BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has launched its Young Professionals Programme (YPP) aimed at involving the region’s youth in comprehensive disaster risk management.
Trinidadian national Aleem Mahabir and Barbadian Adiel Charles are the first interns selected to take part in the initiative, which started in February and will continue for six months, according to a CDEMA press release.
The YPP is initially funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Caribbean Climate Resilience Initiative (CCRI) and will offer participants the opportunity to gain work experience through engagement in all technical programme areas of the CDEMA System.
Charles, who is no stranger to the CDEMA system, having volunteered her services in 2021 to the Regional Coordination Centre (RCC) to assist in responding to events, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial relations and recently completed her Master of Science in geoinformatics, the release states.
She said, “Although I know it has not been a long time since I began my time as an intern at CDEMA, I am truly enjoying the opportunities for development as a disaster and humanitarian professional.”
Mahabir has been exposed to other regional and international institutions, such as the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), the Inter-American Development Bank and the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), working as an intern and on research projects. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in geography and is a doctoral candidate in urban geography, according to the release.
Commenting on his tour of duty, he said, “Given my studies in geography and my interest in development research, I see the attachment as a very good opportunity to be working with the premier Caribbean institution which is responsible for disaster risk management in one of the areas of the world prone to different hazards. I am looking forward to drawing on the rich expertise of the professionals at CDEMA and having the opportunity to use the skills learnt to contribute to the region.”
At the end of the programme, the interns will receive a CDEMA “Certificate of Completion” which can be promoted in the region as a means of elevating their opportunities for employability.
Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA, Kester Craig said, “We embrace the youth as agents of change and we are committed to the vision of creating opportunities for their involvement in comprehensive disaster management. We believe that the Young Professionals Programme is a key conduit in CDEMA to develop new leaders in the field through experiential learning.”