JIS News

As part of its continued drive to strengthen Youth Organizations, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture through the National Centre for Youth Development’s Operation Phoenix Programme, has donated cheques valued at more than $1.6 million to some 12 youth organizations to assist them with their work in various areas.
The recipient youth organizations include; the Scouts Association, the Young Men Christian Association, the Girl Guides Association, the Girls’ Brigade, the Boys Brigade, and the Young Women Christian Association.
Meanwhile beneficiaries at the parish level were the St. Thomas Association of Youth Organisations and the Old Harbour Youth Leaders Association. Also receiving donations were, the Angel United Youth Organisation, the Stanton Youth club, Frontier Progressors (St. Mary) and the Springfield Youth Council.
Operation Phoenix launched in July 2003 by Prime Minister P.J Patterson is the Government’s flagship programme for youth development and youth organizational strengthening by providing support to individual groups and helping them form umbrella organizations.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd, commenting at yesterday’s presentation (March 30) at the HEART Trust/NTA’s boardroom in Kingston, reinforced the government’s unswerving commitment to the continued development of the country’s youth. He said the action was made even more noteworthy as it “came at a time when the Government is seeking to maintain greater fiscal restraint.”
He pointed out that this ‘commitment’ has further been demonstrated in the development of several initiatives to cater to the identified needs of youth among them a Department of Youth in the Ministry and the revised National Youth Policy.
Dr. Rhodd also informed that the national strategic plan for the development of youth was under way. The revamped policy addresses issues such as: employment and entrepreneurship; youth health; education, training, care and protection; participation and empowerment and explores ways to provide young Jamaicans with opportunities to develop.
The strategic plan document will specify the plans for implementation of the Policy focusing on the priority areas for youth development, the cost of the activities and the source of funding.
Dr. Rhodd noted that the importance of youth clubs and organizations could not be sufficiently underscored as they provided a safe alternative for young men and women to develop while helping to “hone leadership skills and help in the development of (their) character.”
The State Minister pointed out that the work of these organizations and groups takes on “greater significance” in the face of the “plethora of dangers and negative influences that inundate (the) society,” and the budding drug and don subcultures, and one of the ways to combat these forces was through the work of youth organizations.
He indicated that the Ministry’s plans to establish youth organizations in every parish was being actualized and already several meetings have been held with the intention to partner with other groups of like interest.
“It is my view that we need to target every young person out there,” Minister Rhodd stated. As such, he said youth within and without the school walls are being targeted through youth leadership associations in every parish and a mobile learning centre is being designed to ensure that individuals are reached.
Meanwhile Director of the NCYD, Ohene Blake in giving an overview of the programme, pointed out that Operation Phoenix sought to address some of the problems being faced by the Country’s Youth. The Director noted that the strides made so far would not have been possible without the vision and leadership of the Education Ministry and the commitment of the Government to provide the necessary budgetary support as well as the grant support provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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