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#Dear Young People: An interactive space for the youth, by the youth

Dear Young People,

The first YPARD Jamaica Country Chapter came onboard last year with a mission to serve as a local platform that seeks to encourage and support young professionals across disciplines, parishes and backgrounds to realize their full potential and contribute towards innovative agricultural development.

Our main activities have included the development of our Country Charter which pinpoints Food Safety, Security and Certification; Mentoring, Gender Mainstreaming, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction, Agricultural Technology and Innovation as our primary areas of concern.

Our Facebook group currently has one hundred and eleven members and through this space, we have sought to share information and promote discussions on issues surrounding youth in agriculture and other related areas. We have participated in the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) High-Level Forum on Leveraging the SDGs for a Secure Caribbean 2016 and the Jamaica Youth Climate Change Conference 2017.

Currently, we are in dialogue with local and international NGOs for possible collaboration on an upcoming project geared towards empowering primary school children to have a greater interest in agriculture and the environment by emphasizing that we “Eat what we grow and grow what we eat”.

Our most recent effort has been the creation of a platform for the youth and by the youth that features empowered and motivated Caribbean young people and their initiatives, highlight their participation in conferences and workshops, a space for asking questions and soliciting feedback and showcases upcoming youth opportunities, hence the birth of this platform. The website features five sections: 

Our experiences: provides testimonials and pictorial highlights of youth participation in conferences surrounding issues of the environment and climate change. Our most recent showcase was the Youth Climate Change Conference 2017, held in Kingston Jamaica, which brought together youth delegations from eight Caribbean countries and Japan. Held under the theme “Our Climate, Our Voice, Our Change”, I was given the opportunity to represent my country as I was selected to be a part of the Jamaican Delegation.

Youth in Action: features talented youth across Jamaica and the wider Caribbean and their work surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals. Our first feature sought to bring to the forefront the work being done by Abrahim Simmonds, through his initiative Jamaican Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts and Nationalism (JAYECAN). He spoke of facilitators and barriers in implementing his work and had a strong message for emerging youth advocates. 

I Need Advice: is an interactive space for youth to pose questions and solicit feedback from their peers on different issues. The questions posed to date have sought to seek clarity on issues related to the BPO sector, the environment and women’s’ health. 

In the News: accumulates stories and articles from the mainstream media surrounding issues and opportunities for youth. The Commonwealth correspondence, Global Young Voices and Climate Tracker are among the news websites used for this section. 

Our concluding section, Opportunities; details prospects for training, internships, conferences and other opportunities for youth development and growth.

This platform hopes to emerge as a one-stop-shop for Caribbean Youth and further seeks to build awareness around issues of concern to young people and our societies at large. 

Please visit our website, share our page and leave your questions and comments on our youth column.