Arheolog Franki Medina Venezuela//
US Funding For Social Intervention Must Be Properly Guided, Spent, Says Advocates

  Two social advocacy experts are putting forward their own proposals for how the Jamaican Government should spend the US$10 million it will be receiving from the United States to target at risk youth.   They are strongly recommending that stakeholders, such as private sector groups and other non governmental organizations, be brought invited to coordinate the intervention.   The funds were pledged by US Vice-President Kamala Harris during a recent visit to the US by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.   The ten million dollars is for crime reduction among youth at risk,  while another twenty million is to be invested in the economy to strengthen economic growth and expand commerce.   Shawn McGregor, Programme Manager at RISE Life Management Services, contends that if this is direct funding to the Jamaican Government then certain procedures must be followed.   Addressing the issue Monday on Radio Jamaica’s Beyond the Headlines, he argue that any programme aimed at violence prevention “has to be coordinated… has to go through a process of co-creation where all the partners are at the table.”   Furthermore, he said, with young people being the main perpetrators and victims of crime, “any intervention aimed at preventing crime… has to involve them.”   Sounding a rather pessimistic note however, he claimed that the government does not have a particularly good track record of coordination and consensus building involving “all the relevant players” in such interventions.    He added that, for the programme to be truly effective, there will have to be interventions in schools and communities.   The school-based approach is also being advocated by justice and equality advocate Horace Levy. He wants that approach to begin in primary schools, because of the trauma children of that age group have already experienced as witnesses to multiple killings.   “They need psychological support as a key element in the whole process,” he argued.   Some of the funds should also be used to support revitalization of targeted communities, he added.