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Representatives from BFLA, the Education Department, Northern Regional Hospital, Police Department and other stakeholders were involved in a National Youth Consultation carried out here in Orange Walk today. The consultation is the first of three to be carried out over the next three days.

Christine Smith is the National Director of Youth for the Future and says the main objective is to produce a youth policy that will deal with the aspects of youth involvement in our education, health, leisure and sport.

smithChristine Smith- National Director Youth for the Future

“We’re looking at; the whole purpose of the National Youth Policy is to developed a document that clearly states what the entire country wants for the young people of this country as it relates to education, health and involvement in leisure and other sporting activities, providing opportunities for them to govern themselves in the form of a youth council or look in the leadership of any youth group. So it is document that looks at positive youth development and what do us as a nation need to do to ensure that our people have given enough opportunities to grow into productive citizens.”

So far consultations have been carried out in Toledo, Stann Creek and Cayo. All stakeholders are embracing the initiative as it gives them an opportunity to be involved in the production of such an important document.

Christine Smith- National Director Youth for the Future

“What stakeholder and young people are saying is that they embrace the opportunity and this process because they see it as something that is vital for us as a country.”

Yari Catzim- Reporter

“What is their input so far?”

Christine Smith- National Director Youth for the Future

“Their input has been great so far everywhere that I go they say that we need to work together as a community and not as different organization, yes every organization will have their different opinions but we must all be feeding into a general objective.”

The consultations continue tomorrow with sessions to be held with youth between ages 14-19, on Sunday with youths between ages 20-29 and on Monday an open session will be held for everyone else. The documents first draft is to be ready by mid-August.

Christine Smith- National Director Youth for the Future

“We will be finished with all the consultations by the end of July because next weekend we go to Corozal and from there we head to Belize City and then the keys. We are hoping to have the first draft of the document by August 15th and then we will do a second round where we will present this draft to the stakeholders for their feedback and them we go back and put in whatever comments or suggestions they might have so that we can present he final document.”

Before the youth policy is ready to be released a second round of consultations will be carried out to get feedback from all stakeholders.

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