Recognizing opportunities for Caribbean nationals in the multi-million dollar online freelancing industry and the increasing number of online jobs available, JJRP and Internet Income Jamaica Ltd. developed a partnership to implement the Digital Jobs initiative. This initiative provides digital entrepreneurship training to young people from 16 to 29 years of age in the six independent OECS Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. For the second phase, a robust mentorship element has been integrated, which will provide guidance and support to the youth participants.
The first phase of the Digital Jobs Initiative was conducted from October to December with 35 young people graduating. Ashaki Cochrane from Antigua & Barbuda, one of the graduates from the first phase had been an unemployed mother, trying desperately to make ends meet prior to joining the program. While still enrolled in the training, Ashaki advertised her skills in her community and online, and was able to earn EC$740 over a two-month period, creating flyers and stickers for clients. Sharing a bit about her experience, Ashaki said that she thoroughly enjoyed her time spent in the programme and if offered, she would happily enroll in another similar programme with this group. She reflected,
"This programme has opened my eyes to so many opportunities I didn't know existed, and I am very grateful for the time, patience and support I received.”
Speaking on the benefits and value of this programme, USAID/OECS JJRP II Technical Specialist, Shahini Gravillis said,
“Given the limited job opportunities across the OECS for young people, we aim to be a part of the solution by empowering our young people with the skills necessary to be gainfully employed by obtaining access to the digital world. This cohort of 141 young people contributes to the achievement of the third pillar of the JJRP II, that of reintegration. Reintegration is a critical step towards providing the foundation for a child to gain stability and consistency in life post their experience in the justice system. To this end, youth from the target population received the training and expertise necessary to gain employment for financial sustainability and security. “
About OECS/USAID Juvenile Justice Reform Project Phase II (JJRP)
The Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) Phase II, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and being implemented by the OECS Commission, deals specifically with children in conflict with the law and the provision of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration mechanisms for assisting children in the six (6) OECS independent Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Over the four years of JJRP Phase II, some key achievements include:
- Child Justice legislation passed in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
- A legacy model and framework to guide the use of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration has been developed and is being adopted in all of the countries.
- Diversion and rehabilitation options being actively supported within partner countries.
- Since 2016, over 440 children have been diverted/given alternatives from arrest or custodial sentences.
- Over 220 children in conflict with the law completed Aggression Replacement Training (ART®).
- Over 1,400 service providers have been trained to improve the diversion, rehabilitation, and reintegration services provided to children in conflict with the law and their families.