Interview With Jaevion Nelson, A Future Jamaican Leader

This month we interview Jaevion Nelson, a young man from York Town and Clarendon College past student who is making waves in Jamaica. He was, in 2005, the winner of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in the Field of International Achievement. He is very active in clubs and societies at UWI. He was the Junior Mayor for the Parish of Clarendon in 2003. In April 2005 he was Co-Youth Host for the Childnet International Academy in Monetgo Bay, Jamaica. He is a young man to watch.

Q: Tell us about the Young MDG and Childnet International projects

Young MDG is an online collaboration of seven young people from Jamaica, Finland, Australia, Philippines, USA, Vietnam and Egypt. Young MDG is a website (and the first of its kind) that publishes information about the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in a youth friendly format.

The website was entered in Childnet Academy and Oracle Education Foundation ThinkQuest International and came out as winners in both. We have also being named as finalists in the Stockholm Challenge and the Global SchoolsNet Doors to Diplomacy Competitions. More recently our project was selected as a finalist in the Global Junior Challenge.

Childnet International is an organisation operating in the UK that deals with issues related to Internet safety and security to inform and encourage young people to keep safe online.

Q: Tell us about the experience you gained from collaborating with these other young people from around the world?

The experience I gained is immeasurable. I was always using the Internet but I have never engaged myself in that type of intense work. It was challenging for most part dealing with different time zones, attending meetings, and keeping updated with what was happening in our ‘main office’ (an online forum) as well as researching on a new topic I knew nothing about.

I was able to share with my friends at school first hand information on what is happening in these parts of the world. So the feeling at the end when we won although we did not get to complete lots of what we wanted to do on the site was “yes I finally did it. I worked successfully on an international team for a competition.”

This has had a significant impact on me. Today I still do a lot of work online and collaborate with friends all over the world and I am always looking for international collaboration for projects.

Q: What were some of the things you’re learned from this experience?

Wow, did you have to ask. Go through the day without eating. (Laugh) I learned to balance time. Use free time or rather my extended online time to actually do some work and not just chat to friends in instant messenger.

I learned how to find opportunities for myself. Use the Internet more positively and explore the possibilities that exist in cyberspace.

Q: What are you studying at UWI?

I am a finalising BSc Management Studies, marketing option student at UWI.

Q: You have won numerous award and recognitions in the past five years I am not sure if I can list them all. Tell me which are you most proudest off? Was it the 2005 Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in the Field of International Achievement?

I’ve always wanted to be a Junior Mayor since 1st Form and it never happened until lower six. Then I have always dreamed of being a recipient of the PM’s Youth Award for Excellence in one of the fields. But I never ever dreamt I would have had international recognition to become the second recipient of the award in the field of International Achievement. What made me even more proud is that the first recipient was Jodi-Ann Maxwell who won the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee. Isn’t that an achievement? I don’t know if the award is still the highest honour to be bequeathed on a young person since the Governor General has an award but its not until I get that then a National Honour (who knows maybe Hero) that the PM Award will not be my proudest.

Q: With an answer like that I think I hear a budding politician in there somewhere?

I’ve always had an interest in politics growing up in a family that has being heavily involved in political campaigning. Additionally, I have always being one to be interested in championing the cause of people and be passionate about them improving their standards of living and empowering themselves. However, sometimes when I think I don’t know if I am willing to go into representational politics but I most definitely want to pursue my willingness in some way. I have been envisaging myself as a Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth, Technology or Education pretty soon.

Q: What do you think are the 3 biggest challenges facing young people in Jamaica?

Challenge one, our adaptability to accept reality and accept our purposes in life. Secondly, the amount of exposure a young person get which in turn affect his/her thinking and outlook on life. As such very few are empowered. Finally, the ability or willingness to see beyond the present and dream their dreams of hope.

Q: How do you see the technology landscape in Jamaica playing out?

I think we are growing and it’s improving with the time. It is in some aspects commendable but when you think of computers in education somewhat ridiculous. Teachers are unwilling to accept the change of times and some schools without computers and Internet. However, the past government was obviously committed to including information communication technology and the current government I am sure will do the same given the high concentration on technology in their political campaigning.

Q: What is the one technology tool you could not live without?

(Laugh) I would have loved to hear my friends answer this for me. The answer would have being unanimous anyway. I have a PDA but I hardly use it maybe because it doesn’t have WiFi so I can access the Internet. Then again we have few hotspots. Does that answer the question? (Laugh) – I really couldn’t do without my computer with Internet access.

Q: You recently covered the Jamaican Elections for the Gleaner in a blog. Did you vote?

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to exercise my franchise. I really tried to get to Clarendon but I didn’t get to go.

Q: What are your thoughts on how the youth in Jamaica viewed this election?

Working on the election blog allowed me to realise that young people are really interested in the political affairs of our country more than we think. For a point like most people they got tired because the momentum of the General Election had died. My view however, was that more young people especially marginalised were in favour of the present government and as such is happy with the outcome of the elections.

Q: If you could name one person who has made you the man you are today who would that be?

This is a very difficult question; it’s almost as if you’re asking me to climb Mount Everest in a day. I honestly cannot attribute any aspect of my success to any one person unless it would be the Almighty himself who has placed those who people on earth to help in my growth and development.

If I should name people, I would have to name my immediate family (Mother, sister, step dad, grandmother, and other relatives), friends (those who know me personally and virtually), teachers (especially Mrs. Porteous who encouraged me to get involve at school and the rest who accused me of being lazy), Prof. Bert Fraser Reid, Ian Moore of Adjoin Consultants, and many others.

Q: Do you still sing?

(Laugh) I was never a singer. I use to be on the church and school choirs. Then when I came to UWI I sang on the University and Preston Chorale. However, I want to try our performing arts now, so I will have to try to become a singer.

Q: What type of music is your favourite?

I don’t tune in to much music. But I lean more towards dancehall.

If you had an Ipod or MP3 player what song would I playing right now?

Q: Hmmm something from Movado not sure which one.

Q: With all the accolades and exposure you must be popular with the ladies…lol…

(Laugh) I am popular with everybody. Funny enough girls seem to like more bad guys.

Q: Where do you see your self 5 years from now?

Wow. There are so many things that I want to accomplish that I am unsure which will take precedence at the moment. However, I hope in 5 years time that I will have my masters and a very good job. Who knows maybe a I could be a CEO.

Q: Any final words for the site visitors?

Move your self to the point where you become effective PRO’s for Jamaica. Don’t let your nephews, nieces, children, etc believe the grass is extremely greener on the other side.

About the author

Xavier Murphy