Today, the Inter-American Development Bank and Compete Caribbean in collaboration with BELTRAIDE launched “Change Dah Story” at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. The initiative targets at risk-youths in order to assist them in becoming productive citizens. Reporter Johnelle McKenzie filed the story.
Belize is known for its pristine beaches, second largest barrier reef in the world and for something not at all attractive, a high crime rate. It is crime that has dominated the newscasts year-round in Belize. Today, a new social innovative challenge was launched in the hopes of bringing about change. The initiative dubbed “Change Dah Story” is being piloted in Belize by the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank’s Country Office in Belize. Dr. Cassandra Rogers, IDB Country Representative in Belize, addressed the gathering.
Belize is known for its pristine beaches, the second largest barrier reef in the world and for something not at all attractive, a high crime rate. It is crime that has dominated the news casts year round in Belize. Today a new social innovation challenge was launched in the hopes of bringing about change. The initiative dubbed “Change the Story” is being piloted in Belize by the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility in collaboration with the Inter American Development Bank’s Country Office in Belize. Dr.Cassandra Rodgers is the IDB Country Representative in Belize.
Dr.Cassandra Rodgers, IDB Country Representative: “Statistics also show that not only are the rates of crime and violence in Belize among the highest unfortunately in Latin America and the Caribbean but they also have strong negative impact especially on youth ages 18-25 whether they are male or female, whether they may be crime victims or offenders. Moreover crime and violence involves youth at risk is a national problem. You would recall recent incidents in San Pedro that show the potential interplay of crime and tourism in this country. The Change dah Story challenge is an opportunity for problem solvers in Belize to propose really creative and innovative business ideas that could bring relief and solutions to this relevant social problem through creativity, innovation and technology you in this room can help transform and change the story of young people in Belize.”
The event was attended by persons who hope to be a part of the change by coming up with a business model which will be able to change the future of at risk youths in Belize. Dr.Sylvia Dohnert the Executive Director of Compete Caribbean explained how the initiative will work.
Dr.Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director, Compete Caribbean: “We are applying a methodology called they IDLAB methodology that the IDB has developed and has applied to other places of not the Caribbean region but in Latin America to address problems such as this as well as other problems also environmental problems and the methodology what it does is that it tries, it involves participants in first specifying what the causes of the problem area really really well and in this case we had focus groups in Belize with vulnerable youth all over the country even with incarcerated youth and we came to the conclusion that there are four problems that really make youth vulnerable and one is parenting. So parents who because they work all day or maybe because they are very young parents cannot provide enough guidance to their children, another one is employment, so youth that want employment but don’t really know how to find it or perhaps don’t have enough skills and experience to be accepted into employment. The third one is education sometimes education is out of the possibilities of some of the youth and there may be issues with quality in some areas and the other one is recreation, so what are the opportunities for recreation that the youth have outside of school. What we’re doing is that we’re having this event today which is really the launch of a three month process of applications with ideas of how to tackle any of these four problems.”
IDB was approached by Beltraide to pilot the program in Belize. Dr.Leroy Almendarez, the Executive Director of Betriade said the objective is to reduce crime in Belize.
Dr.Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director at Beltraide: “Today you will have quite a number of different panel discussions and discussions were young people will be able to pitch their ideas and changing the story really is a form of competition where people can bring about their ideas, young people can bring about their ideas and its tied to academia; you can have academia you can have from every walk of life bring about your innovative ideas and you can submit those and those three finalists who win will actually be awarded up to $10,000 US in which to transform their ideas into reality.”
Reporter: Persons have up until December to apply and can contact Beltraide for more information.