U.S. Embassy, PADF and OAS Launch New Project on Youth Development and Juvenile Justice in Suriname

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Paramaribo, Suriname (May 2, 2013) – The United States and Suriname launched today the “Youth Development and Juvenile Justice in Suriname”project, a three-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and facilitated by the Organization of American States (OAS).

Through the project, PADF will focus on two complementary components:  (1) Provision of youth access to employment and vocational education and related opportunities, which will include grants to local organizations for a wide variety of preventive and support services targeting Youth; and (2) Support the modernization of the juvenile justice system so it continues to be more responsive to the rehabilitative needs of youth offenders.  The project will work in partnership with the Government of Suriname, local NGOs, the business community and other donor organizations to address the growing problems of at-risk youth.

The government of Suriname was represented at the launch by Minister of Sport and Youth Ismanto Adna and other officials. Also present was Assistant Secretary General of the OAS Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, and PADF Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Judith Hermanson.

U. S. Ambassador Jay Anania stated at the event, “The U.S. government is very pleased to be supporting youth development in Suriname.” He also thanked the many organizations and individuals who readily partnered with USAID and PADF to develop the project objectives and went on to say “We appreciate your commitment and engagement to work with us to advance the Youth Development and Juvenile Justice project. We need to be an example to our youth of how to work together because we are always much more effective than working independently.”

Ambassador Ramdin, who is also Vice Chairman of the PADF Board of Trustees, said, “This is a concrete initiative which can tangibly improve the quality of life and future opportunities for the youth of Suriname. We are committed to working together on this.”

Activities under the “Youth Development and Juvenile Justice in Suriname” include mentorship and internship opportunities for at-risk-youth, engagement of employers to develop networks for “matchmaking” jobs with unemployed youth and tailored training opportunities. The juvenile justice component of the program will include assisting in the development of key legislation and regulations, and the provision of grants to local groups working with youth who have been in conflict with the law to prepare them to successfully reintegrate into society as productive law-abiding citizens.

“Investing in Suriname’s youth and addressing some of the main issues that affect them will directly impact the role they play in the future development of this country,” said Dr. Hermanson. “PADF is committed to working with the government of Suriname and other partners to focus attention and provide solutions to the challenges that at-risk youth face.”

About PADF

PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2012, it helped more than 10 million people in 29 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and Suriname, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. www.padf.org