Caribbean Youth Development: Issues and Policy Directions

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Young people are the basis for the future health and welfare of their communities. Understanding the critical role of young people to the security of sustainable development, 'Caribbean Youth Development' draws attention to both the important contributions youth have made to the Caribbean society and the critical challenges they face in assuming socially responsible and productive roles in the years to come. This report, organized into seven chapters, provides an overview of the risks Caribbean youth are facing as well as evidence of the protective and risk factors underlying the problems confronting youth in the region and an estimation of costs of risky youth behaviors. It also includes an overview of the policy framework and the types of programs in place that target youth. This report advocates the prioritization of youth development across all sectors, and identifies key principles and actions for moving forward. The study is the first work of its kind to present quantitative evidence that investing in youth is an economically sound approach for Governments to take. The authors recognize, however, that the area of youth and development is an often complex and uncomfortable one to address, as many of the possible solutions entail behavioral changes that challenge long-established and accepted norms. This study will, we hope, encourage and stimulate the dialogue on youth in the region and assist those working in this critical area—Governments, Youth Organizations, NGOs, the donor community and young people themselves—in framing work plans for breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

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