27 May 2024

Future leaders unite: Inside the first Small Island Developing States children and youth summit

Brades, Montserrat - Intelligent! Passionate! Unique! These are just a few words to describe the amazing young people that I have met over the past few days. The first ever Small Island Development States Children and Youth Action Summit underscored the imperative of involving youth in decision-making processes and equipping us with the tools to…, Beginning with a Bang, The first day was an exhilarating adventure. We sported our branded t-shirts and hats as we visited South Coast Horizons, a villa in Cades Bay, for a tree planting exercise and eco-tours that involved a boardwalk and kayak tour. Trees, the unsung heroes of our ecosystem, play a pivotal role in regulating the water cycle, purifying the air, and…, Capacity Building Matters, Day two was filled with masterclasses for delegates, a panel discussion, and an exciting activity where we created a wall of commitment. The masterclasses included advocacy, strengthening youth movements, negotiations, and communications. Bertrand Moses, Child Protection Officer at UNICEF Eastern Caribbean, facilitated the session on youth…, A New Chapter Awaits, A few weeks preceding the summit, we convened with representatives from our respective regions to craft a proposal intended for presentation to various stakeholders. As part of the Caribbean delegation, we put forth “Agri-Wave,” aimed at tackling Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as zero hunger, quality education, decent work, economic…
25 May 2024

Young People Take Centre Stage: SIDS Global Children and Youth Action Summit

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – 25 May 2024 – The future of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is in capable hands. On Friday over 80 passionate young delegates from across the Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS) kicked off the groundbreaking SIDS Global Children and Youth Action Summit in Antigua and Barbuda. United…, A pivotal moment for SIDS, The official opening ceremony, held at Government House, under the patronage of Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, marked a turning point. Sir Rodney declared the summit "a historic occasion for Antigua and Barbuda," highlighting its importance in empowering future leaders to build a more resilient and sustainable future. Antigua and Barbuda…, Building teams, addressing challenges, The summit commenced with a symbolic team-building activity – a tree planting eco tour at South Coast Horizons, fostering environmental awareness and symbolizing delegates’ shared commitment to conservation and a sustainable future for SIDS.  tree planting photo Jean Luc Constantine from Saint Luca and Kavish Seedam from Mauritius participating in…, Young leaders share their dreams, These young participants are brimming with enthusiasm for the impact they will make. Jean Luc from Saint Lucia expressed his excitement to "work with vibrant people around the world" and develop solutions for a better future.  Nianna St. Claire from Montserrat aspires to see the projects developed translated into action and build valuable…
21 April 2024

A Quiet Storm: Climate Change and the Mental Health of Caribbean Youth

Roseau, Dominica - In the idyllic landscapes of the Caribbean, where the calm blue waters invoke tranquility and the forests tower, there's a quiet storm brewing. It's not one of thunder and lightning, but of rising sea levels, intensifying hurricanes, and scorching heat waves.  This storm, fueled by climate change, is taking a heavy toll on the…, Caribbean youth see destruction firsthand, For us young people of the Caribbean, this isn't just an environmental issue; it's a deeply personal one. The effects of climate change are palpable. We bear witness to the destruction and erosion of our family’s land, the lack of fruits and vegetables we would have otherwise had if it wasn’t so hot all the time, and inflation after hurricanes…, The prevalence of 'eco-anxiety', This constant exposure to environmental degradation can lead to a phenomenon known as eco-anxiety. Eco-anxiety is the overwhelming fear and stress caused by the looming threat of environmental destruction. Worrying about the safety of our homes during hurricane season can be challenging, especially when some of us have experienced destruction…, Glimmers of hope, But amidst all of this, there's also a glimmer of hope. The concept of eco-optimism is gaining traction among Caribbean youth, as they refuse to succumb to despair and instead channel their energy into positive action. They're leading beach clean-ups, advocating for renewable energy, and demanding climate justice from world leaders. In the face of…, Caribbean youth share strategies to cope, Caden, British Virgin Islands: "Volunteering with the national disaster response team after a hurricane helped me learn what to do for my mental health during a natural disaster and how to help others." Maria, Dominica: "After the hurricane, I got involved in helping the environment because it helped me to feel like I was contributing to a change…
19 April 2024

Over 2,000 Trained in Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Children

Over 2,000 individuals across the Eastern Caribbean are equipped to address urgent mental health challenges facing children following a series of virtual and in-person training sessions in Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Children.  The UNICEF and USAID initiative attracted guidance and school counselors, teachers, social workers, principals,…, Building Capacity Through Training, The training employed a "Train the Trainer" model, with technical focal points from twelve countries participating. These focal points, equipped with a specially designed PFA workbook by UNICEF, then co-facilitated in-person, virtual, and hybrid training sessions within their respective countries. To ensure maximum participation, creative…, Building a Sustainable Support System, A critical element of the program involved mapping existing government Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services across six key sectors - health, education, disaster management, child protection, social services, and emergencies in each participating country. This comprehensive mapping exercise not only identified existing services…, “A Life-changing experience” , The program yielded impressive results. A staggering 98% of participants reported gaining new knowledge, and the average post-training score on a knowledge assessment test jumped from 30% to 80%. Mr. Sturling Campbell, a School Counselor in Grenada, described the experience as "life-changing," highlighting the program's ability to equip ordinary…