OCG launches pro­gramme to up­lift young peo­ple

Jamaica Gleaner - - TODAY - Keisha Hill Gleaner Writer keisha.hill@glean­erjm.com

THE OF­FICE of the Con­trac­tor Gen­eral (OCG), mind­ful of the role that ed­u­ca­tion plays in the fight against cor­rup­tion, has part­nered with the United King­dom’s De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (DFID) in launch­ing a youth en­gage­ment and aware­ness pro­gramme to fos­ter trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity and in­tegrity in both pub­lic and pri­vate life.

The se­ries, to be un­der­taken over the 2016 to 2018 pe­riod, will be held un­der the theme ‘The Fight Against Cor­rup­tion Be­gins with You.’ It is en­vi­sioned that the youth pro­gramme will ed­u­cate and sen­si­tise youth be­tween the ages of 10 and 18 years on core eth­i­cal is­sues which con­cern mat­ters of cor­rup­tion, fraud and con­flict of in­ter­est.

Ac­cord­ing to Con­trac­tor Gen­eral Dirk Har­ri­son, although the OCG’s re­mit is re­stricted by law to mat­ters of gov­ern­ment con­tract­ing and pro­cure­ment, the work which has been ex­e­cuted over the years from its unique van­tage point has given rise to a recog­nised need to both ed­u­cate and re­ori­ent the views, per­cep­tions and so­ci­etal norms which af­fect the youth.

“We pas­sion­ately be­lieve that any longterm and sus­tain­able change will be driven by our fu­ture gen­er­a­tion. As such, youth aware­ness and in­volve­ment is at the very foun­da­tion of the OCG’s ed­u­ca­tional cam­paigns. The youth must be recog­nised as our fu­ture lead­ers who, if groomed to ac­cept cer­tain be­hav­iour as so­cial norms, will lead to the per­pet­u­a­tion of such be­hav­iour. There­fore, if we can reach our youth, then they can stand up for change,” Har­ri­son said.

Among the ini­tia­tives in­cluded in the pro­gramme

HAR­RI­SON

are ed­u­ca­tional cam­paigns at the prepara­tory, pri­mary and high-school lev­els across the is­land; so­cial me­dia/tech­nol­ogy en­gage­ments; com­mis­sion­ing of a sur­vey pro­gramme as­sess­ment de­signed to mea­sure views on cor­rup­tion; the es­tab­lish­ment of the anti-cor­rup­tion youth assem­bly; a de­bate com­pe­ti­tion; and a song and jin­gle com­pe­ti­tion.

EN­COUR­AGE YOUNG PEO­PLE

“The OCG be­lieves that the in­ter­ven­tions which we are em­bark­ing on will have a pos­i­tive im­pact on our youth and our so­ci­ety. This is not to say that we are naive in think­ing that the im­pact will be im­me­di­ate, but if the very foun­da­tion on which the fu­ture of our so­ci­ety is de­pen­dent can be moulded to do and think eth­i­cally and be grounded in in­tegrity, then Ja­maica has a very good chance of chang­ing how we think, how we are per­ceived and how we con­duct our busi­ness pro­cesses,” Har­ri­son said.

Over the years, the OCG has recog­nised the DFID as a strate­gic part­ner that has sup­ported their work and vi­sion and has lent sup­port to prior youth-ori­ented ini­tia­tives, such as the OCG’s es­say and poster com­pe­ti­tions and youth fora.

Har­ri­son sees the in­creased col­lab­o­ra­tion as a strength­en­ing of a mu­tual in­ter­est in ef­fect­ing fun­da­men­tal change in the minds and per­spec­tive of ci­ti­zens through the na­tion’s youth.

For David Os­borne, DFID coun­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Ja­maica at the Bri­tish High Com­mis­sion, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has a his­tory of sup­port­ing Ja­maica’s fight against cor­rup­tion, in­clud­ing sup­port­ing Ja­maica’s Ma­jor Anti-Cor­rup­tion Agency and the Fi­nan­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Divi­sion of the Min­istry of Fi­nance.

“We are sup­port­ing the OCG’s cam­paign to ed­u­cate, en­gage and in­form youth on the is­sue of cor­rup­tion. We are also pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to help build the OCG’s in-house ca­pac­ity to de­liver on its man­date to en­sure that the pub­lic-sec­tor pro­cure­ment process de­liv­ers value to the Ja­maican tax­payer, is merit based, is free from cor­rup­tion, im­pro­pri­ety and ir­reg­u­lar­ity, and is trans­par­ent, im­par­tial, com­pet­i­tive, fair, ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive,” Os­borne said.

Both en­ti­ties hope that the pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign will build a greater un­der­stand­ing among Ja­maica’s youth of cor­rup­tion, its causes and con­se­quences, and en­cour­age young peo­ple to mo­bilise and pre­vent cor­rup­tion.

The OCG/DFID ‘Fight Against Cor­rup­tion Be­gins With You’ cam­paign will be launched on Mon­day, Novem­ber 21, at the Mona High School.

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