On the heels of a successful Annual General Meeting, the National Youth Council of Jamaica (NYCJ) announced a $5.9 million partnership with National Integrity Action (NIA) to promote violence reduction strategies in the parishes of the island. Hailing this as a historic achievement for the organization, NYCJ President Jerome Palmer took the opportunity to champion the importance of community organizations in nurturing young people across the island.
“This partnership grew out of the National Youth Council’s initiative to reduce violence at the grassroots level through the use of community organizations by 2020,” Palmer said. The Sunday Gleaner.
“The partnership has been consolidated through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, as the NYCJ is a ministry program.”
Currently, the NYCJ represents over 500 community organizations. Its mandate is to
– increase youth participation in community organizations across the island.
– defend the national youth policy and promote youth advocacy.
– enable the sustainable development and formation of community organizations.
The memorandum of understanding, signed last week, allows NYCJ to educate community groups in Westmoreland, St James, Clarendon, St Elizabeth and St Catherine on violence prevention training and youth engagement strategies . As Palmer pointed out, the partnership will help NYCJ implement its violence reduction strategies, which include:
– Going to high schools and working with young people who exhibit ongoing disruptive behavior;
– Enter communities that have experienced an upsurge in violence to engage with young people to lead a project to reduce crime in that community;
– Implement training with all clubs in their parishes to ensure they know how to execute violence reduction strategies.
NYCJ also partnered with JN Bank, which would have allowed the organization, for the first time in its history, to have bank accounts registered by community organizations through the National Youth Council. Through this partnership, clubs can more easily acquire bank accounts, access additional funding, and benefit from financial literacy training. Currently, NYCJ is seeking partnerships with other organizations to expand this success and facilitate sustainable community development.
The organization’s previous successes include hosting the National Youth Council‘s Annual General Meeting at Pembroke Hall Elementary School on November 16, where over 400 young people attended the meeting and each parish presented its activities of the previous year.
In addition, the organization launched its parish tour in the 14 parishes. The respective club leaders received training in skills such as meeting management, agenda setting, advocacy and fundraising.
Palmer pointed out that many donors are willing to provide funding, but community organizations don’t know how to apply for those funds, a problem the NYCJ aims to address.
The NYCJ also undertook a recycling project, known as the Green Path Initiative, and increased its advocacy for community issues through the media.
The council is eager to use community-based organizations to travel to areas of special operations (ZOSOs) to lead youth engagement and development and violence prevention.
“Even if there’s no community organization in these areas, we want to get out there and help start some,” Palmer said.
As Gareth Warren, President of the Clarendon Parish Youth Council pointed out, “NYCJ has been rekindling the flames of volunteerism, youth advocacy and youth involvement since 2018.”
For more information, the National Youth Council of Jamaica (NYCJ) can be contacted by email at [email protected], by phone at (876) 425-0668, on their website, nycjamaica.org or through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information through the Youth and Adolescence Policy Division.