Caribbean Youth Fellowship Alumni Profile: Fana Wiggins

  • Marco Rodriguez

In 2022, the International Republican Institute (IRI) launched the Caribbean Youth Fellowship in partnership with the Center for the Analysis of Public Policy (CAPP) and with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The course increased the capacity of 100 young leaders from Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago to develop and communicate policy solutions to local, national, and regional stakeholders. Participating fellows joined a weekly online course that equipped them with the skills to design their own public policy, which they subsequently presented to senior government officials and civil society organizations in their respective countries. 

This month, the Institute is launching the second iteration of the Caribbean Youth Fellowship in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago. Building upon the successes of the first program, the second Fellowship course seeks to extend its reach to marginalized and at-risk youth through hands-on activities and hybrid learning. By doing so, IRI aims to deepen the program’s youth network in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and create opportunities for rising young leaders to sharpen their leadership skills and advocate for innovative solutions that address socio-political challenges in their communities. 

The following video features Fana Wiggins, alumnae of IRI’s first iteration of the Caribbean Youth Fellowship from Trinidad and Tobago. Through the Fellowship, Ms. Wiggins helped develop a public policy proposal to provide educators with tools to address the prevalence of learning poverty, or the inability to read by age 10, in primary school children. In the video, Ms. Wiggins shares how participating in the Caribbean Youth Fellowship equipped her with leadership skills that have propelled her success in other areas, as well as provided her with a renewed understanding of democracy and her ability to make positive change. 

Video credit: Roger Mitchell and Gabriel Ferrufino
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