ROSEAU, Dominica -- The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has partnered with the Caribbean Male Action Network (CariMAN) on a pilot project that will focus on sport, music and the personal developmental needs of youth in Dominica, especially young men.
CDB has provided a grant of US$49,500 to the project, which launched on July 1, and will benefit seven schools. It aims to empower youth with relevant employable and coping skills, and produce youth ambassadors to act as advocates among their peers -- including those exposed to violence and abuse.
The objective of the joint CDB/CariMAN project is to provide access to skills, materials, equipment and spaces needed to promote personal and artistic development; nurture talents; encourage creativity; and develop healthier relationships and lifestyles.
Research has shown that youth unemployment is one of the socio-economic factors that may push youth into crime and violence. Also, the lack of employment opportunities and exclusion lead to mounting frustration, which in turn increases the chances of youth engaging in risky sexual behaviours affecting their health.
The project is designed to develop skills for obtaining employment and to cope effectively with conflict and anger, with emphasis on gender equality, sexual diversity, masculinity and other social issues such as gender-based violence. The sports and music training workshops, coaching sessions and social activities will involve both theoretical and practical aspects. There will also be a series of residential weekend camps targeted at senior students in secondary schools which will provide training on life skills.
The grant from CDB has been made through the Bank’s flagship poverty reduction programme, the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF). BNTF provides grants for community infrastructure and a wide gamut of skills training initiatives including artisan trades, disaster mitigation planning, family and soft skills, braille communication, and computer literacy.
CariMAN, an affiliation of a broad cross-section of individual men and organisations working with men, is represented in 12 English-speaking Caribbean countries and is involved in various projects across the Region. The use of sports as a vehicle for promoting social cohesion is one of the areas endorsed by CariMAN, in addition to entrepreneurship in the arts (particularly music). CariMAN has also produced a number of tools, videos and tailored packages for engaging the youth.
Along with the students, the project involves teachers; parents; community members; musicians; coaches; the Dominica Planned Parenthood Association; National Drug Abuse Prevention Unit; Christian Music School; the BNTF implementing agency in Dominica; and ministries with the remit for youth, education, social services and gender affairs.