by David Nieto
In the summer of 2018, the United Nations Mission for the Support of Justice in Haiti (UNMIJUSTH) launched “Jenès la Avni” ("Youth is the Future"), an innovative project for professional accompaniment, job creation and the facilitation of entrepreneurship initiatives among 230 (130 boys and 100 girls) young people at risk in Cap-Haïtien commune (North). The Mission teamed up with the non-profit organization AVSI to implement the project. Officer in counseling and work support at AVSI, the psychologist Georgeline Jean recounts her involvement with this 12-month project, which is part of the UNMUJUSTH Community Violence Reduction (CVR) program.
As a psychologist, what is your role in supporting young people towards employment?
Georgeline Jean: I have always loved organizational psychology, work-related issues, staff management and youth orientation. As a psychologist, I can understand their situation, their needs, but especially their personality.
The youth we work with have often been direct or indirect victims of violence. They need a psychologist to explain their situation. Only from there, we can identify the themes that will be the most appropriate to address with each one of them. It requires developing personal skills, but also managing emotions better ...
In terms of youth orientation, what is the goal of the "Youth is the Future" project?
G. J.: The objective of AVSI is to orient these young people towards activities that may be related not only to their personality but also to the structure of the area where they live. I prepare trainings that help youth identify and develop personal skills. The famous life skills that can help them in their daily lives.
For projects such as "Youth is the Future", linked to UNMUJUSTH's Community Violence Reduction Program (CVR), we are working with youth in vulnerable situations. This orientation and work training can help them recover from the tragedies they may have experienced. Every time I see a young person succeed, it also helps me grow professionally. Working with youth is personal development.
Overall, what is the state of mind of these young people?
G. J.: They personally choose the professional training they enroll in. So they are always very motivated and happy. Then, we give them professional certificates. It's always a highlight for them.
What follow-up can you provide as a result of professional training?
G. J.: As much as possible, we help youth find internships in institutions or companies, according to their desires; to what they want to do. We can also encourage some of them to start their own businesses! We accompany them through the personal process but also the administrative process ... But not all youth are necessarily made for business creation!
We more often invite the youth to start cooperative activities. It is a real challenge because it requires collaborating with others. Of course, setting up such cooperatives is more complicated than starting your own business. But cooperatives generate more profit, early on benefits and advantages compared to starting your own business. This is why I often recommend the youth to start cooperative activities. In case of loss such as money, failure in activities or something going wrong, the youth is more protected. In case of difficulties, they do not lose everything when they work in a cooperative. And there are more ways to get up then; to be successful and start again!