Thursday 5 December, 2019

T&T youth workshop targets youth leaders in nine territories

A one-day youth leadership meeting attended by Loop News at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on August 3, 2019, set the stage for youth advocacy in the Caribbean on a level yet seen by many government or non-government agencies.

Organized by the three-year-old Caribbean Right Here Right Now (C-RHRN) platform, which has been training young people in all levels of diplomacy and advocacy from its inception in October 2016, the workshop went further to map out a strategy to strengthen the capacity of the young leaders on several levels including introducing them to some of the various international spaces they can advocate comprehensive sexuality education, and other RHRN priority areas impacting young people in the region.

Working with institutions like CARICOM and PANCAP, the C-RHRN instituted this training specifically for CARICOM youth ambassadors and youth leaders who are head of youth councils in the platform’s nine targeted countries.

According to Dennis Glasgow, a youth leader from Guyana who is passionate about youth development, the objective of such workshops is being met due to a close working partnership with PANCAP, which also did some training to further build capacity with these same youth leaders in advance of today’s training.

“Our major focus is working together with the youth in all their diversity, in their different organizations and strengthening our outreach to regional leaders at the CARICOM level, through the various spaces in which they engage such as the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), the Conference on Population and Development (CPD) and the High-Level Political Forum,” Glasgow said. 

“We’re building synergies and ensuring that a broad coalition of youth movement throughout the Caribbean sub-region are engaged and assisting in the sub-regional work which is being implemented by the Caribbean Right Here Right Now platform.  This is not the first of its kind as several outreach initiatives with youth leaders have been very successful.  This one enables the youth leaders to make recommendations directly and to assist even more closely as the youth advocates reach out to their leaders,” said Flavia Cherry, one of the facilitators at the workshop.

One key aspect of the workshop is the support of members of the platform like Glasgow, who is a member of the Aspire youth network in Guyana, and whose experience and advocacy in the platform is an excellent example of the kind of amazing work the platform has been able to achieve through building the capacity of youth.

In fact, the workshop was more or less facilitated by youth platform members who spoke directly about its benefits and how it has made them very confident youth advocates.  Charde Desir, former CARICOM youth ambassador, explained that his experience with the platform has enabled him to share the kind of positive experience that makes the platform unique and valuable.

Guyana’s youth ambassador Vishal Joseph said the workshop reaffirmed his commitment to CSE and HFLE (Health and Family Life Education) initiatives in his home country.

“It actually allows me to learn, in terms of regional context, basically rethink what I have been doing and think of new approaches of how I can include other organizations and individuals both as a CARICOM youth ambassador and in my individual capacity as a medical student,” Joseph said.

Platform members also had a meeting with the Director of Youth at the CARICOM secretariat while in Trinidad. The platform is planning a workshop to be held in Guyana in October to further build the capacity of its members to work within CARICOM.

Loop News has learned that CARICOM secretariat has already committed to supporting this event, which is another example of the kind of outreach and works the platform has been engaged over the past three years.

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