On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the ‘I Believe’ Initiative (IBI), I want to express gratitude to God for the wisdom to pilot the programme through its infancy to 10 years. I wish also to thank everyone who has contributed to the growth of the initiative. The IBI is designed to inspire and empower young people, build resilient and self-affirming families, and mobilise resources for the educational advancement of young Jamaicans. More importantly, the initiative is designed to move beyond these constructs and remind every Jamaican that we can “use what is right with Jamaica to fix what is wrong with Jamaica.”
While we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we should remember that our country has experienced crises on several occasions; and we have overcome them. We have lost many Jamaicans to the pandemic, and the social and economic implications continue to loom large on the horizon; but we will find solutions and continue to rise from any disastrous situations as we have done in the past.
The IBI has over 300 Ambassadors who continue to champion the values of the Programme in their communities. I commend them for their work, especially over the past year, as they channel resources and support to vulnerable populations most impacted by the pandemic.
On our 10th Anniversary, I must acknowledge the generous support of our sponsors over the years. With their support, we have delivered a robust calendar of activities each year. Chief among them are the National Youth Consultative Conference (YCC), the Summer of Service Scholarships (SOS), and Parenting Now. Other cross-cutting, technical and operational activities within the Programme are also funded through annual donations; and we remain continually grateful. More than 300,000 Jamaicans have been reached by the Programme since we launched on May 10, 2011.
The combined effort of the IBI and the GGAA formed the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence (GGPE) in 2014. This year, the GGAA also celebrates 30 years of recognition of individuals who are solidly contributing to the development of our country.
There will be a number of activities to mark this milestone; and my sincere hope is that you may be to join us in our reflections and celebrations as we chart a new roadmap for the future.