NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – The following is an address by Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister of Youth in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on the occasion of Youth Month 2021 which commences on April 01.
Fellow citizens and residents, the pleasure is mine to greet you on the occasion of Youth Month, 2021. Annually, the Department of Youth within the Ministry of Social Development, seeks to celebrate all young people during the month of April, and this year despite the challenges, our young people will receive their much-deserved attention by the Nevis Island Administration.
If you would recall, at this time last year the island was experiencing some unprecedented issues related to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions that resulted including lock downs prevented us from mounting any meaningful activities for Youth Month 2020, and therefore the activities had to be drastically curtailed. Even though things are still far from being normal again, we are happy that we are able to celebrate Youth Month for 2021.
This year, for the observance of Youth Month, the Department has opted to focus its attention on climate change and its effects on the environment. For this reason, the theme for this year’s celebration is “Restore the Earth”.
The theme reminds us that climate change and other factors that contribute to environmental degradation have severely broken our natural systems. The sea levels are rising; hurricanes are taking place more frequently and are becoming more intense; animals are becoming extinct; temperatures are rising; droughts are becoming more frequent and more severe and the patterns of rainfall have drastically changed.
Despite what some persons may think, climate change is real and it deserves very serious attention. On this note, WE MUST RESTORE OUR EARTH! We must restore our earth not just because we care about the natural world but because we live in it; it is our home. Each one of us needs a healthy earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health, survival and happiness. The truth is a healthy planet is not an option – it is a necessity!
Throughout this month, the Department of Youth will be hosting a number of activities which will bring the theme into sharper focus. With all that has taken place over the past 12 months together with the numerous challenges facing our young people at this time, we will recognize Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th April as Youth Days of Prayer. We have invited the churches to recognize the days with us.
We are calling on all churches to join in prayer for our young people as well as for our planet. Members of staff of the department will worship at the St. Georges Anglican Church on Sunday April 4th, Easter Sunday at 7.00 a.m.
Other activities for the month include a Youth Beach Games on Easter Monday April 5th, 30-day climate action challenge and a Moonlight Walk.
Aside from the activities relating to climate action, the department will also focus its attention on capacity building of youth groups. Unfortunately, most of our youth groups are generally weak and are therefore in need of capacity building sessions. Registered youth groups will benefit from training programmes related to First Aid and Positive Youth Development.
With its sister department on St. Kitts, the Department will be launching a Youth Capacity Building Project, which has gained the financial stamp of approval from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants’ Program.
For this project, a select cadre of registered youth groups will benefit from an audit and undergo training sessions related to good governance and accountability compliance. The select groups will also benefit from the implementation of their sustainable development project. I take this opportunity to admonish all youth groups to register with the Department of Youth to be able to benefit from the offerings of the Department.
I wish at this time to encourage all of our young people to participate in the activities of youth month 2021. They were designed with you in mind. I must also encourage those who are not so young to support our young people in their meaningful endeavours.
I also take this opportunity to laud the efforts of the Director and staff of the Department of Youth for their consistent work in ensuring that meaningful programmes and initiatives are planned and executed to positively impact the lives of our young people.
As we celebrate Youth Month, let us all challenge ourselves to adopt more eco-friendly practices in efforts of combatting climate change and restoring our earth. Let us all pledge during this month and for the rest of 2021 to combine our forces to Restore The Earth. Happy Youth Month 2021 and May God Bless us all!