EDC and its partners understand that Jamaican youth from at-risk communities are striving to move against an often negative tide of inequity, isolation, and stigma. There is a lack of coordinated services to address relevant youth needs. This is especially true for boys and young men from volatile communities that experience high rates of unemployment and inequitable access to certified training, work-based learning, and employment opportunities.
The goal of the USAID/Jamaica Youth Empowerment Activity is to create sustainable, positive development with and for resilient Jamaican youth and their communities to achieve their fullest potential and to support the prevention of youth crime and violence. The activity intends to support youth so they can recognize the entrepreneurial and creative assets they themselves possess that can be used in positive, participatory, and productive ways.
The project will:
- Develop a flexible youth-responsive ecosystem that supports youth resiliency and workforce development for the most underserved and stigmatized youth populations
- Increase civic education and participation of youth in their communities to strengthen transferrable soft skills and build on local assets
- Strengthen peer-to-peer social and emotional support networks for greater youth-led community-based engagement
- Improve employability skills of youth to access soft skills, work-readiness, and work-based learning and livelihoods opportunities, including in the blue, green, and orange economies
- Coordinate with existing community-based support structures for youth well-being and resilience
- Create experiences, exchanges, and communications that build youth pride, identity, and attachment to Jamaican culture and history
- 10–12 volatile and at-risk communities across the island will be supported with positive youth development resources to mitigate existing patterns of crime and violence.
- 5,000 youth will engage in civic activities that promote their agency and leadership in local development and decision-making.
- 4,000 youth and their households will see improved access to income-generating and livelihoods opportunities.
- 12–15 Jamaican partner organizations will improve their operational and technical capacities to address youth workforce development and resiliency needs and gaps.
University of West Indies, University of Technology Jamaica, RISE Life Management, Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation, Jamaica 4-H Clubs