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Apr 27, 2017

Youth to RISE in Dangriga

Government has secured financing from the Caribbean Development Bank to expand the Youth and Community Transformation Project to at risk communities in Dangriga, San Ignacio and Santa Elena. These communities are challenged by increasing crime and violence, anti-social behavior and limited access to social services. The new project called Youth RISE is funded through a grant of seven hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars from the C.D.B. and a loan of nine hundred and eighty-four thousand U.S. dollars. The Government of Belize provided counterpart financing of six hundred and thirty-three thousand U.S. dollars as well.  On Wednesday, the project was officially opened in Dangriga Town.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco has the story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Youth Rise is a project targeting at risk youths in the towns of Dangriga, San Ignacio and Santa Elena. Over two point three million US dollars, by way of a grant and loan from the Caribbean Development Bank and part funding from the Government, will be invested over a three-year period in the three municipalities. Implementing skills training and employment opportunities, Youth Rise will target those most vulnerable to crime and violence.

 

Sherice Ferguson

Sherice Ferguson, Project Coordinator, Youth Rise

“To work with youth at risk and families and by extension communities; to build resilience by providing skills training, basic numeracy and literacy, life skills and provide greater opportunities for job employment training.”

 

Frank Mena

Frank Mena, Area Rep, Dangriga

“It cannot be taken for granted. It might look like dah somebody money from somewhere but let us use that money to make a difference. I am glad that this intervention looks at regaining consciousness of yourself; emphasizing the role of family; emphasizing the role that we all play in our successes.”

 

Data in 2013-2014 showed that the highest level of crime – fifty percent – was committed in Belize City, but was followed by twenty-two percent and eleven percent in Cayo and Stann Creek Districts, respectively. This project aims to target risk factors such as high poverty rates, youth unemployment and gender-based violence in Cayo and Stann Creek.

 

Idamay Denny

Dr. Idamay Denny, Portfolio Manager, Social Sector Division, CDB,

“A range of nuanced and complex issues continue to affect households in Belize. And not only in the urban corridor, they now also exist in previously stable rural locations like this one, as well. These issues which are not unique to Belize are negatively impacting the safety and security of residents; threatening the well-being of the affected populations; compromising the life chances of youth and their families and retarding the development prospects for those most vulnerable and at risk in the affected communities.  The project will identify those vulnerable children, youth and families who are at risk of being either perpetrators and victims of crime, provide the necessary range of care, highlight the importance of minimizing the risk factors in the environment of the project beneficiaries and inform the wider planning that affects the lives of beneficiaries and others who may suffer similar vulnerabilities and provide clear pathways that support the diversion of young people from crime and violence and enable them to make positive contributions to their communities and the wider society.”

 

The project will be executed by the Ministry of Human Development, in partnership with community N.G.O.s and social agencies. This initiative is expected to reach three thousand children and youth, each to produce social and economic benefits, particularly within the three municipalities.

 

Sherice Ferguson

“We expect to target about one thousand six hundred persons in each municipality; San Ignacio, Santa Elena and Dangriga Town. Some of the outcomes that we expect is an increase in the number for persons, for example, from Delille Academy graduate and are able to have their highs school diploma and certification with the partnership that we create will continue with the ITVET. We hope to make an impact on the number of persons, or reduce the number of persons involved in crime and violence or committing some of the crimes that have been in the statistics so far. We also want to increase the number of families and offering of pre- literacy programmes and encouraging early childhood development. And also the other social protection programs that have been concentrated in Belize City like the Boost Plus, to also increase the numbers of persons that have access to that in both municipalities.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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