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Youth and Childhood
Ministerials Paragraphs Related to the Theme Paragraphs VII Summit

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Date:  5/15/2012 
Protect Rights of Children and Adolescents
13. The Department of Social Services offers parenting training to parents who are referred by the Courts or social workers.
14. While the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture does not bear the brunt of responsibility for children and child protective policy and services, or child development, which rests with the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Education respectively, it has been mandated to facilitate programme(s) that provide some level of support for children.
15. Currently, this Ministry is developing a number of community centers that would provide alternative activities for children who are marginalized, unattached or generally not appropriately cared for during non-school periods. These centers are to be based in communities, and while they will be facilitated by volunteers, professional services will be provided at these sites, i.e., counseling services, community medical services, tutoring and after school programmes, recreational facilities, computer labs, etc.
16. The Department of Youth is prioritising the implementation of this community Programme through the appointment of an Officer to coordinate its effective development and execution. At present, a number of venues have been identified, and development programming is being scheduled.
17. One of the vehicles to ensuring the success of this Programme is the Government’s recently launched “VOLUNTEER BAHAMAS” Programme. As a means of mitigating criminal and anti-social activity, the Right Honourable Prime Minister during a National Address, admonished Bahamians to volunteer their time, and to get involved in any way they could to be a mentor. During his Address, he called for the creation of a National Volunteers Register. So far, there are more than 800 persons registered, and these persons, based on their availability, will be placed at various community centers following the completion of an official vetting process.
18. While the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture does not have the legislative and policy development lead on matters related to the child, community and family matters, it is actively engaged in providing services that foster communities that are “free from violence and abuse and [are] promoting the comprehensive development of the child”.
Paragraphs: 19 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

Date:  5/15/2012 
II. In reaffirming commitment to the 2008 Declaration of Medellin on Youth and Democratic Values, expanding economic opportunities providing access to comprehensive education and training for in-demand skills, opening avenues for leadership and promoting healthy lifestyles in local youth.

55. Economic Opportunities – As aforementioned, the Government has developed the Self-Starter Programme, specifically developed for Bahamian Youth, ages 18 to 30 years.
56. Opening Avenues for Leadership - The Bahamas Government has always been open to providing opportunities for youth participation in Governance. Specifically, these opportunities are made available through the Government’s National Youth Ambassador’s Programme and the National Youth Parliament Initiative.
i. Youth Ambassadors Programme
57. The Mission of the National Youth Ambassadors Programme is to expose and showcase a cadre of Bahamian Youth through participation in international and local development strategies.
58. The Objectives of the Programme are to:
a. Service the bilateral partnerships forged with international, hemispheric and regional organizations for the promotion of youth development agenda;
b. Serve as an arm of Bahamian youth in “Youth–in-Governance” strategies;
c. Serve as a personal development opportunity for Bahamian youth, ages 18 to 26 years;
d. Foster the recognition of Bahamian youth perspectives in bilateral negotiations/talks;
e. Secure technical and financial resources for youth development initiatives; and,
f. Secure the presence of Bahamian youth in every aspect of Country development.
59. The Government of The Bahamas, every three years appoints six (6) deserving young persons to serve as Youth Ambassadors. There are four (4) designations to which these individuals are appointed. These include: National Youth Ambassador to the United Nations, National Youth Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Commonwealth Regional Youth Caucus Representatives, Deputy Commonwealth Regional Youth Caucus Representative, and National Youth Ambassador (one male and one female) to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
60. National Youth Ambassadors are young persons who are given instruments of appointment formalizing a partnership with The Bahamas Government. They have a responsibility to service the youth agenda of the relevant international, hemispheric and regional organizations to which they area accredited. In addition to having a mandate and platform, these Ambassadors are provided with financial and technical resources to coordinate specific programmes. Our current Youth Ambassadors are:
a. Mr. Demathio B. Forbes, National Youth Ambassador to the Caribbean Community and Dean of the Bahamas National Youth Ambassador Corps;
b. Ms. Christina Smith, National Youth Ambassador to the United Nations;
c. Ms. Crystal Alexander, Commonwealth Regional Youth Caucus Representative;
d. Mr. Audirio V. Sears, Commonwealth Deputy Regional Youth Caucus Representative;
e. Ms. DeAndra V. Cartwright, National Youth Ambassador to the Organization of American; States; and,
f. Ms. Ashley R. Sturrup, National Youth Ambassador to the Caribbean Community.
61. These Ambassadors were officially appointed by His Excellency, Sir. Arthur Foulkes, Governor General, at Government House on February 3, 2010. Currently our CARICOM and Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors have been accredited to their respective Organizations. The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is working towards establishing accreditation for our United Nations and Organization of American States representatives. In the mean time, they are working inline with the mandates of the development agendas of their Organizations, i.e. the United Nations and it’s Millennium Development Goals; and, the Organisation of American States’ 2008 Declaration of Medellin on Youth and Democratic Values.
ii. National Youth Parliament
62. Since 1997, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has organised, on an annual basis, a National Youth Parliament which takes place in National Youth Month, in the House of Assembly (Lower House) of the Bahamas Parliament. Recently, an additional component of sessions of the Senate (Upper House) was implemented where young leaders (i.e. Youth Ambassadors, Civic Organization Leaders, Political Parties Youth Arm Leaders, etc.) are invited to discuss the topics debated by both Houses.
63. This initiative provides an opportunity for more than sixty (60) youths, ages 18 to 30 years, to have the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding any active agenda/topic in the Country. Unofficial discussions presently suggest Government endorsement of electing youth parliamentarians who would meet on a regular (monthly or quarterly) basis. The Ministry has undertaken a study of successful youth parliamentary systems in the Region to determine the form it should take in The Bahamas.
64. Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Local Youth - While the Ministry of Youth does not have the legislative and policy development lead on matters related to health and lifestyle development and their promotion, they have been doing their part to ensure that sexual reproductive health and drug abuse education are promoted through an ongoing partnership with regional and local entities. Partnering with the Ministry of Health has been a key focus for the new Programmes during the fiscal year.
65. Some of the key initiatives of the Department of Youth, include:
a. The CARICOM Youth Ambassadors/Pan American Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Anti-HIV/AIDS Programme for youth which has been taking place for the past six years. This Programme analyses proposals that are then executed by viable youth entities, who receive mini-grants for approved projects. A task force headed by Youth Ambassadors and technocrats, manages, and guides programme implementation through the entire process. Programmes range from three (3) to eight (8) months, and are executed in rural and inner-city communities. This Programme, since 2008, has ran three (3) cycles, with seven (7) successful projects in the Bain and Grants Town, Fox Hill, the Market Street, Grove, and East Street Communities, impacting over 2,087 persons.
b. CARICOM Second Chance Risk Reducing Workshop is another initiative for youth that provides social development counseling and training, coupled with skills development workshops to provide an alternative to anti-social behavior. This is a three day workshop that is sponsored by the CARICOM Secretariat and facilitated by CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, and professionals in counseling and craft-making. Also involved with the execution of the Programme were the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, the Ministry of Education School Psychology Unit, the Adolescent Health Care Unit of the Ministry of Health, and the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Two sessions have already taken place, sponsored by the CARICOM Secretariat. The necessary partnerships and other structures are in place, and the Department of Youth proposes another cycle of this project in the 2012-2013 budget cycle, as an activity of the Youth Ambassador’s Corps.
c. Commonwealth Youth Financial Literacy Programme was designed by the Economic Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat to promote healthy money management lifestyles. This initiative has been supplied with relevant course material, and training modules and is conducted by the Secretariat twice annually. The Programme is volunteer-driven, and designed to be coordinated by Commonwealth Youth Caucus Representatives. The Programme is in its preparatory stage, and is proposed for execution in the new fiscal year, 2012 - 2013.
66. Other healthy lifestyles promotional programmes are implemented by: the Adolescent Health Education Division and the HIV/AIDS Secretariat of the Ministry of Health, The Bahamas Red Cross Society, The AIDS Foundation of The Bahamas, The School Psychological Unit of the Ministry of Education, the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and the Bahamas Reef and Environmental Education Foundation among others. It is recommended that consultations amongst these Agencies, on this item, be institutionalised.
Paragraphs: 39 Paragraphs VII Summit: -

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