In-depth

Photo: A young community receives sports training for positive re-integration in society, UNDP Belize, 2012
Photo: A young community receives sports training for positive re-integration in society, UNDP Belize, 2012

Some of the projects being implemented in Belize include work with the youth, with particular emphasis on youth at risk.  Projects further target young men as they are the most socially marginalized and at risk at this time.  "The Southside Youth Success Project" and the "Increased Prosecution Capacity, Community Leadership and Youth Engagement" Project focus on providing re-skilling and entrepreneurship skills, as well as life skills to young men that in most cases, have not had such opportunities or familiar support.

The Water and Sanitation as well as the Women's Empowerment projects that are being implemented as recognized as global impact projects for the local communities and therefore the goal of UNDP Belize is to take the long-term approach even while making quick wins, when implementing its various programmes.  This approach entails involving people through consultations and training sessions that build their capacity to make the decisions that will change their lives.  Our goal is to take a human development approach.

What is Human Development?

Consultations promote personal development and involvement in the community as regards water management.
Photo: Community Consultations 2012

The term human development was the result of criticism of the approach that was taken in early 1989 on development. At that time it was believed that there was a close link between a country’s economic growth and expansion of individual choices of human beings.

The work of Amartya Sen and others laid the foundations for a different approach and broader human development. The latter was defined as the process of enlarging people’s choices and improving human capabilities (the range of things that they can do or be in life) and freedoms so they can live a long and healthy life, access to education and a decent standard of living, participate in their community and the decisions that affect their lives.

Drawing on this, it is undeniable that people are the real wealth of nations, so that human development involves expanding the opportunities and capacities to enable them to live a creative and productive life according to your needs and interests.

For this reason, development is focused on expanding the choices human beings have to have the life they value. In this sense, it is essential to work on building capacities for human development that is sustainable over time.

These core capacities for human development are:

  1. Enjoying a long and healthy life
  2. Being educated
  3. Access to resources that enable people to live in dignity
  4. Being able to participate in decisions that affect their community

If people are not offered the opportunity to develop the capacitie described above, many of the opportunities for obtaining a better quality of life are unavailable or simply do not exist for them. FOR IT IS SAID THAT HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE.

Therefore, human development considers the six main factors integral:

  1. Equity: Equal opportunities for all. Special emphasis is placed on equity of human development between men and women and various social groups.
  2. Empowerment: Freedom of the people to influence, as the subjects of development, decisions that affect their lives.
  3. Cooperation: Participation and belonging to communities and groups as a means of mutual enrichment and a source of social meaning.
  4. Sustainability: Meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of satisfying the same by future generations.
  5. Security: Exercise development opportunities freely and safely with confidence that they will not disappear suddenly in the future.
  6. Productivity: Full participation of people in the process of income generation and gainful employment.

To enhance these factors, countries or regions should guide their development strategies towards the gradual creation of an economic, social, political and cultural enviroment which enhance individual and social capabilities.

One of the major contributions that UNDP does in this area is the mainstreaming of human development at work, putting people at the center of development processes as part of its advocacy, policies and economic debate.