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Twenty-Ninth COHSOD concludes with focus on Animation for Development

The Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) came to a close on Friday. Minister for Youth Development and Sports Saint Lucia Hon. Shawn Edward chaired the two-day proceedings where Ministers and officials with responsibility for youth development came together to discuss and make decisions in relation to the youth and culture.

The final item on the agenda was Animation for Development within the Region. Deputy Programme Manager, Culture at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Riane de Haas-Bledoeg briefed the Ministers and officials on the issue. She explained briefly the concept of animation, how it could be used and gave a snapshot of the global animation industry and animation in CARICOM.  She also outlined the initiatives of the Secretariat in relation to the use of animation in education and to engage the youth.

Some of the other key issues addressed included the CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP), the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Programme, CARIFESTA, and a recently concluded Forum on Youth Crime and Violence.

Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Barbados, Hon. Stephen Lashley, gave an overview of preparations for the hosting of CARIFESTA XIII which is scheduled for 17-27 August 2017, in Barbados. The theme for CARIFESTA XIII is ‘Asserting our culture, celebrating ourselves’. Minister Lashley told delegates that the preparations for the festival were well underway. He explained that a venue audit was conducted and locations for the various events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, had been identified. He also announced that it was estimated that the festival would cost Barbados approximately B$6.4M.

The Meeting was provided with a brief overview of the CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP) and was informed that the plan has been partially implemented. It was also suggested that the CARICOM Secretariat Youth Desk be further strengthened with human and financial resources to effectively implement the CYDAP Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.

In relation to the Forum on Youth Crime and Violence, the Council was provided with a brief description of the major elements of the Forum which included a social media survey, social media interaction and interactive sessions. A review of the results coming out of the social media survey which highlighted some of the reasons for crime, as posited by the youth, included hopelessness, lack of love, lack of jobs, peer pressure to fit in, and media influence. The youngsters surveyed recommended that the Region’s education system should be structured in a manner that caters to the youth.

The impact of the CEBO project, which focuses on youth entrepreneurship, was highlighted during the meeting through the success story of a young man who provided his testimony of being in the programme. Ishmael Douglas, a CEBO participant from Jamaica, spoke of his experience with establishing a media and communication company with the help of CEBO. He also spoke of how his involvement in the project helped to deter him from becoming involved in nefarious activities. A video that showcased the experience of another CEBO participant, St. Kitts and Nevis national Anastasia Elliot, also underscored the accomplishments of the programme.

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