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‘Listen Up’ Youth Discussion Series Tackles Gender-based Violence

Last month, we told you about the You, Me, Us Youth Saloon - a social-emotional learning project geared toward putting youth at the forefront of solving community-level issues. 23 young Bahamians have come to the forefront to shed light on the rising issue of gender-based violence (GBV).

We are elated to announce the launch of the “Listen Up’ Video series. The youth-led discussion based series offers compelling conversation, clear definitions and an ask-the-expert model to educate the Bahamian public on gender-based violence.

To date, two of the three videos in the series have been premiered.

Video 1 - Defining Gender-based Violence features a riveting conversation between Listen Up participants and Nia Bethel-Sears, representing Equality Bahamas. Nia takes us through the fundamentals of gender-based violence that are important for members of the community to be aware of.

Video 2- Intimate Partner Violence features special guest Chauntez Dillet-Wilson, of the Crisis Center. She gives very helpful information and definitions on domestic violence and abuse and practical information on how persons needing help can get in. (Always remember that the Bahamas Crisis Centre has a 24-hour Help line at 328-0922).

Video 3 will air shortly. While it isn’t the easiest topic to discuss, we applaud of young people and hope you share the series to help them raise awareness!

ORG 2022 Summer Interns promote Active Citizenship

This month, we proudly welcomed our first cohort of summer interns. In partnership with the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture's summer employment program - ORG recruited three young and talented Bahamians to support our programs that promote active citizenship.

Under the leadership of Tayte Adderley, our Engagement Program Manager - each our of interns are working through projects to tool Bahamian citizens to ‘Get informed & Get Involved’!

Shakynuh Sands is an Education Major at the University of The Bahamas (UB) working on ORG’s ongoing public education series for our social media platforms.

Javonne Cumberbatch is studying Computer Information Systems at UB is working on ORG’s Citizen Solution Center platform & website.

Gary Rolle III holds a Bachelor of Law degree and will receive his Legal Education Certificate in September, both from the Eugene Dupuch Law School. He is working on our National Outreach Campaign for Active Citizens.

Tayte commented "We are very grateful to have our summer interns join us. When we envisioned launching ORG's internship program, we know that the potential of expanding our impact was great - Shakynuh, Javonne & Gary have done just that!"

As ORG prepared to embark on a new campaign "Active Citizens Bahamas" that will reach Bahamians around the country, engaging them in conversation around collective action and self-determination, our interns are setting the pace for the mark we hope to leave.

ORG says a public thank you to three trailblazers for their contributions thus far!

If you're interested in an ORG intership, email us at [email protected]!

Congratulations to Steffon, ORG’s First Assistant Director

The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) is again strengthening its leadership team with the promotion of Steffon Evans from Engagement Coordinator to Assistant Director- a new position in the non-governmental organizational structure.

As Assistant Director, Evans will work to increase stakeholder involvement with ORG and to enhance productivity and ensure compliance with rules and regulations. Evans, who has a background in not-for-profit leadership and community organizing says he is excited to use his talents and expertise in the reach of ORG’s short and long-term goals

Evans will lead various tasks specific to ORG’s maximization, productivity, and employee satisfaction. He will manage the ORG Engagement function and support the Executive Director in departmental planning and monitoring progress.

“As a young Bahamian professional, embracing this new role is both humbling and exciting,” said Evans. “I’m convinced that our work at ORG will empower communities and strengthen the fabrics of the Bahamian society. I am committed to helping the public accept that there is hope for a brighter future, and that there are several community projects we run in which anyone can get involved.” Matt Aubry, ORG’s Executive Director, expressed that ORG’s Board and team are proud of the strong and innovative impact Steffon has achieved over the past few years as Engagement Coordinator. “Steffon has fostered meaningful citizen engagement with governance. He has demonstrated a dedication to ensuring that our programs are accessible and relevant to the widest range of citizens across the archipelago,”

Aubry added, “In his new role, we are confident that Steffon will expand his influence and leadership to contribute to the sustainability of ORG's mission and the accessibility and relevance of our programs."

Evans states “ORG’s work is driving accountable governance; empowering citizens; bolstering economic growth; promoting better, more equitable education for all and building capacity for other non-governmental organizations to continue to improve the lives of Bahamian people,” Evans noted. “This work matters, and I’ll do my best to further our core message that encourages Bahamians to “Get informed and Get involved!”

National Play Date - At Home!

Supporting Families At Home

Like everyone else,  ORG is sheltering in place but continuing to work to bring you important information and to transform our programs to be more accessible remotely.

Our National Playdate Program is an early childhood development initiative designed to bring families together for community, mutual support, and fun. We are bringing this program home to you with our "National Playdates At Home" newsletter. This and every month this newsletter will bring a song, family activity, story, and parenting articles that foster family bonding and help supply parents with the tools to be at our best, even in difficult times. Read our first edition below!

Stay safe. Stay Smart. Stay Inside.

Read the First Edition

ORG: Working for Good Governance at Home and Abroad

As ORG calls for more open and transparent governance, increased citizen participation and greater collaboration among civil society, government, and the private sector in, sometimes it can feel that we are alone. However, as Executive Director Matt Aubry, learned at the Open Government Partnership Summit, in Ottawa, Canada in late May, our calls for positive, inclusive and sustainable reforms to governance echo the majority around the world. 

This year, ORG was selected to attend The Summit, which brought together over 2,000 representatives of government and civil society to discuss ways to leverage open government initiatives and build stronger, more accountable, and responsive democracies. The Open Government Partnership(OGP) is an international organization of reformers inside and outside of government, working to transform how government serves its citizens and includes 79 member countries.  Over the past years, the Organization for Responsible Government has used many of the resources and research created by the OGP in the development of our positive reform initiatives. 

 

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Be Clear Bahamas: Bringing Fiscal Transparency and Budget Participation to Bahamas

Gearing up for the upcoming budget debate, The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) convened key players in government, civil society and the private sector at an event last month to debut ORG’s prototype Fiscal Transparency Portal and Fiscal Literacy Campaign: Be Clear Bahamas. The governance, economic development and education focused organization has partnered with The United States Embassy to tackle fiscal transparency and literacy and citizen participation in the budget process.

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ORG at the IMF

Presenting to the International Monetary Fund Seminar with Civil Society in Kingston, Jamaica, local governance reformer The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) has continued to press for greater support of civil society and participatory governance as a path accountability and transparency.

ORG’s Communications Coordinator Chauntez Dillet-Wilson, was selected to represent Bahamian Civil Society at the IMF seminar in Kingston in March to deliver an overview of the status and factors for success in strengthening governance, improving transparency and fighting corruption within The Bahamas. The seminar aimed to encourage closer ties between the IMF and civil society organizations in the region and generate greater understanding of the role of the IMF in The Caribbean. Focused on climate change, disaster-relief, governance and corruption, the intimate session had 20 attendees comprised of IMF, government, and CSO representatives from seven countries.

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Forging Our Future: Skills Gaps in The Bahamas

As noted in The Inter-American Development Bank’s report: “Skills for Current and Future Jobs in The Bahamas”, a significant gap exists between the labour needs in The Bahamas and the skills of the local workforce. The report states that workforce productivity has continuously decreased since the turn of the millennium, and 1 in 4 employers cite a lack of appropriate skills in the labour force as the leading factor.

Despite efforts to address this need area, there persists a regular struggle by Bahamian employers to find sufficient local staff with the necessary specific, technical, and soft skills. In certain Industries, this creates an uneven dependence on foreign talent creating tension between labour and immigration policies and the functional practices necessary for local industries to thrive. Ultimately, the negative impact of this gap has contributed to limited private sector growth and subsequently minimal economic development.

Recognizing that addressing workforce productivity lies at the heart of economic development, The Ministry of Labour held the first-ever National Symposium on Skills Developments titled “Forging our Future: Assessing and Analyzing the Skills Gap in The Bahamas” on September 17th at The National Training Agency. 

The concept of a National Symposium for Skills Development was proposed to the National Committee or Industry Education & Skills Training, which was assembled in April 2018 to address the skills gap, by The Organization for Responsible Government (ORG) as a potential endeavour to identify and remedy the training gaps contributing to skills gaps in The Bahamas. The concept was adopted by the National Committee, with funding and resources coming from The Ministry of Labour, ORG and The National Training Agency.

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Littlest Learners, Biggest Impact: The Importance of Early Childhood Education

By: Toby Hayes
Chairperson
Education Committee
The Organization for Responsible Governance

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Do you remember being asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”? It was a question that instilled a sense of excitement, wonder, and hope. All things seemed possible. For many young Bahamians, though, the spectrum of opportunities slowly contracts and diminishes for one sole reason: education. According to Ministry of Education statistics, from 2015-2017 nearly half of the students that take the BJC don’t go on to take the BGCSE and, of those that do, less than 40% achieve a grade of C or above.

Whilst standardized testing at the primary school level, such as the GLAT, show more promising results, the Minister of Education stated in his 2017 budget contribution that primary level teachers “routinely lament” the gaps in literacy, numeracy, and cognitive skills in young students, especially those who have not had the benefit of pre-primary education.

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Highlights from The House - Oct. 18

Elsworth_Johnson_t670.jpgToday in The House of Assembly The much awaited Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2017 was opened for debate. The Bill establishes an Independent Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Minister of State for Legal Affairs Elsworth Johnson explained that The Bill would confer responsibility of the prosecution to the sole care of the DPP and give that office a degree of autonomy from the influence of the Attorney General (AG). Though the AG would still be able to give instruction to the DPP in certain circumstances, instructions must be in writing and signed.

Minister Johnson argued that the separation of these offices would reduce the frequency of nolle presequi's - a controversial order allowing the AG to stop prosecution of cases without opposition. Giving the DPP autonomy helps to free the justice process from political influence. 

Leader of the Opposition Phillip "Brave" Davis pointed out that as long as the AG can give directions to the DPP on such a broad basis, not much is changed from the current system and the office is not truly independent. He urged the government narrow the scope of offenses in which the AG can intervene.

What do you think? The Organization for Responsible Governance will be submitting recommendations for amendments to the Office of the Attorney General and Members of Parliament. Read The Bill and send your feedback to: [email protected] 

 

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