*30 adolescents (5 girls and 25 boys) from the South Caribbean Coast region are participating in the sixth course.
Bluefields. The sixth course on Building and Plumbing with a Climate Change Focus was recently inaugurated in Bluefields in the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS). “The course provides opportunities to adolescents whose spaces and rights have been violated,” explained Shaira Downs Morgan, the coordinator of the RACCS government, during the course’s opening ceremony. “Our commitment as a government is for all adolescents to access a quality education and enjoy life with love and joyfulness.”
During the course’s opening event, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Nicaragua, Iván Yerovi, encouraged the adolescent participants to have a vision that looks to the future without being affected by adverse circumstances in the past. “UNICEF wants to give you an opportunity. This training is the start of a change in your lives,” he said, adding that “We would like to thank the national institutions for allowing us to be a part of this initiative. Without their openness we wouldn’t be here.”
The purpose of the training is to promote the development of technical competencies, entrepreneurship and life skills among out-of-school adolescents in Bluefields who are behind with their schooling and living in conditions of social vulnerability. The initiative is being promoted by the Regional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Directorate (DRASH) in alliances with the National Technological Institute (INATEC), the Juvenile Court, the National Police’s Juvenile Affairs Directorate and the Regional Youth Secretariat, with technical and financial support from UNICEF.
Emphasis on personal development and life skills
“I used to take drugs and drink alcohol, but this course has changed my life,” said Nestor Richards, who completed the fifth course. “Now I’m an intern working on the sixth course, which is improving me every day, and I’m here to help you finish (the course) as well.”
The adolescents face many social risks, whether due to being outside the school system, family disintegration, poverty, unemployment, the consumption of drugs and alcohol, or being in conflict with the law. For this reason, an important component of the course is the development of life skills that allow them to reincorporate themselves into society and have a life plan.
This is achieved through psychosocial accompaniment and addressing topics such as self-knowledge, self-esteem, assertive communication with their families, peaceful conflict resolution, interpersonal relations, the management of emotions, gender equity and new masculinities, among other issues and course methodologies.
“When adolescents know their rights and are given the means to succeed, they become agents of positive change in their families and communities,” explained DRASH director Inés Hernández.
Adolescents with work competencies
The course consists of a total of 360 hours, with 30% of the time dedicated to theory and 70% to practical work. It is given and certified by INATEC. As part of the teaching process, the participants build or repair water and sanitation works in schools and health units in Bluefields.
At the end of the course, the adolescents present projects for the creation of micro enterprises that provide plumbing and building services, enabling them to work and continue studying.
To date, USD 123,200 have been invested in the six courses held in the RACCS, which includes seed capital. Overall, nine courses have been held in the South and North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions between 2013 and 2016, with 265 adolescents (178 boys and 87 girls) successfully completing them. The total investment has been approximately USD 212,000.
The opening ceremony included the participation of local authorities and the coordinator of the Caribbean Coast Development Secretariat, Ramón Canales.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
Olga Moraga, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Nicaragua firstname.lastname@example.org.