Shamoy is the country consultant for UN Habitat’s State of the Urban Youth Report in Jamaica. Her love for social entrepreneurship and youth development has resulted in her taking on multiple responsibilities in development work outside of JSSE including, former Youth Empowerment Officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in Jamaica, a Nexus Caribbean Organizer and a district coordinator for the Caribbean Youth Environment Network in Jamaica.
- The world has set ourselves ambitious goals with 17 SDGs, why are you working to achieve sustainable production and consumption?
Being from a small island developing state in the Commonwealth, I understand the importance of utilising our natural resources efficiently to ensure inclusive social and economic growth, while protecting and restoring our ecosystems. I want to contribute to ending poverty, promoting sustainable agriculture, developing resilient towns and cities as well as combating climate change. At the centre of all this are sustainable consumption and production patterns.
I am a social entrepreneur, and it’s hard to not work in some way to achieve sustainable development once you have been given the tools and resources to make lasting impacts. I have a responsibility to protect Jamaica’s biodiversity, contribute to food security and poverty eradication, and these have shaped the core values of my work. As I work to achieve these core values, the way we produce and use products and services must be done in a manner that is environmentally friendly, which reaps social benefits and is economically viable.
- Tell us about the different initiatives you have in place?
As founder and CEO of Jamaica School for Social Entrepreneurship (JSSE), I am promoting and contributing to sustainable development through social entrepreneurship. At JSSE, we assist individuals and community based organizations to develop social enterprise models for their social and environmental missions. Our core agendas, being sustainable agriculture, environmental sustainability and economic development, are enforced through our project and programmes. These initiatives include the Building Resilient Youth Clubs (BRYC), Think Big Start Lean Fellowship programme, Young Changemakers Summer Camp, the Speak Up Caribbean Campaign and our Hydroponics programme.
Both BRYC and the Think Big Start Lean Fellowship are designed to support individuals and strengthen institutions at the community level through social enterprise development, in order to promote employment, alleviate poverty and build sustainable communities. The Young Changemakers Summer Camp teaches children ages 5-12, simple steps to caring for the environment and helps them to create solutions that will positively impact the lives of others, while the Speak Up Caribbean Campaign promotes awareness of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and encourages youth to speak constructively on issues which impact their development. The Hydroponics programme is the first programme in JSSE’s Research and Engineering unit and is geared towards promoting food security and youth employment in agriculture. In depth research and pilots are currently being undertaken for a programme launch in 2017.
- What impact have you had thus far and what would you like to achieve in the next two years?
Since the launch of BRYC in November 2014, JSSE has trained and directly supported more than one hundred (100) individuals and twenty-seven (27) youth-led organisations in Jamaica. JSSE is also currently training and supporting six (6) fellows as part of its Think Big Start Lean Fellowship programme, which was launched in July of this year. The Speak Up Caribbean Campaign is currently engaging nine (9) countries in the Caribbean and will begin hosting community consultations in each country beginning this September.
I also co-founded the Youth Entrepreneurship Project (YEP) while serving as project coordinator at Young Women and Men of Purpose (YWOP/YMOP). An initiative of YWOP/YMOP, the project received funding from the UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund programme in 2012. YEP was a nine-month training and mentoring project in entrepreneurship in Mandeville Jamaica, which trained forty-four (44) aspiring young entrepreneurs and awarded fourteen (14) with seed funding to launch their businesses. Since the first cycle of the project, (20) twenty participants launched their businesses and ten (10) jobs have been indirectly created as a result of this.
Over the next two years I hope to at least double the number of individuals who will benefit directly from JSSE’s programmes and create at least fifty decent jobs as well as a network of social entrepreneurs. In addition to this, JSSE aspires to be a household name for Hydroponic food production in Jamaica. In the next two years we hope to begin contributing significantly to food security and youth employment through agriculture in Jamaica. A large part of sustainable development is being able to replicate successful programmes for large scale impact. Therefore, we intend to partner with individuals and organisations from other Caribbean and Commonwealth countries to share best practices and implement JSSE programmes.
- What role do you think youth have to play in achieving the 2030 SDGs? What advice would you give young people?
Countries, regions and stakeholders must act through collaborative partnerships in order to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Vital to this is the involvement of youth and the role they play in ensuring political, social, environmental and economic development. We are currently living in an era with the largest youth population. In fact, more than sixty (60) percent of the Commonwealth’s population is under thirty (30). This means that young people are integral in the process of shaping a better world. Furthermore, many young people who are currently between ages fifteen (15) to twenty-four (24) will form government bodies and world leaders by the year 2030. As such, young people are key partners in development processes. Young people must be given the opportunity and resources to contribute to growth and building resilience in their countries and regions based on the prescribed priority areas for development. Additionally, they have an active role to play in multilateral decision making and in ensuring we meet the targets of the SDGs.
My advice to young people:
Beat the stereotypes that, more often than you think, are linked to young people. There are many who see you as being caught up in frivolous matters as well as mere beneficiaries of products and services, rather than as strategic partners in policy development and implementation. It is your responsibility to shatter these common views with active participation and localising of the SDGs in your communities as well as at the national and regional levels. You must place yourselves at the centre of policy reforms and engage in the implementation, monitoring and review of the SDGs at all levels. You have a responsibility to hold your governments, leaders and peers accountable, while at the same time also critically measuring the success of your work. Achieving the 2030 SDGs is not just about meeting a few targets, it’s about ensuring present and future survival in a healthy and stable ecosystem.