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Jul 30, 2015

Youth Leaders Formulate National Policy

The Department of Youth Services this week organized a three day National Executive Youth Leadership Workshop. It brought together youth leaders from different organizations across the country with one purpose – to establish one body in which all youths can speak with one united and powerful voice. Mike Rudon was there for the last day of the workshop and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The purpose of this three day session is to gather executive youth leaders from all across the country to build momentum in the creation of one united youth voice and policy through what will be called a Youth Council, recognized by government and other stakeholders in development. It’s not the first time an attempt has been made, but it is perhaps the most concerted effort to date.

 

Henry Charles

Sabreena Daly, PR, Department of Youth Services

“We asked Dr. Henry Charles who is a former Director of the Commonwealth Youth Program to come and help direct us in forming a National Youth Council that was brought about and pretty much the idea came from the National Youth Policy.”

 

Dr. Henry Charles, Moderator

“I think there’s been a bit of frustration about the fact that they’ve had processes before, because the objective is really for them to come together and form a national body that is going to give strength to the individual organizations that they belong to that is going to represent young people in a collective way, that is going to work with other stakeholders including government to advance not only the situation of young people but to play their role in the development of the country. So they’ve had some frustration about their inability in the past to have finalized it.”

 

Sabreena Daly

It’s been an intensive session because these youth leaders are serious about getting this done. They come from different groups facing different challenges, but that’s the only difference they’re willing to entertain. These leaders intend to leave here – all on the same page.

 

Sabreena Daly

“The young people were selected from the different district department so they are a bunch of people that were selected – youth leaders – and they came and they asked them the question if they thought that the National Youth council was necessary, so with Mr. Charles present here he kind of guided us in creating and developing our National Youth Council.”

 

Steven Diaz

Steven Diaz, Youth Leader

“We’ve held different discussions around different discussions that really affect young persons…like HIV is a huge issue that affects young persons, domestic violence, marginalization as a young person, so we just try to incorporate all of these discussions and we just try to see how we can have a better outcome talking to our decision makers and our leaders to realize that these are issues which are really affecting our young persons.”

 

Modesto Cano

Modesto Cano, Youth Leader

“I have been on different forums on different programs and this one is unique. This is to a higher level that we can bring up points, our challenges and our strengths, but moving from here it can give us the opportunity to bring the voice of our youths on a higher level. How can we help them in their different daily obstacles?”

 

Kyra Lambey, Youth Leader

“I’m going to tell the youths we have a voice, because being here for the three days I’ve learned that I should not be afraid to talk what I believe because I have a voice as a young lady, as a youth in Belize, and I should not be afraid to tell them what I believe. So I think I’m going to take back from the workshop that we have to talk up for what we believe in.”

 

Kyra Lambey

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“This is a group of leaders who we are hoping will go out and broaden the participation of the young people as it relates to them influencing what goes on in youth work, but also the wider Belize, and so I am very happy. I know that the potential for that is very real, and that we can have some great young leaders not only in youth work but in other areas of development for our country.”

 

Minister of Youth, Patrick Faber, says the government is serious about paving the way for the youths to speak with one voice, and for listening when they do.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber

“The fact that they’re here because of the openness and the willingness of the government to hear the young people. The youth policy is in effect…the last youth policy we had before that one was probably back in 94-95, so testimony that the government is willing to listen to our young people is in that policy and the fact that we have moved now to get expertise to organize properly the young people’s involvement in youth work, but in the development of Belize on a whole.”

 

So what happens next for this group of youth leaders, united after three days of intensive discussion?

 

Dr. Henry Charles

“They recognize the challenges, they recognize that they have to roll up their sleeves and do the work, but they also recognize that they have a responsibility and that they can do it. That is why they decided yesterday to put together a working team. They have an action plan. They know when they want to establish the Council and they know what it is they are going to be doing from here.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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