Young people in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will benefit from an after-school programme designed to use creative techniques to reduce at-risk behaviours, increase health-related awareness, impact educational aspirations, self-esteem and social connectedness among the youth in all CARICOM Member States.
Framed through a partnership among the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) sub-regional Office in Barbados, the CARICOM Secretariat and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Sub-regional Cooperation Programme, the After School Activity Programme (ASAP) responds to a goal of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework to enhance the quality of life and security of children, adolescents and youth through strengthened multi-sectoral and human rights based approaches in education, governance, health and social services.
In response to the need to address youth violence, citizen security, underdevelopment of sport and child obesity, the programme will equip the youth – especially those deemed to be at-risk and vulnerable – with life skills through sport participation by developing and expanding the understanding of parents, coaches and administrators of the educational value of sport.
The CARICOM Secretariat will implement the ASAP beginning with pilots in Anguilla, Grenada, and St. Lucia involving the selection of two pilot schools, national consultations, a trainer-of-trainers workshop, community based ASAP trainings and the implementation of the programme in participating schools.
An evaluation of the success of the pilots will precede a full scale implementation across the Community, which is expected to produce increased collaboration between National Sports Organisations and schools in the use of sports to promote positive values among young people.
One of the significant grounds upon which the project is being implemented is the recommendation of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development to invest more in after school activities and increase use of school facilities to provide organised extra- curricular, recreational and sports activities for youth in the Community. This recommendation is among a slew of other proposals enclosed in the CCYD’s Report titled, “Eye on the Future, Investing in Youth now for Tomorrow’s Community,” presented to CARICOM Heads of Government after region-wide investigation of the challenges and opportunities for the youth in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)