thomas, Manchester and St. Elizabeth and this year they will be increasing the number of parishes that they get to,” he noted.

Professor Ying said the purpose of the project is to create greater links between the young people of Jamaican heritage in the UK with those in Jamaica at the parish level.

He added that the Jamaicans Inspired Group has also started an initiative called the Parish Ambassadors Programme, which will see members of the group working in different parishes before the upcoming Diaspora Conference, slated for July 23-26 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

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