CDB launches Youth Resilience and Inclusive Social Empowerment project in Belize

On April 26, 2017, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the Government of Belize launched the Youth Resilience and Inclusive Social Empowerment (Youth RISE) Project. The Project will expand social services for approximately 3,500 children, youth and families in the communities of Dangriga and San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Belize.

In Dangriga and San Ignacio/Santa Elena, youth face many socioeconomic challenges, including the low attainment of educational qualifications, and increasing crime and violence. The Youth RISE Project aims to expand access and coverage of existing social programmes, as well as introduce pilot programmes to tackle these challenges. Young people who live in these communities will benefit from training that will focus on basic literacy and numeracy and employability skills; adaptive life skills; along with community programmes which focus on social skills.

Dr. Idamay Denny, Portfolio Manager, Social Sector Division, CDB, noted that the Project will “holistically address a number of the risk factors for crime and violence, as well as deviant and anti-social behaviours that are affecting youth and families in these Districts, with particular emphasis on San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Dangriga.

“Our youth represent the future of this Region and an investment in them represents an investment in the quality of life our countries will experience in the future,” Dr. Denny added.

The Project will be implemented by Belize’s Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation (MOHD), through the Community Rehabilitation Department (CRD) and partner agencies namely: Delille Academy, Progressive Organization of Women in Action (POWA), Belize Family Life Association (BFLA), Community Policing Unit, Department of Youth Services, Cornerstone Foundation and St. Ignatius High School.

According to Honourable Anthony Martinez, Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, “The Youth RISE project is an investment in the children, youth and families of the targeted municipalities. An investment to improve life chances, to transform lives, to help individuals to RISE above adversities and achieve success.

CDB is providing funding for the project through a grant of USD750,000, and a loan of USD984,000. Counterpart funding of USD633,000 is being provided by the Government of Belize.

The Youth RISE project is an expansion of the Youth and Community Transformation (YCT) Project, which was designed to secure the well-being and reduce the vulnerability of children and youth in poor communities in Belize City. The YCT project is also financed by CDB.