Project Description: The PreJuve Regional Project, also known as the Youth Violence Prevention Project, is a comprehensive security and violence prevention project that affects children, adolescents, and youths in SICA countries.
In 2015 Belize signed on to the PreJuve Regional Project which is funded by UNDP and the Spanish government. It seeks to contribute to the improvement of citizen security within the Central American region by reducing factors associated with insecurity and violence.
Aims: The project aims at working in three key results dimensions prioritized within SICA’s Central American Security Strategy:
1. Support the formulation of a comprehensive citizen security policy for Belize, ensuring linkages between this national policy and regional priorities.
2. Support the development and implementation of plans and institutional capacities to improve social violence prevention, with emphasis on socially vulnerable populations and territories with the highest incidence of crime.
3. Contribute to Belize’s participation in a regional Innovation Laboratory which seeks to promote the generation, exchange, systemization, and adaptation of creative and innovative approaches to citizen security as an alternative to current approaches and interventions.
PreJuve in Belize: Under this project, Belize has engaged in secondary and tertiary prevention and intervention activities in line with building institutional plans and capacities. In terms of a larger framework, a Citizen Security Plan will be developed. As of September 2017, a Terms of Reference has been drafted and is awaiting feedback and approval from UNDP.
Secondary Prevention: Identifies and addresses the risk factors and early warning signs of the populations of society affected by social, cultural, and environmental factors that predispose them to come into contact with the law.
- In late 2016, a specialized family mediation training course was offered at the University of West Indies. 15 participants were funded through RESTORE Belize and were sworn-in at the start of 2017. They are now available as Court Connected Family Mediators. Family mediation is sought as a first option in the courts to reduce the overload of cases, resolving them before they are presented to the magistrate.
- The Conscious Youth Development Programme (CYDP) was staffed with an experienced caseworker and is preparing to hire a part-time Educational Support officer who will assist clients with tutoring, school assignments, study skills, and placement in schools. Additionally, the programme’s drop-in center has reported positive results, and students regularly attend field trips to national landmarks and historical sites.
- The Department of Youth Services’ (DYS) Mayflower Youth Center has been equipped with online materials and technical support to aid adolescents who have dropped out of high school in earning their degrees. Through the drop-in center, students recently completed a hospitality and food preparation course which should help them secure jobs in this field.
Tertiary Prevention: Actions emphasize rehabilitation and reintegration of people who have been in contact with the law.
- In 2016, Wagner’s Youth Facility began engaging inmates in evening and weekend activities. The project has supported additional staffing and capacity enhancements in the Community Rehabilitation Department. Furthermore, job preparedness skills are being built in Wagner’s Youth Facility through the Belize Training and Employment Center. Residents of the Princess Royal Youth Hostel have been engaging in weekend programming as well.