• JIS News

    Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, says that the Government has secured funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to build four youth information centres in towns across the country.
    Two centres will be built this year, with the other two to be constructed in the next financial year, bringing to completion the network of youth information centres in capital towns in all 14 parishes.
    The Minister, who was speaking at the launch of the Obra Youth Initiative at the Knutsford Court hotel in New Kingston yesterday (April 13), explained that the centres are aimed at providing at risk youth with space “where they can be themselves”, while ensuring that they are productively engaged.
    “They will get information on various (issues) such as on HIV/AIDS and how to prevent and address the issue of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as information on career development and employment opportunities,” Miss Grange informed.
    To supplement the information centres the Government will be looking to establish satellite youth centres mainly in the inner city and rural communities.
    “We just got a grant of $7 million to establish the first youth satellite centre and that will be (built) in the heart of West Kingston, where I know it will be greatly appreciated by the young people there,” she said.
    Minister Grange said over the next four years the Government hopes to establish 60 similar facilities, one in every constituency.
    “We’re not going to do it alone; it’s not Government that is going to go out and find the money to do it, because that would be very ambitious. What’s critical is the partnership that we have established with the private sector, community-based organisations and NGOs in order to achieve that goal,” she remarked.
    Obra Youth Initiative is a programme of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Youth Foundation (IYF), and is aimed at improving the education and employment prospects of underserved youth throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
    It comes out of a commitment by United States President Barack Obama at the 2009 Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago, to create opportunities for young people in the region.
    The two-year programme will also highlight issues concerning youth at risk and how these can be addressed.

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