CHILDREN First Agency, through its gender initiative Project GYAL (Guiding Young Ambitious Ladies) has launched an essay and poetry competition to promote discussion on gender-based violence in Jamaica. The competition is open to Jamaicans (male and female), who reside in Jamaica, in four age categories — 12-18, 19-35, 36-49, and 50 and over.
The theme for the competition is 'Gender-based violence…full time it fi stop'. Entries must reference the local and international gender-based violence situation and make suggestions for dealing with the problem in Jamaica.
For the essay competition, entries must be 300-600 words and be written in English, while for the poetry competition, entries can be of any length, written in English, Patois or a hybrid of both language forms.
According to coordinator for the Project GYAL initiative, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, “both men and women are victims of gender-based violence, and though in most cases women are the victims, the discussion needs to involve the men.” Hutchinson said many aspects of the socio-cultural dynamic need to be seriously examined, as in too many cases gender-based abuse is seen as normalised behaviour both by the perpetrator and the victim and often goes unreported. She also lauded the work of the Bureau of Gender Affairs for its role in sensitising the public and setting up a 24-hour crisis line for men and women to call to report abuse.
The first prize in each category will be a tablet or smartphone. Other prizes include gift baskets from CAL's Manufacturing and phone credit. Winning entries will be published on Children First and Project GYAL's social media platforms as well as other media, and will be presented to the Bureau of Gender Affairs.
Project GYAL is an upskilling and empowerment initiative for women who have been exposed to gender-based violence and intimate partner violence, or who are deemed at risk.
Entries should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 29. Winners will be announced on November 11.