Sun | May 19, 2019

Young Jamaicans benefitting from Poverty Reduction Project

Published:Friday | January 11, 2019 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska (second right), head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, and Dr Bernd von Muenchow-Pohl (right), ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Jamaica, chat with Poverty Reduction Project beneficiary Andrew Hinds (second left) and Auto Gay Rowe at the European Union Forum for Solutions for Youth Unemployment, Internship, and Volunteerism at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, The University of the West Indies, yesterday.

Three hundred young people have benefited from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund Poverty Reduction Project (JSIF-PRP) tertiary and vocational scholarships programme since its implementation in 2015.

Managing Director of the JSIF Omar Sweeney, while speaking at the European Union Forum for Solutions for Youth Unemployment, Internship, and Volunteerism at the Mona Visitors' Lodge, The University of the West Indies, yesterday, said that under the project, the JSIF had invested approximately $82 million.

"Beneficiaries were given an opportunity to secure scholarships in several core disciplines spanning 24 institutions across Jamaica. This engagement of our youth clearly symbolises JSIF's continuous commitment to youth development," said Sweeney.

The PRP is jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and the European Union and aims to improve standards of living in communities that suffer from volatile conditions and persistent poverty.

Head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska said the results from scholarship recipients were very encouraging.

"We have seen very good outcomes. The 2016 cohort of 98 tertiary scholarship awardees return high levels of completion and advancement rates. Eighty-nine or 91 per cent completed the year of study and passed the required number of courses. We are giving young people an opportunity, and it's delivering very high returns," said Wasilewska.

In 2017, the youth unemployment rate in Jamaica was recorded at 28 per cent, which more than doubled the national rate at 11.7 per cent. The youth forum was being held under the theme 'Bridging the Gap: Solutions for Youth Unemployment'.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Senator Floyd Green said that it was important for youth scholarship and internship recipients to share their experiences and views about the value of education and prospects for employment.

"In 2017, Cabinet approved the final draft of the National Youth Policy by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, to be tabled in Parliament as a White Paper. The policy establishes a framework within which youth can be supported to pursue and achieve their goals," said Green.

"It outlines and explores areas for action and indicates six priority areas - education and training, health and well-being, employment and entrepreneurship, youth participation, social inclusion and reintegration, and institutional and youth-sector arrangements."

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com