UNDP leads regional celebration of International Day of the Youth
The challenges and issues facing young people will be brought to the forefront today as the world marks International Day of the Youth.
But, most of all, the enthusiasm and accomplishments of young people will be celebrated today.
"Building a better world, partnering with the youth" is the theme of this year's celebration of a day about and for young people.
The day will also be used to highlight the challenges which still face young people, such as high levels of unemployment, a lack of educational opportunities, and being marginalised from the decision-making process.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the Caribbean, has, among others, answered the global call to action to develop and engage in partnerships with and for the youth, by creating Project Youth Innovation, also known as Youth-In.
Youth-In has its genesis in a CARICOM 2010 Youth Commission report dubbed: 'Eye on the Future: Investing in youth now for Tomorrow's Community'.
The report showed the challenges of Caribbean youth and the costs to Caribbean societies if there was no investment in youth.
"We are living in such incredibly momentous times, but young people can change the world for the better and they can do it their way once given a chance," said Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, UNDP Resident Representative.
"Youth should be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making of local, national and global levels - and this the purpose of the Youth-In project - to empower young people to be active agents of change," added Gyles-McDonnough.
The Youth-In project is multifaceted, giving young people in the region several platforms from which they can change the world in their own way.
The project has five main 'corners' - arts and culture, volunteerism, the Youth-In Think Tank, entrepreneurship and participation.
Each of these corners has several different projects that are intended to engage young Caribbean people in a variety of ways.
Coming out of the arts and culture corner already this summer, was the Spice It Up Song contest.
That competition attracted aspiring young singers and songwriters from Barbados and Grenada, who composed songs promoting disaster awareness and preparedness.
According to the UNDP, the policy of allowing young people to "talk through the arts", is to demonstrate alternative means of disseminating information in ways that can easily be digested.
Also out of Youth-In was the Youth Think Tank (YTT) of the Caribbean, which has also been in action this summer season, with three of the 14 specially selected members of the Think Tank journeying to Kingston, to participate in a Caribbean Regional Youth Leaders' Summit.
The YTT for the Caribbean was launched on May 18, at the UN House in Barbados.
It is one of the few think tanks in the world that have been created to give the young generation a voice and it is unique in its structure.
The members of this group were chosen through an open competition launched earlier this year where 14 young people were selected from 98 applicants.
Mario Rose is the representative from Jamaica on the Think Tank.
While the Youth-In project has already been active across the region for several months, the spotlight will now be on the Youth-In web portal which will go live today.
The website "www.youth-in.com" is a resource for young Caribbean people which has all of the information and news on the initiatives being pursued under the various corners and also highlights the accomplishments of positive Caribbean youth.