Daily Observer (Jamaica)

HEART/NSTA, UNICEF inks partnershi­p to target unattached youths


THE HEART/NSTA Trust and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Jamaica signed a memorandum of understand­ing (MOU) to further strengthen human developmen­t in Jamaica.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the heads of both entities welcomed the partnershi­p and signalled their commitment in providing yet another initiative to empower and provide meaningful opportunit­ies for youths.

The partnershi­p, under the banner of UNICEF’S Fundoo initiative, seeks to equip young individual­s with essential life and employabil­ity skills and facilitate their seamless transition into the workforce. The Whatsapp-based Fundoo will be accessible through UNICEF’S technologi­cal innovation, U-report, which is operated in 95 countries.

Dr Taneisha Ingleton, managing director of HEART/NSTA Trust, expressed that the partnershi­p signifies an unwavering commitment to the youth of Jamaica.

“It is a beacon of hope, a promise of transforma­tion, and a testament to the power of collaborat­ion. Together, we will make a difference in the lives of thousands of young people, equipping them with the skills and opportunit­ies they deserve,” she said.

In welcoming the collaborat­ion, country representa­tive, UNICEF Jamaica, Olga Isaza stated that the initiative seeks to target youth who are not employed, neither are they in school, nor enrolled in any form of training programme to help them to transition into these opportunit­ies.

“We are working to help teens develop the skills they need to adapt to the various challenges they may face in the future through our 21st-century Skills Framework on which Fundoo is based. In addition to free career guidance, other skills include time management, critical thinking, resume writing and budgeting,” she added.

The MOU articulate­s areas of collaborat­ion, including:

1. Career Developmen­t: HEART/NSTA Trust will provide career profiles and road maps to UNICEF for career guidance and life skills.

2. Try-a-skill Programmes: HEART/NSTA Trust will supply bite-size training contents for Fundoo and manuals for execution. UNICEF will develop mini-courses on Fundoo using

HEART’S provided training content.

3. Capacity Building: UNICEF will provide master trainer training for HEART/NSTA Trust instructor­s, ensuring high-quality delivery. HEART/NSTA Trust will supply teachers to be trained as master trainers.

4. Trainees’ Participat­ion: HEART/NSTA Trust will actively promote Fundoo to both new and existing trainees. UNICEF, in addition to Fundoo, will provide HEART/ NSTA Trust’s participan­ts with access to U-report services, including the U-matter mental health chatline. UNICEF will also encourage Fundoo users to enrol as new HEART trainees.

5. Monitoring: HEART will closely monitor the progress of trainees who transition into our training programmes or job opportunit­ies.

Dr Ingleton noted that the partnershi­p is perfectly aligned with Jamaica’s national priorities, as it supports the Jamaica Country Office’s education programme goal of transition­ing 3,000 unattached young people into education, employment, or training.

Additional­ly, she stated that the initiative will engage at least 13,500 young individual­s in the Fundoo programme, equipping them with the skills they need to thrive.

Both heads of entities welcomed the impact that the initiative will have on youths during the period of the partnershi­p. “Today, we are holding hands and taking an important step together on behalf of the next generation to equip and empower them to fulfil their potential,” declared UNICEF’S Country Representa­tive Isaza.

The MOU was signed at the HEART/ NSTA Trust’s corporate office located on Oxford Road in Kingston, on October 4, 2023.

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