KINGSTON — General Manager for Technical Services at the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Owen Sweeney, has urged graduates of the Area Youth Foundation (AYF) training programme to enhance their skills by furthering their education, to augment what they have been taught over the last 12 months.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the Thelma Rose-Campbell Auditorium, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Arnold Road, Kingston, on Friday July 1, 2011, Mr. Sweeney underscored the importance of the training the graduates received through the AYF, particularly within the context of global competition.
“What the global market demands today, is the best. It does not matter who the customer is, it can be anybody. He wants the best for his money, and that is what you have to provide to be successful,” he said.
He urged the graduates that, with the training they have received, they should look for more opportunities for additional training to enhance their ability.
“Look for ways in which you can learn from each other to be successful, and look for ways in which you can be the provider of choice. Nothing is wrong with that vision, that is what success is about,” he stated.
About 250 persons, aged 17-30 years, from five inner-city communities in the Corporate Area participated. Key areas covered included life management, violence prevention, civic skills, law abiding cultural practices, job skills preparations, entrepreneurship and ornamental aquaculture.
Participants were drawn from the Waterhouse, Parade Gardens, Grants Pen, August Town and New Haven communities.
Implemented under the Jamaica Violence Action Fund (JAVA Fund), the project was funded at a cost of approximately $20 million, from a grant from the Japanese Government. The funds were channeled through the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), with an additional $4.9 million provided by the community, and another $1.45 million from other sources.
The JAVA Fund was set up to transfer grants from the Japan Social Development Fund to competitively selected sub-projects aimed at addressing crime and violence in communities deemed high risk. Specific focus is placed on mediation and conflict resolution, social programmes for youth deemed at risk and social support services for vulnerable families in selected communities.
Mr. Sweeney said non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the AYF, which work with stakeholders in communities, depend on grant funding for the successful implementation of their programmes and activities.
She said that JSIF seeks to mobilize grants to continue to support programmes like these. She also thanked the graduates for their participation. Participants were presented with certificates, with special awards going to persons who excelled during the programme.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter