In Trinidad and Tobago, there are approximately 450,556 young people between the ages of 12 and 29. This represents some thirty-four point two (34.2) per cent of the national population with males outnumbering females by fifty-one (51) per cent to forty-nine (49) per cent.
The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, as the coordinating Agency for youth development in Trinidad and Tobago, continues to consult and partner with our young people, youth workers and other youth stakeholders to address youth development matters, e.g. in the following areas: policy development, conceptualising and implementing programmes, interventions and services as well as representing our country on regional and international levels.
Model of Intervention
The Ministry’s model of intervention with respect to youth development includes the following:
- Direct Youth Service Delivery
- Partnership with relevant Organizations and Agencies (local, regional and international)
- Representing the Ministry on Committees that are examining youth issues
- Establishing Committees to examine specific youth issues
- Contracting the services of Consultants and Service Providers, with a track record in Youth Development and Related Work
- Providing Expert Advice on Youth Development Matters
- The provision of subventions and grant funding
It should be noted that the Youth Division operates within a Ministry which is focusing on the following strategic priorities:
- Partnering and collaborating with stakeholders in the sector
- Generating research
- Strengthening legislative frameworks to enable development
- Human Resource Planning and Development
- Delivery of quality, evidence-based programmes
- Monitoring and evaluating to ensure delivery of quality services which meet intended targets
- Strengthening the ICT culture
- Creating and strengthening effective institutional arrangements
Investment in Youth
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago holds fast to the tenet that there must be investment in youth. The Government’s investment is not only economic, but social, educational and even relational. When the Government invests in young men and women, they are in fact providing them with the power to change their lives and impact the lives of those around them (youth empowerment).
Investment in youth therefore is an on-going process that involves continuous review of current legislation and programming. We continuously re-examine our national youth delivery system, inclusive of facilities and human resources, and seek to modernise and re-engineer to ensure that we administer an integrated, coordinated, relevant youth-centred, youth-friendly delivery system that serves the current and emerging needs of all our youth.
The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs is also mandated to advance youth development on local, regional and international levels.
Challenges of Youth
Some of the key challenges that our young people face include health issues such as HIV and AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, vehicle accidents, teenage pregnancy, sexual exploitation, attempted suicide, mental health issues, as well as gender-based violence, unemployment, low academic achievement, school drop-out, youth disengagement, school violence, bullying, youth gangs, youth crime, violence and delinquency.