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Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Senator Warren Newby, has said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for inter-ministerial co-ordination between the sponsoring Ministries of the National Youth Policy will be signed shortly.
Making his contribution in the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on July 18, Senator Newby informed that the MoU will “give greater impetus to the inter-ministerial committee, which evaluates the implementation of the Policy. A Secretariat for that committee is established at the National Centre for Youth Development, as part of its monitoring and evaluation of the youth policy.”
He said that it was important for Government to clearly define its role and to strengthen the Ministries and departments related to youth, in addition to providing for inter-ministerial co-ordination, thus promoting the efficient delivery of service, in order to achieve youth empowerment.
“This alone can reduce the duplication of effort and to efficiently allocate resources to the maximum benefit of our young people,” he said.
On another matter, Senator Newby informed that the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) was being strengthened.
“It has been a time of growth and progress for the NCYD in its work in the youth development field. Additional staff has been employed, a new Youth Information Centre opened and our outreach programmes expanded. It is anticipated that the year 2008/09 will see this growth continue with new programmes being implemented to aid us in our work to better serve the needs of our Jamaican youth,” the Parliamentary Secretary said.
He noted that key areas in which work would be undertaken include strengthening work across all parishes; expanding the reach of Youth Information Centres (which) address key issues of relevance to the youth, such as entrepreneurship, literacy and HIV/AIDS, and developing youth clubs and the National Youth Council.
“The NCYD delivers its work on the ground through a network of parish-based Youth Empowerment Officers. Currently 23 officers are deployed across the island and these officers work in supporting youth clubs, undertaking outreach to unattached young people, aiding in the development of student councils in schools, disseminating information, carrying out training and empowerment sessions and operating Youth Information Centres,” the Parliamentary Secretary said.
Senator Newby further informed that recruitment was currently underway to increase the number of parish-based youth officers to 30, to ensure that all 14 parishes have two officers assigned to them. “This will enable the work they carry out to be strengthened and support provided for more young people. It is hoped that within the next two years, we will be further able to increase this complement to one per development area to better serve our nation’s youth,” he said.