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Government, USAID collaborate

GIS:-The YES Project Brings Stakehoklders Together to Find Solutions to Youth Crime and Recidivism.

The United States Agency of International Development (USAID) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Saint Lucia that will govern the implementation of USAID’s Youth Empowerment Service (YES) project in Saint Lucia.

The MOU deepens an ongoing partnership between USAID and the government, and brings strategic focus to youth crime and violence prevention.

Donavan Williams, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment, Youth Development, Sports, Culture, and Local Government, signed the MOU on behalf of Saint Lucia, while USAID’s Ted Lawrence signed on behalf of the US.

“The Youth Empowerment Service project was launched in July of 2016,” Mr Lawrence said. “The focus is on trying to reduce youth crime and violence in the region. It is made up of three key components. The first component is to strengthen the use of evidence to support decision-making, where we work with partners at the national and community level to improve the collection of data. The second component is a community-focused program we’re calling the Family, Community and Youth Resilience program. It will include a broad range of programs like after school sessions and workforce development programs, and will also target the youth that are more at risk for getting involved in crime and violence. The third component is the Juvenile Justice Reform Program. We’re trying to figure out how to change the programs within detention centers recognizing that once these persons leave the detention centers, it is often difficult to transition back into their lives, and oftentimes they face the same influences that they faced before. So we will put a bigger focus on reintegration, so that we can support them with going back to school, getting jobs, and making a positive contribution to Saint Lucian society.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Donavan Williams.

“This MOU formalizes an agreement that we have had with USAID to address issues of youth crime and violence. It is really an attempt comprehensively identify some of the challenges associated with at risk groups and find holistic ways to address some of those challenges. The MOU will allow us an opportunity to put in place an appropriate response to bring together all of the stakeholders—not just the youth at risk, but also NGOs, social services, and ministries—to find a method of collaboration that will have the maximum impact on the lives of those youth at risk.”

The signing took place at the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment, Youth Development, Sports, Culture, and Local Government.

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