A National Youth Needs Assessment Survey has been launched by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and E-Governance. According to Minister Kevin Bernard, the survey aims to gather information by young people from young people and used to formulate policies. These policies, according to Bernard, will be geared at addressing several issues that the young population in Belize continues to face.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth, Sports & E Governance: “For me and for the ministry this was a very critical component of ensuring that our strategic plan that we’re setting out, that they are currently working on have that direct input from the young people. Our plan will speak about where we want to go over the next twenty years not just next year, not just two years from now but we want to set out a youth plan. Like what they say you either plan to fail or fail to plan and so we want to ensure that whatever plan we set out we can go back to our young people and say we have listened to you, this is what we want to do, we want one more feedback from you and say okay based on our consultation with the young people we are going to do these things over this time period and then as Cabinet, as the minister responsible I need to go and say you know what based on our current budget whether it is there or not we’re gonna say we need to carry out this urgently and this is what we will need. So it’s different approaches that we’re taking here. The youth needs assessment however we feel that we needed to get young people involved, we needed to ensure that it’s no longer lip service, it’s no longer about telling the young people want we want to do but the reverse, they advising us. They recommending to us at the ministry what they feel is best that they need to be addressed.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: What is the target population and how realistic is the goal of getting the majority of opinions from young people who are actually affected ?
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Youth, Sports & E Governance: “Well as you know in every survey you always try to target to at least 1% of the population that you’re going to target and so as I mentioned in the north side we have already targeted that 1% and this has to be countrywide it is not just going to be just the Belize City. And that’s one of the things that we felt the Department of Youth Services under the previous administration was city centered. There was not much work being one in the rural communities and in the urban communities especially the farthest parts of the country. I mean on my tour in Punta Gorda, in Dangriga, and in the west so far has revealed that there’s a lot of potential, a lot of young people who want to make a difference and who have been making a difference in their own community but you never hear about these things and so this youth needs assessment will be able to say you know what in Belize City for example this is the priority that they want, in Corozal ,in Orange Walk this is what; maybe it’s in agriculture that they want to focus in. Down west, down south we are then able to say this is what they really need and so we are going to focus on targeting that 1%. If we can reach out to more it’s going to help.”
The cost of the survey is estimated to be fifteen thousand dollars.