The Executive Council recently approved a Community Development Department proposal to create a tailor-made Saba Youth 13+ Programme for the age group 13-23 that promotes their development to adulthood so they can make full use of opportunities and talents and participate independently and fully in society. This is being done together with the young people.
The programme is the result of a covenant signed by the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba and five Dutch ministries in 2021. In this partnership agreement, the ministries and public entities endorse the values of a comprehensive approach to the youth to increase their chances in the future.
Through the covenant, the parties want to give substance to a more intensive, comprehensive collaboration. The covenant contains recommendations on housing for young people, leisure time, poverty, youth participation, domestic violence and child abuse, education and employment.
It was agreed that a collaboration agenda youth 13+ would be drafted for each island. The Dutch government is making the funding available for these local programmes,
Saba has drafted a 13+ agenda and has started the process to implement a number of actions for young people in the focal areas that were agreed on in the covenant. Saba’s Youth 13+ will develop programmes and activities in partnership with the youth and key stakeholders that work with the 13-23 target group.
Besides addressing key topics for the youth, Saba’s programme aims at promoting youth development strategies that focus on building positive relations, strengthening academics, soft and technical skills, improving health and wellbeing, cultivating trustworthy, safe spaces and offering the youths opportunities to succeed in meaningful ways.
A number of activities are being worked on. These include setting up a youth community volunteering service programme; organising workshops in youth entrepreneurship, employable skills and health and wellbeing; organising a Youth Week to celebrate the youth; and further developing the Saba Youth Council’s mentoring and capacity building.
Community Development Department community outreach coordinator Kemaul Lee, who coordinates the Youth 13+ programme on Saba, had a meeting with stakeholders last month.
“During that meeting, we not only looked at the themes, but we also discussed how to move forward. it is vital to have an integral approach. There needs to be unity to tackle the issues of the 13-plus youth,” Lee said.
A local agreement with stakeholders, a sort of partnership agreement, will be drafted. Meanwhile, Lee is looking at setting up a special place for the youths where they can be themselves and come together in a safe manner that appeals to them. “We are doing this in collaboration with the youth so they can say what it is that they want,” said Lee.
He explained that the stakeholders are important in the process, especially the youths themselves. The Saba Youth Council and the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) Student Body Council will be frequently consulted.
“Talking with the youth to get their input is important. I want to hear from them. I want to hear about their challenges. What are their needs and their ideas how to make things better? A close involvement of the youth not only gives them ownership, but it will also have a positive impact on our programme. I will closely work with them to formulate a plan that we will carry out together,” said Lee.
The Daily Herald.