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Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks for At-Risk Youth Programmes in Jamaica

There have been a plethora of at-risk youth social intervention programs in Jamaica that have been implemented by successive governments, international partners, and local NGOs over the last several decades to address Jamaica’s crime and violence problem. Yet in 2019, Jamaica still had the 2nd highest homicide rate in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The ultimate objective of most of these social intervention programmes is to change the socially undesirable behaviour of the youth population that contributes to the high rates of crime and violence. Young males between the ages of 16 and 29 years old from socio-economically challenged neighbourhoods, often unskilled and undereducated, are the main group of perpetrators and victims alike.

A 2019 study made attempts to examine the social interventions in a community, usually plagued by virulent violence, that had somehow dramatically decreased its violent incidents in 2016; an occurrence that gained national attention. The report revealed a range of challenges that affect these social interventions including a lack of documentation, coordination, sustainability, and most significantly, a remarkable lack of monitoring and evaluation frameworks for these programmes. The findings of the 2019 report form the basis for this current research which aims to closely examine the monitoring and evaluation frameworks of three carefully selected programmes that are meant to change the behaviour of these at-risk youths. The report does not seek to evaluate the programmes themselves but rather breaks down the monitoring and evaluation frameworks to see if they are constructed in a systematic way that allows them to be measurable and achieve their primary objectives.