Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde.
Government’s ‘Building Blocks’ project to start on Monday
Government’s “Building Blocks” project, which seeks to give “guys on the block” an opportunity to become entrepreneurs, is due to start on Monday in the Brittons Hill, St. Michael community.
Word of this has come from Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde, who says he has visited a ‘block’ in all 30 constituencies across Barbados ahead of the commencement of the project, to hear directly from young people what they desire.
He meanwhile notes that the programme has been developed as a means to provide a comprehensive, community-based, social intervention strategy to address the problems of unemployment amongst youth, and the high incidents of crime and violence being witnessed across local communities.
“Recognising that thirty per cent of young persons are unemployed, recognising that those on the blocks feel that they have a sense of entitlement to be there, recognising that they certainly don’t operate in silos, they are part of society, they are a vulnerable sector in society, recognising that over the years their voices were not heard and that action was not commenced to service their basic needs, we decided in the Ministry to provide a programme to empower these young people,” the Minister explained.
“The last Tracer Survey that we did in the Ministry, suggested that seventy per cent of our young people, of them who lime on the block, have an unequivocal desire to be entrepreneurs. They want to have their own businesses, they want to have a tangible state in what happens in this country. And so, we as a government, recognising that the moral test is how we treat to our most vulnerable, we have responded by starting (the) Building Blocks Project and Programme,” Forde added.
“They say it takes nine months to get a baby. Well, we in the Ministry are proud parents, because the birth of the Block Project will really start next week Monday at the Bonnetts/Brittons Hill Community Centre,” he further commented, acknowledging that the exercise in data gathering initially got started last July.
Acknowledging that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has allocated $3 million towards the programme, he noted that other Ministries will be brought on board to assist in reconstructing the blocks and the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme will assist in designing and delivering the programmes for the youth.
“We are going to have a programme that teaches these young people business, entrepreneurship, book keeping, accounts. There is going to be a course in resiliency, psychological courses will be taught, courses in social behaviour, ethics and citizenship. There is going to be a holistic building out of our young people,” Forde said.