On Thursday, September 10th, five students of the Saba Comprehensive School presented the Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Rolando Wilson, and the Island Secretary Tim Muller, each with a copy of the youth advice which came out of the UNICEF #MyNewWorld deliberations held earlier this month. Also present was Ms. Lysanne Charles, who facilitated the focus groups and supported the students with formulating their advice.
Priority subjects were Education, Sports, Youth Representation, and Agriculture. In the area of Education, the youth would like to see more ties with US-based education systems, since many would want to further their studies there and sometimes miss opportunities because the current education system is quite different. They also requested that the government facilitate easier access to the SATs and the acquisition of student visas. As it pertained to Sports, the youngsters highlighted the need for professionalization so that they could benefit better from sporting activities in terms of wins and stats for use at a college level. The group also encouraged the government officials to find a way for the advice of young people to be heard on a structural basis through a youth representative body. Finally, they urged the government to promote Agriculture on the island by starting with children at very young ages. After the presentation, the students sat with the members of the Executive Council and spoke about the process they had been through and also their future plans.
UNICEF launched the project “My New World” in the Netherlands and on Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba. Dozens of adolescents have given thought to the question of what their ideal world should look like after the corona crisis. Their answers to this question have been incorporated in the advice that the adolescents will present to the local authorities and the Dutch government.
In November, the participating youngsters from the Caribbean Netherlands will discuss their advice via a live video connection with representatives of the local and national governments. The young people will prepare for these conversations by participating in debate and lobby training and debate practice sessions with young people from other islands.