As part of the Citizens Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP), two economic insertion activities were executed in the first half of 2019, the government’s mid-year report revealed. The first of these saw 215 at-risk youths from 20 target communities graduate from technical institutions and training centres in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).

In addition, 663 youths from these regions, as well as Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), are currently enrolled in the programme.

The technical and vocational education training is being implemented using the Competency-Based Approach, which allows students to advance based on their abilities to master a skill or competency.

As part of this programme, participants are offered a monthly stipend of between $11,000 and $35,000, depending on how far they live from the training facility. CSSP also funds fees associated with participation in the programme.

Another important component of the programme is the continuous psychological and mentorship support offered to youths, which reinforces positive behaviour.

The second economic insertion activity entailed entrepreneurship training targeting at-risk youths. As of the end of May 2019, 38 students from target communities in Regions Four and Six graduated from the programme.

Upon graduation, participants presented business ideas which were evaluated, and the sum of $11.9M was distributed as grants to fund these ventures. These start-ups will be monitored during the second half of the year. In addition, a further 48 youths from Regions Four, Five and Six commenced classes and are expected to graduate and present their business ideas before the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the domestic violence capacity building training, another initiative of the CSSP, is running from July to September of this year and will target 100 mid-career police officers in domestic violence scenario response. This is expected to improve the professionalism, empathy, and integrity of officers when dealing with domestic violence incidents.

The three-pronged CSSP is aimed at, among other things, reducing crime and violence among young people. Through Component One of this initiative, at-risk youths are selected and sent for technical and vocational training which in most cases will lead to the Caribbean Vocational Qualification Level One (CVQ1).

The Community Action Council, a community-based organisation, is responsible for monitoring the implementation of this Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded project at the community level.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, on June 28 this year, said that the government sees the initiative as necessary, and provision will be made for it after the funding term from IDB is over.


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