Barbados & OECS: SocialInnov4Change

Innovation Areas: LAB, CHALLENGE
Stage: Early stage

Engaging citizens to increase citizen safety and reduced levels of armed violence

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The problem addressed

In the Caribbean there is a growing sense of insecurity as a result of the rising level of crime and violence, where youth are both perpetrators and victims.  This trend is as a result of the social and economic inequalities that exist, increasing rates of unemployment particularly amongst young males; drug trafficking and the readily accessibility and misuse of firearms.  

The intervention

SocialINNOV4Change is an initiative designed by UNDP for Barbados and the OECS aimed at bringing young people together to jointly develop citizen-centered solutions that address youth crime and violence within high risk communities. Over 72 hours, an Innovation Lab was organized to allow participants to develop their ideas into effective solutions that could be implemented within a three-month period in a community in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The lab counted on the participation of approximately 25 participants to craft their ideas into quick impact solutions. To fulfill this purpose two approaches were merged: Theatre in Education as a way of disseminating messages on citizen security and facilitate dialogue towards the social issues pervasive in communities in Saint Kitts and Nevis to assist youth to tailor their proposed solutions and an Innovation Lab focusing in applying a design-thinking methodology to move ideas into tangible solutions. Through the use of methodologies that foster innovation and the arts, UNDP engaged with youth as well as work with counterparts and partners to create new ways of tackling development challenges. All participating groups presented their prototypes to a selection panel, after a five minute pitch and discussion of the panelists, 5 winning projects were selected. Each winning proposal has targeted strategies covering areas through agriculture, the arts, media as well as rehabilitative social and skills training. The projects are currently under implementation.

The partners

Ministry of Youth, Department of Youth Empowerment of the twin island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis: SocialINNO4Change being the first of its kind was piloted in St. Kitts in close partnership with the Department of Youth Empowerment. UN Women: UNDP partnered with sister agency UNWOMEN to address gender-based violence and to help participants better incorporate the gender perspective within the different proposed solutions. Arts in Action ( NGO established within the Department of Creative Arts of the University of West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. The Arts-in-Action team was able to open dialogue spaces to touch upon difficult topics concerning youth violence and crime through theatre and creative arts.


Convened over 25 participants from a broad range of community organizations in St.Kitts to talk about common concerns on citizen security.10 proposals were transformed from ideas to prototypes, 5 were selected as winning initiatives to receive funding and mentoring for their implementation. All participants received training on entrepreneurship.Beginning of establishing a network of organizations and people who are willing to work together to foster change.

SocialINNOV4Change was piloted in Saint Kitts and Nevis, as a novel approach to engaging with communities to develop solution to insecurity in their community.  The focus was on involving youth as change agents.  The testing of this methodology is an initial step towards broader community engagement in Barbados and the OECS through a larger citizen security programme. This learning model will be further tested in an additional country, before being finalised and replicated across the region.

Lessons identified

The Theatre in Education methodology can be seen as a best practice in dissemination of development issues in a youth friendly manner.  It is recommended that such workshops be incorporated during the sensitisation phase on an Innovation Lab.   Further support can be provided during the ideation stage of the process. 

Partnering with other agencies that can bring further expertise and interact with participants is a way to help strengthen proposals.

It is important to consider the capacities of your target audience to implement the initiatives they formulated, and incorporate additional capacity building following the Innovation Lab phases.

Additional support will also be required for implementation through on-going monitoring to ensure that the activities are successfully executed in the projected time frames.

Contact person

Janine Chase:

Related materials

Call for proposals: SocialInnov4Change

Exposure summary: SocialInnov4Change


New projects to tackle youth violence in St. Kitts-Nevis

Five innovative youth anti-crime projects receive UNDP funds


$33,000 USD

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