Vincentian youth leaders trained in Belize
October 14, 2016
Vincentian youth leaders trained in Belize

The Fourth Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit convened in Belize from September 26 to 30 under the theme, “Agenda 2030 – Framing Caribbean Youth Development: From Rhetoric to Action.”

Coordinated by the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CYRC), in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), 50/50 Youth Cluster, the Government of Belize, the CARICOM Secretariat and the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Summit saw participation from youths from 21 countries across the region.{{more}} Two Vincentian youth leaders have deemed the Summit a success.

Franz George, coordinator for St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), St Lucia and Dominica on the Commonwealth Youth Council’s Caribbean and Americas standing committee, considered the sessions to be informative and helpful in mapping the way forward for youths in the region. George, who participated in the Youth Participation Index research that was done in Mexico to gauge the various issues encountered by youths and ways of influencing youth participation, is hopeful that the CYRC’s mandate to “ensure that youths participate in civil and social activities and for them to be main drivers in creating solutions” can be met, if funding is made available. George noted that “at the end of the day, we hope to fulfill our mandate in getting youths to be more involved – and to becoming leaders.”

CARICOM (Female) Youth Ambassador for SVG, Chelcia Ferdinand, also deemed the Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit to be a success and a driving force for youth work and development for St Vincent and the Grenadines. Ferdinand, who benefitted from sessions on peacebuilding, strategic advocacy, youth entrepreneurship and public policy development, vows to share her experiences with other local youth organizations, as a continued initiative by the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors to build partnerships among youth leaders. She further stated that “with strategic and meaningful partnerships among youth, and with a better understanding of the issues facing youth through an evidence-based approach, the future can be better shaped for a more favourable outcome.”

The six-day summit garnered between 110 to 150 participants, who were engaged in discussion on various issues, including youth development statistics and global indicators, evidence-based approach to youth development policy, youth participation index, youth economic citizenship, strategic planning, partnership and results. Other sessions included youth involvement in peacebuilding in communities, youth social inclusion and a Youth Think Tank.