Youths account for 16 percent of the population in the Eastern Caribbean and possess immense potential as agents for social change, economic development, and innovation. Yet many of them, like their global peers, face socio-economic challenges that prevent them from realising their full potential. Poverty, child abuse and neglect, disability, inequality, limited access to quality education and lack of employment opportunities are obstacles faced by youth, with the potential for negative impacts and outcomes lingering well into adulthood. While some are able to overcome these obstacles, unemployment, social exclusion, low pay and continuation of the cycle of intergenerational poverty is the reality for many others.
Young people must be provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. More specifically, they need equitable access to education and skills training that align with the demands of the labour market. This is essential for a successful transition into the labour force and attaining decent work. Within the Eastern Caribbean, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-Funded joint programme Resilient Caribbean - Engaging & Training Youth, Strengthening Integrated SP Sector Delivery is accelerating action towards the SDGs by ensuring that youth are empowered and enabled to effectively enter the labour market.
Building the Capacity of Educators, Community Leaders, and Youth in Grenada
In Grenada, where the youth unemployment rate stands at 29 percent, 3 the Joint Programme has launched the Grenada Youth Empowered for the Digital World of Work initiative. Led by UNESCO, the programme focuses on equipping Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) educators, community youth leaders, and post-secondary youths with emerging digital and entrepreneurial skills required to increase national and regional productivity.
Under this initiative, 46 community youth leaders have received certifications in entrepreneurship. These individuals will benefit from further support in the form of mentoring sessions to strengthen their capacity to engage and facilitate peer mentorship with youths within their communities. Additionally, over 100 TVET teachers and instructors have been engaged in a Train the Trainer programme for digital advertising, and workshops intended to strengthen the capacities of educators to plan, develop and deliver learning in the online and blended environment.
Developing digital skills is important for the success of youth in the job market and entrepreneurship. The Joint Programme is supporting the advancement of SDG 8 (decent work for all and economic growth) by enhancing the knowledge and skills of post-secondary youth in the areas of digital technology and entrepreneurship. Six hundred and thirty-seven youths are currently registered in the Aleph Digital Ad Expert Certification Programme, which began in June 2023 with all initial places filled. Aimed at developing entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial competencies, the certification programme covers areas such as digital marketing, marketing strategy development, digital analytics, and content creation. The second cohort of students is due to start training in September 2023.
Making Learning Fun
The Joint Programme is also leveraging accessible technology to provide 21st Century skills to young people in the Eastern Caribbean without access to quality education through FunDoo. Launched by UNICEF in 2022, FunDoo is a chat-based programme aimed at young people between the ages of 13 and 24. Available on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram Messenger, the programme utilises technology to facilitate experiential learning (learning by doing), ensuring that the journey is both fun and rewarding.
Almost 2,000 young people have completed FunDoo’s self-paced modules, strengthening their personal, interpersonal, and higher-order cognitive skills through real-world activities. Participants have credited the platform with boosting their self-esteem and confidence and improving their public speaking, stress management, and budgeting skills. Originally developed in India, FunDoo’s curriculum has been adapted to the local context. This curriculum is based on UNICEF's 21st Century Skills framework and is organised as a modular library of tasks that learners can choose from.
The Resilient Caribbean Joint Programme is committed to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. By prioritising youth empowerment and creating opportunities for education and training, the Joint Programme will continue to work towards driving social mobility and providing an equitable chance in life for youth in the Eastern Caribbean.
The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.