Two hundred at-risk youth from communities across the parish of Clarendon are to benefit through a new crime-prevention initiative – the Clarendon Collaborative Action Project.
The initiative is a new approach to crime prevention that utilises several integrated social strategies to address deviant and antisocial behaviours among youth and empower them to become productive members of society.
The project will feature a business incubator programme, a mentorship programme, a training and support programme for parents, an advocacy programme to promote adherence to the rule of law, and a school reintegration programme.
An official grant-signing ceremony for the project was held virtually on Tuesday (August 25).
Five Clarendon-based organisations are benefiting from a combined total of $28 million in grant funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the North Carolina-based non-profit human development organisation, FHI 360, under its Local Partner Development (LPD) project.
They are Clarendon Parish Development Committee, Free Town Church of God of Prophesy Outreach Foundation, Lionel Town Development Area Benevolent Society, May Pen Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Nissi Youth Empowerment Centre.
In his remarks during the ceremony, Mayor of May Pen and Chairman of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation, Councillor Winston Maragh, commended the various stakeholders for “leading the charge” in the conceptualisation and implementation of the project.
“It is the mandate of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation to guide and support the social development of the parish, and one of the ways of doing so is by putting in place mechanisms to reduce the existing crime rate in the parish, particularly as it relates to our young people.
This shows that the Government is not alone in the fight against crime,” Mayor Maragh said.
For his part, Country Representative, USAID, Jason Fraser, said the United States Government remains committed to working closely with its partners to ensure that vulnerable youth do not succumb to the allure of crime and violence but to, instead, reach their full potential.
“This is important not only for the target group but also for Jamaica in terms of economic empowerment, development and to achieve Vision 2030,” he added.
The initiative forms part of the LPD’s mandate to build the capacity of Jamaican institutions to become more effective in advancing collaborative evidence-based youth crime- and violence-prevention strategies.
LPD is a six-year activity funded by the USAID through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) and FHI 360.