EFS forms Community Youth Advisory Committees in the North Caribbean Autonomous Region

15 December 2016

This week, FADCANIC formed three community youth advisory committees, known as CAYACs, that will be supporting the implementation of the Education for Success (EFS) Program in the North Caribbean Autonomous Region (RACCN) during the 2017-2019 period of implementation. 

EFS CAYACs are constituted by volunteers with an interest and experience working for youth development in their communities. In the Education for Success Program, which FADCANIC implements with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to build work, study, and life skills of at risk children and youth, CAYAC members identify and select program beneficiaries and follow their participation closely to help each youth take best advantage of EFS services. They also work closely with EFS promoters to build alliances with local public and private organizations to help the youth trained by the program to get decent jobs and engage in positive social activities that enhance citizen security in the community.

The EFS program operates in the South Caribbean Autonomous Region (RACCs) since 2010 and as of October 2016, it also been extended to the RACCN municipalities of Puerto Cabezas, Prinzapolka, and Waspam. Each of these municipalities is to have their respective CAYAC, all formed over the past days in the municipal seats of Bilwi, Alamikamba, and Waspam through communal meetings attended by local leaders.

Bilwi is the main urban center in the RACCN. The Bilwi CAYAC was elected on December 9 in Barrio Nueva Jerusalen, which is one of the city´s largest and most marginalized neighborhoods. The neighborhood has 10 schools that will be attending EFS primary and secondary scholarship recipients over the next two years. The new Bilwi CAYAC has six members including three youth, and it will be coordinated by the secondary school director of the Nueva Jerusalen Institute.

The Alamikamba CAYAC was elected on December 12 and it integrates seven members, including teachers, youth, religious leaders and community elders. Alamikamba is a small river port, located some 200 km south of Bilwi and it is the seat of the indigenous municipality of Prinzapolka, which is one of the poorest and most isolated areas in the country. Here EFS aims to serve children and youth from 11 ethnic Miskitu communities.

Most of the population of Waspam, on the border with Honduras, is ethnic Miskitu too, but there is also a tiny minority of indigenous Mayangna. Here again, social infrastructure is so severely lacking there is only one center offering all five years of secondary education in the entire municipality. That is the Once de Septiembre National Institute, located in the Town of Waspam, and whose principal will also be integrating the EFS CAYAC formed December 14 with eight members.

The school was vandalized earlier this year in what, according to locals, is a wave of youth delinquency that has been growing over the past few years. The deputy mayor of Waspam Celestina Padilla was at the the town meeting that elected the new Waspam CAYAC on Thursday. She summarized the sentiment expressed by local leaders in all three municipalities, highlighting the timely arrival of the EFS initiative to the region.

“This is a most welcome project, offering a comprehensive range of support for youth development, that is coming to help us at a time,” said Ms. Padilla, “when we need all the help we can get to revert this tide of vice and violence that is crippling the future of our youth, our families and our communities. It is an opportunity we are all ready and happy to embrace with whatever small means we have at our disposal.”

The three Community At-Risk Youth Advisory Committees formed this week in the RACCN raises to 28 the total number of CAYACs that FADCANIC has formed since 2010. Together they now count 188 volunteer members currently active in both the North and South Autonomous Regions supporting the EFS activities.

Education for Success is a US$ 9.07 million activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a nine year period. By March 2019, EFS will have benefitted 7,486 children and youth age 10 to 29 in eight coastal municipalities in the RACCS and RACCN, with primary and secondary scholarships, technical and vocational education, and sports, arts and music-based life skills education. For more information, please contact EFS Coordinator Hazel Wilson Nash at hwilson@fadcanic.org.ni