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Jun 14, 2021

Asking Young People What They Need Most: DYS Launches Nationwide Survey

The Ministry of Youth has embarked on an ambitious exercise that they say is the first of its kind. This week they officially kicked off a national survey which will help create targeted programs for Belizean young people. Andrea Polanco reports on the survey launch this morning.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

What do young people need in Belize and how can government services and programmes meet those needs? That’s what the Ministry of Youth is trying to find out. To do this, they are doing an in-person survey of one percent of the youth population – or eight thousand young people ages fourteen to twenty-nine across the country.


Kevin Cadle

Kevin Cadle, Director, Department of Youth Services

“We know that we had to get the participation and the information from young people in order to create the type of programs that young people need for the development in this country. This is history because it has never been done, and never been done on this stage to provide an informed assessment, a needs assessment, programmatic assessment for and by young people.”


The survey started last week in the Belize District and will expand to the other districts.  A look at the assessment conducted in one area of Belize City shows that youth are concerned about poverty, crime and psycho-social support services.


Kevin Bernard

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth

“We focused on employment; sports; COVID-19 livelihood and services. One of the high things that came out was counseling so far for the young people who were questioned. And it kind of sounds an alarm that young people are saying they need counseling as a highest response to that area that begs the question as to what may be affecting our young people.  We want to ensure that whatever plan we set out, we can go back to our young people and say we have listened to you; this is what we want to do and we want one more feedback and say based on our consultations we are doing these things over these time period.”


The ministry says that this is the first time a national youth needs assessment is being done in Belize. The data gathered from the survey will be analyzed and used to inform and guide the development of a youth strategy.


Kevin Cadle

“The needs assessment will guide us and inform us of the type of practice and programs that we need to put in place to harness the development and the support systems that the young people need through working with our stakeholders; and therefore, this is a very important aspect of youth in development work and changing the paradigms that we have been utilizing over the last ten years.”


Erin Gabourel is one of the seventy trained data collectors conducting this national needs assessment.


Erin Gabourel

Erin Gabourel, Data Collector

“The experience, just being out there one week, we have heard the concerns of many of our youths. Our youths are overlooked; their voices; their opinions.   It is so amazing because working with youths for thirteen years, I have seen and experience firsthand the struggles that these youths have so many times what keeps them bounded and suffering in silence is that no one reaches out to them.   So, this survey actually makes me excited to be a part because I want to be a change agent.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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