The U. S. Embassy to Belize recognized 4 youth groups at an event yesterday for outstanding work in their community. From Sexual health information dissemination, to environmentally green initiatives, to community rehabilitation, the U. S. Embassy assisted each group with professional mentorship and a modest grant of a thousand dollars for a 2 month project. US Ambassador to Belize Carlos Moreno explained more about Belize Youth Leadership Initiative Project.
“My staff at the embassy participated in all of the efforts. I participated, personally, in two of those; one involving the repainting and the rehabilitation of the community centre in the village of Armenia and a couple of weeks later, I participated with a number of other groups in doing a river clean up in the Succotz Village along the Belize River. Both of those projects I found to be personally rewarding, but more importantly I found the fact that the idea for these specific projects originated with the kids themselves. It has been said that the future of Belize and really the future of any country is in the hands of its youth. That is so much the case with respect to these particular group with these particular projects. “
Beneficiaries to this initiative included Path light international, Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) youth group, the Belize Advocacy Movement, BFLA Belize City and the Belize Advocacy Movement, BFLA Dangriga. YAM Dangriga centered their 2 month project on community raising sexual health awareness to prevent and reduce teenage pregnancy. The President of the Youth Group Antoniette Muñoz, is a young mother herself.
“Being a part of the group was a big help because I gained trust from the other youths and they take my advice because they see me going through it. They see myself as them in their footstep and I see myself as them in their footstep. Teenage pregnancy is a big thing in Dangriga because we have kids as young as 9 – 10 being young mothers. So it was a big heads up or a start to the youths because I was admired by a lot. I didn’t give up. I am still going to school, so it is good. “
“We had three major activities. We had our Facebook page, we had our Safe Tech service and we also has a video diary done in Independence Village. It kinda gave people a reality check as to what risky sexual behavior leads to; like teenage pregnancy, STD’s and those things.
Emanuel Pech – Plus T.V Reporter
” What was the response you guys got? I know that guys hit some of the schools in Belize City.”
“We visited several schools in Belize City. We went to Wesley Junior College on the South Side and Nazarene on the North Side. We also had several high schools from the south side of Belize City; Gwen Lizarraga, Maud Williams and Anglican Cathedral College. Our page got – our target was 500 likes. We had in excess of 507 likes . Our Text Subscription had at least 213 subscribers so we were very visible. The committee was well aware of our initiative and what we were trying to do.
The friends for conservation and Development (FCD) youth group organized an initiative to build a sustainable plant nursery in a reforestation initiative.
Nidia Panti – FCD Youth Group, President
“Our activity had three components. One of the components, as the name implies, we are to construct a plant nursery. The location for it will be on the San Jose Succotz School grounds in the village of San Jose Succtoz. A second part to this project would be the reforestation activities. So we will, by the end of December try to sell 100 to 150 seedlings and to donate to schools as well. Another part of the p
roject is to do a riverside cleanup campaign which was successfully completed with the help of the U.S Embassy. We had other groups joining us as well; from the Retract we had the UB Environmental Club, the House of Culture in Benque, the Cadets and all the other groups which we are grateful for them joining us on this event.
H.E. Carlos Moreno
“The ideas came from the groups getting together and deciding what in their opinion would best serve the community and what would best improve the community. These are communities where the youth live and I think it is commendable that they saw it for themselves and decided for themselves what they wanted to do. The role of the embassy in designing the project was really in material. We simply decided to support the groups and the projects that they wanted to get behind.”