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Farming and Fishing for Our Future
Start date: Mar 1, 2015, End date: Feb 28, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In practically all the EU overseas countries and territories youth unemployment is double that of the total population (2.3 times, on average). Some Caribbean countries are among the ones with highest youth unemployment in the world (World Bank 2014). Many young Montserratians have never experienced regular, full time employment. They supplement social security benefits through seasonal labour on farms and fishing vessels. Due to the impact of both natural and man-made environment disasters, opportunities for youth employment on farms and fishing vessels is now also in decline. The volcanic eruptions in 1995 laid to waste the most fertile lands on the island which now lie in the exclusion zone. Acid rain caused by the sulpher clouds from the volcano reduces crop yields by up to 90%. Although greenhouses are available there is a lack of knowledge about pollination and irrigation techniques for farming in controlled environments. At the same time as agriculture is facing challenges, the nations fisheries are also under attack. Lionfish, an invasive species with no natural predators in this part of the world and with the capacity to reproduce all year round, have devoured native species to such an extent that catches of other more marketable species are lower and fishing as a sub-income becomes less viable. With the opportunities for casual labour becoming more scarce, young people in the remote villages are faced with two broad options; a)to farm and fish illegally, planting marijuana and catching turtles which are protected species - selling the drugs, meat and eggs on the black market b) to migrate to mainland UK for better education and work opportunities. The aim of the project is to enable youth in the farming and fishing villages in Montserrat to learn how young people in other parts of Europe re tackling these problems. Through non-formal learning activities the project will empower young people, develop communication, ICT, social media and business skills and a sense of entrepreneurship. This will improve skills for self-employment and contribute towards tackling poverty, particularly amongst the most disadvantaged young people on the island. By the end of the project 1. An informal learning programme will be developed to understand the links between agriculture, fisheries and food security, how to farm in a controlled environment and to control invasive fish species 2. A farming and fishing cooperative will be formed, led and management by young people 3. A community garden will be established for the farming cooperative 4. Youth exchanges between the UK, NL, and FR to share knowledge will take place 5. A Lionfishing competition will be organised by a multi-cultural team of youth from the OCT's 6. 28 Young people and 36 youth workers will increase their knowledge about Erasmus+ 7. Not less than 21 young people will achieve the Youthpass certificate 8. 14 young people will progress towards achieving the learning outcomes of two units of the ILM level 3 Award in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship through non-formal learning; 9. 10 will explore the concept of crowdfunding and design a crowdfunding activity 10. 4 Youth workers with experience of setting up youth structures will help to organise the project 11. 12 youth workers employed by the OCT governments will be trained to apply non-formal learning techniques in environment education programmes 12. 4 youth workers will support the dissemination of project results. There are very few Erasmus+ organisations that serve young people in the European overseas countries and territories. The long term aim is that every European in the Caribbean region learns about Erasmus+ and has an opportunity to improve their life chances through taking part in the programme.

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