Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Youth Projects left in Limbo

Published:Thursday | January 15, 2015 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

A number of projects that were to be carried out by the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) under the National Youth Policy, intended to facilitate activities geared towards youth development, have been left in limbo.

A 2013 Auditor General's Report which The Gleaner acquired revealed that the goals outlined in the 2003 Policy were not fully realised, largely because NCYD, the oversight body, did not coordinate key directives for the implementation of the policy.

"The NCYD is not making a concerted effort, through its own initiatives or stakeholder partnerships to develop sustainable programmes targeting vulnerable groups," the report said.

It said the National Youth Policy named NCYD as the lead agency to coordinate the implementation of youth programmes. The policy mandates NCYD to recommend and design programmes particularly to enhance and propel development among vulnerable youths. The policy identified vulnerable groups under six focal areas for

priority attention, which included youths living on the streets, youths with physical and mental disabilities, youths with special needs, youths in institutional care and unattached youths.

One long-term project

"We found that the NCYD only designed and implemented one long-term youth development programme, which is Operation Phoenix. It was designed to cater for unattached youths through information centres. NCYD does not have in place any other sustainable programme specifically catering to other vulnerable groups.

"NCYD reported that programmes such as 'I Say I', 'Stop Light Bright' and 'Jamaica Youth Ambassadors' were developed for specific vulnerable groups. The 'I Say I' Youth development programme for youths in juvenile correctional facilities designed in 2012, was not fully implemented."

'Stop Light' stopped

According to the report, the 'Stop Light Bright' programme ceased one year after it was implemented in 2008 to cater to youths who engage in various activities at the stop lights. The Jamaica Youth Ambassadors programme that was developed in 2000 sought to develop youth leaders to represent the concerns of youths. This programme ceased in 2010."

The report also revealed that the NCYD did not assess the impact of Youth Information Centre (YIC) on unattached youths. They further revealed that no other evaluation or impact assessment was done for YIC after 2004.

"We observed instances in which the YICs submit this information, in their monthly reports to NCYD. However, there is no evidence that the NCYD collated and analysed the data to measure the impact of the various programmes on beneficiaries and monitor the progress of those referred to various agencies.

"As such, we were unable to determine how NCYD satisfied itself that YICs were achieving the intended objective and what data informs NCYD operational decisions,"