Youth at CARYFED informed about aspects of CDB work

The participants of the most recent Youth Forum on Environment and Development (CARYFED) were provided with information on the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) work in facilitating gender mainstreaming and in promoting citizen security as critical elements in poverty reduction.

Social Analyst at CDB, Elbert Ellis, highlighted the objectives of the Bank’s Gender Equality Policy and Operational Strategy (GEPOS), and the interventions that the Bank supports under its Citizen Security Strategy while addressing the closing ceremony of CARYFED in Barbados on August 15, 2015.

On the subject of gender mainstreaming, Ellis encouraged participants to recognise the importance of gender to achieving sustainable development of the Region. 

“To do otherwise would continue a process that has for centuries, denied Caribbean society the opportunity to derive greater benefit from the collective human, social and economic capital of its men and women.  

“It is as a result of recognising this and related disparities that CDB developed GEPOS to inter alia, promote gender equality and empowerment through partnership between women and men, and to promote gender equality as a means to support sustainable development and reduce poverty and vulnerability” Ellis said.

Another concern raised by Ellis is the issue of the underachievement of boys and young men in the education system and their over-representation in unemployment and crime and violence statistics. 

And he stated that there must be sustained efforts to develop strategies that aim to keep males in school and sufficiently engaged to pursue activities that will improve academic and technical certification, enhance their educational achievement and income-earning potential in the labour market.

The Social Analyst noted that the high dropout rate for boys, in recent times, has had significant implications for their involvement in anti-social activities, gang and illicit drug activities, which, in addition to crime and violence has exacerbated issues of citizen security. 

He said the fact that these activities all have implications for poverty reduction, the mandate of CDB, was one of the reasons the Bank developed its citizen security strategy to focus on the preventative aspects of crime and violence.

“The interventions supported in the citizen security strategy seek to address some of the antecedents of crime and violence, including gender-based and domestic violence, and where necessary, support the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries in providing second-chance opportunities for male and female youth in the education system and wider society.  These interventions are critical to improving their life chances,” Ellis said.  

CARYFED is an initiative of Project Discovery which is a service-learning programme for students of the Caribbean Examinations Council programme, community colleges, polytechnics and regional tertiary institutions. It is convened annually in a Caribbean territory and this year 75 participants from six Caribbean territories including Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St, Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago were invited to join participants from host country Barbados.