Project Description: In 2015 Belize signed on to the PreJuve Regional Project, also known as the Youth Violence Prevention Project, which seeks to contribute to the improvement of citizen security within the Central American region by reducing factors associated with insecurity and violence in SICA countries. This comprehensive security and violence prevention project is funded by UNDP and the Spanish government and is entering its final phase.
Aims: The project prioritizes the following 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.
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.
- Two specialized family mediation training courses were offered at the University of West Indies. The first session comprised Belize City participants in 2016, and the second, held in 2017, was expanded to include a pool of professionals all across the country. The participants have been sworn in and 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. More information on family mediation is available on the Conflict Mediation Programme Page here and in the Latest News section of the website here.
- RESTORE Belize supported the Conscious Youth Development Programme’s drop-in centre in the first half of 2018 by providing meals to students and funding workshops facilitated by Belize Training and Employment Center (BTEC). Regular visitors to the drop-in centre went on quarterly visits to historical, cultural and educational sites as an incentive to utilize the centre’s services such as help with homework and life skills talks and trainings.
- 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. Many students do not otherwise have access to the internet, so they regularly utilize the computers and safe and quiet space at the center to complete their homework. RESTORE Belize hired Mr. Joseph Stamp, founder of Youth Advocacy Through Arts (YATA), to train children in performing arts and hold performances to showcase what the children learned.
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.
Peace Education: In 2017 three Belizeans joined professionals from SICA countries to complete an online Peace Education Training Programme through El Salvador. Upon completion of the programme, the newly trained professionals then trained others in their countries. The programme aimed to foster a culture of peace by establishing peace education within workplaces and encouraging knowledge transfer.
Citizen Security Policy & Plan: The PreJuve Project is entering its final phase: the Citizen Security Policy and Plan. A regional consultant group has already conducted interviews with key informants, including unions, CEOs, Opposition members, and government M&E personnel, and a two day consultation was planned for September 2018 to draft a theory of change that describes Belize's path forward in improving citizen security.
The first phase of the PreJuve Regional Project will be completed with a regional workshop in November of 2018. Participating countries will present at the workshop on the progress and achievements made under this project.