One of our first experiences in working with Caribbean youth was the incredible VYBZING Forum initiated by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in Saint Lucia. VYBZING is the name of CDB’s Youth Outreach Programme which has over the years reached over 500 young people in CDB’s member countries. It is a platform for youth engagement with emphasis on youth empowerment and participation in the development process. Each year, the youth address a topic that impacts on youth development. In 2013, the focus for the forum was road safety and CDB approached YOURS to run the three day forum in Castries, Saint Lucia.
CDB alongside Government Ministries of St Lucia; Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport partnered with YOURS and we delivered the forum themed 'Road Safety: Save a Life, Save a Future'. One key aim of the forum was to equip the 26 youth leaders with the skills they needed to scope and implement a local road safety project. After the forum, 3 road safety projects were implementing reaching thousands of young people across the country.
Participant at the VYBZING Forum
The VYBZING Forum is the Caribbean Development Bank's signature programme targeting youth. Assessing the issues facing young people globally, road safety was selected as the theme of this forum. CDB were the initiators of the programme and approached us to deliver the forum over three days. The project required a strong partnership on the ground the select the most exceptional youth leaders to experience the YOURS workshop and then implement their own road safety projects across the country.
In the partnership was the Government of Saint Lucia's Ministry of Youth Development and Sport, Caribbean Development Bank, Saint Lucia National Youth Council and a number of youth organizations representing Saint Lucia. We successfully worked with the numerous stakeholders to deliver a groundbreaking edition of the VYBZING Forum described as "One of the best deliveries of the forums in its history". The successful implementation of this forum lead to building a stronger partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank and the subsequent 24 month programme in Belize.
It's no secret that young people experience life differently to their parents and the older generations, so then why do so many workshops assume that young people want to sit through an old school style of learning? We've experienced it ourselves, sitting through hours of presentations, speech after speech and talk after talk. If we really want to engage with young people, we know this is not the way! Therefore YOURS is using a highly interactive and engaging methodology while delivering workshops.
In collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, YOURS set about creating the agenda for the forum to meet specific outcomes set by our partner.The Workshop within the framework of the VYBZING Forum had 4 stages:
Information Services Manager - Caribbean Development Bank
A workshop is only as powerful as its impact and measurable results. In Saint Lucia, we saw some real tangible action take place after the workshop with young people being given the opportunity to develop their own road safety projects and pitch them for funding.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) awarded a USD10,000 grant to Choiseul Youth and Sports Council, Choiseul, St. Lucia to implement a road safety project in their district.
The grant award followed a challenge issued by the Bank in May 2013 to participants at the VYBZING Youth Forum in St. Lucia, to prepare and submit proposals for community-based projects for funding consideration, centred around this year’s VYBZING theme, “Road Safety: Save a Life, Save a Future.”
The winning submission by the Choiseul Youth and Sports Council focuses on the erection of road signage and protective barriers in Sab Wisha and Troumassee, and included a road safety public awareness campaign.
The positive ripples continued. Members of the Choiseul Youth and Sports Council, St. Lucia, recently appeared on the popular youth programme, Blazin FM to share their views on youth road safety in St. Lucia and to update the public on their community-based road safety project. The group continued to advocate for strong road safety messages across the country, calling for safer infrastructure; a common cause for road crashes on Saint Lucia's winding and steep country roads. The group, trained in road safety by us, took the issue and made it their own, taking road safety to radio, media and youth centers in the country. These young people, turning road safety into a peer-to-peer messaging, initiated a movement for road safety by becoming road safety champions.