Fri | Aug 12, 2022

USAID awards $75 million in grants to improve parenting skills, economic opportunities

Published:Saturday | July 2, 2022 | 12:07 AM
USAID Positive Pathways grant recipients accept their awards at the Implementing Partners’ Day activity on June 23.
USAID Positive Pathways grant recipients accept their awards at the Implementing Partners’ Day activity on June 23.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says it has awarded four grants, under its Positive Pathways Activity, to local organisations to execute yearlong projects offering training and support for improved parenting skills and increased economic opportunities for families in 12 inner-city communities.

The awardees for the grants totalling $75 million were announced at the agency’s Implementing Partners’ Day on June 23 held at the AC Hotel in Kingston. Recipients of the Parenting Cluster Grant include the Children First Agency, the Clarendon Parish Development Committee Benevolent Society, and the Joy Town Community Development Foundation.

USAID said the organisations will implement projects aimed at improving parent-child relationships through sessions on skills-building, communications, and parenting styles. The projects will also provide psychosocial support in the form of counselling, as necessary within nine target communities in Clarendon, St Catherine and Kingston and St Andrew.

It said the fourth organisation, the LASCO Chin Foundation, will implement an economic opportunities cluster under its Economic Empowerment Programme aimed at strengthening economic skills, resources, and opportunities among families in all nine aforementioned communities, plus Salt Spring, Norwood and Flanker in St James.

According to acting country representative for USAID, Alex Gainer: “Together, these grants will reach over 1,200 parents and caregivers, including parents who are also at-risk youth. More specifically, these grants will provide training in how to better increase, safeguard and utilise family economic assets; help parents and caregivers develop skills that will enable them to improve their relationships with their children and better guide them through life challenges; train youth leaders to support and continue family-assets and parenting skills activities in the future; and support upcoming parenting resilience and resource fairs in the Positive Pathways target communities”.

Chief technical director in the Ministry of National Security (MNS), Shauna Trowers, added: “MNS will continue to partner with USAID. We are convicted to have positive working relationships with every single person who helps stem the violence that our society has. When we talk about partnerships, we look at targeting communities, building community and family resilience to reduce youth crime and violence …. We recognise and applaud [USAID] as they seek to create pathways, not just for the parents and the caregivers, but for the youth. So, the MNS is excited about the grants being given out today.”

Speaking on behalf of all the grant recipients, the LASCO Chin Foundation’s Paul Irving thanked USAID for its continuous support for community development. “Our work here is what will stand out and make a difference in what is happening and, through this grant, we can reach more persons,” he said.

USAID, as part of its five-year Positive Pathways Activity, has issued 26 grants to local organisations over the past 11 months for works geared towards reducing youth involvement in crime and violence and building the resilience of families in 12 target communities across Jamaica.