As part of a larger goal of creating a safer, more prosperous Caribbean Community, efforts are underway to ensure that at-risk Guyanese youth receive maximum benefits from the United States Agency for International Development’s new Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project.
On Thursday, March 16, USAID’s General Development Office Director, Ted Lawrence, and Guyana’s Attorney General, Basil Williams, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will govern an impact evaluation of USAID’s YES program. The evaluation aims to ensure that program interventions are evidence-based and both USAID and the government of Guyana learn from the approaches utilized and the reforms enacted.
The YES program will support reduction of youth involvement in crime and violence in targeted communities in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, with particular focus on Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.
The initiative will utilize a robust monitoring and evaluation system to track and support the attainment of program objectives. To support the evaluation process, data will be regularly collected from a number of sources including ministries or agencies that handle child justice data – the Probation and Social Service departments, the police, the Magistrates’ Court, and youth detention facilities. A non-disclosure agreement was also signed to protect the rights of youth within the juvenile justice system, while still allowing for a thorough evaluation of reforms. This data will support and inform efforts to reduce recidivism and increase reintegration of youth who come into contact with the justice system.