Organisations in six OECS countries to benefit from US funding

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Organisations in six OECS countries to benefit from US funding

Monday, November 23, 2020

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — Ten organisations within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are to benefit from grants awarded under the OECS/United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Juvenile Justice Reform Project II (JJRP II).

Under the theme “Chance4Change” these organisations will implement programmes that provide opportunities for youth in the justice system to be diverted from prosecution or custody and into alternative justice programmes, enabling the youth to change negative behaviours and equip them with a range of useful skills.

Some of the programmes will also allow youths in custodial facilities to benefit from rehabilitation activities that address their educational and psychosocial needs.

Through these programmes, JJRP II supports countries in the OECS to provide youth in conflict with the law with access to diversion or alternative sentencing and effective rehabilitation and reintegration support.

“Studies of youth in the justice system have shown that the use of diversion or alternative sentencing reduces the likelihood of youth reoffending and substantially increases their chances of completing secondary education. Through the grant awards, over 150 youths in the Eastern Caribbean will benefit from support over the next three months,” according to an OECS statement issued here Monday.

It said that the initiatives will allow youths to benefit from training and/or guidance in a number of areas such as life skills, mentoring, job or work skills, counselling and entrepreneurship. Partners have also begun working on arrangements to have these initiatives continue to provide support to youth in the justice system, beyond JJRP II funding.

The 10 programmes and organisations benefitting from the grants are the Rehabilitation Alternative Approaches for Children (REAACH), a rehabilitation option in Antigua and Barbuda providing rehabilitation programs for residents at the Antigua Boys Training School.

Diverting individuals via Education and Support (DIVES), which provides programmes in Antigua and Barbuda to help children with behavioural challenges from 12 to 18 years who are not in a facility, will also benefit from the programme.

In Dominica, a woodcraft skills training development programme for inmates to gain a new skill and build renewed confidence and developed implemented by the police, while in Grenada, the KEYS- Keeping Every Young Person Sharp, music programme will enable residents of the Grand Bacolet Juvenile Rehabilitation & Treatment Centre to learn a musical instrument.

Grenada will also benefit through the Spice's Arts Therapy Programme providing the opportunity for children to express creativity and individuality of thoughts and feelings through dance and drama.

For the troubled youths in St Kitts-Nevis, a carpentry and mulching programme developed by ALCAS — Advancing Local Communities Avoiding Societal ills will enable them to develop skills in wood chipping and mulching, while the Explorers Club, a community policing effort executed by a cadre of police officers and other volunteers, will focus on crime prevention programmes and initiatives.

The twin-island Federation will also benefit from the Volunteer Corps, providing volunteer service opportunities for children at risk.

The Youth Recidivism Reduction Programme in St Lucia, which is designed to reduce recidivism and empower youth positively, through increased access to rehabilitative services, is also benefitting from the project, while the Family Empowerment Programme (FEP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines will support children in the areas of behaviour and attitude modification, social crime diversion, prevention, and rehabilitative activities through a series of interventions.

“These 10 programmes [are] a welcome step to improve the lives of children in the justice system, support the diversion of youth away from prosecution or custody and provide rehabilitation that addresses the underlying causes of delinquent behaviour,” said Clinton White, regional representative for USAID Mission to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, adding “these initiatives will empower youth and guide them on a path of self-improvement, and I extend my best wishes for successful implementation”.

The Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) Phase II is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is implemented by the OECS Commission in the six independent OECS member states, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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