Communities Ministry, USAID training town, NDC councillors to address crime, violence

In an effort to carry out its mandate to promote safe and stable communities, the Ministry of Communities (MoC) is collaborating with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Community, Family and Youth Resilience (CFYR) programme in conducting a training session for Local Government Councillors on Social Crime Prevention.

According to a MoC press release, the two-day workshop, which began yesterday at the Racquet Centre on Woolford Avenue, is for participants from the Linden and Georgetown municipalities as well as 15 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).

It is covering topics such as the promotion of lawfulness through social crime prevention; the role of citizens, community and criminal justice; communication and leadership; understanding domestic violence and youth relationship violence, and community awareness outreach, the MoC release added.

The CFYR initiative is a violence and crime prevention programme developed and funded by USAID, and implemented by Creative Associates International. Its activities are focussed in St Kitts Nevis and St. Lucia as well as 15 communities in Guyana (Corriverton, Sophia [Fields C, D & E], Lodge, East La Penitence and East Ruimveldt).

The CFYR’s mandate is to increase opportunities for highly vulnerable youth in the target communities by providing support for youth to become gainfully employed and to be workforce-ready by gaining social and technical skills as well as support to gain and keep employment.

It requires respective governments to provide targeted counselling for youth most at risk for violence and their families to reduce these risk factors. It also seeks to strengthen the use of alternative sentencing, rehabilitation and reintegration approaches already being pursued by the various focus countries.

The programme also aims to promote community leadership organisation and strategy capacity building to implement and support activities that reduce crime and violence.

The MoC has observed that in many jurisdictions, mayors and local governments have played a major role in the creation of safer communities. It sees the safety of citizens as a critical quality-of-life issue which can be resolved by many agencies working together to improve safety.

In addition, many local government authorities have come to see citizens’ security as an area of concern to which they must respond and many jurisdictions have been able to mobilise local partnerships with key actors – the police, social service agencies, NGOS and residents – to develop safe, secure and lively communities.

It is expected that by the end of the training, councillors will be mentally equipped and prepared to work with the communities they represent and other partners to improve their sense of safety and security.

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