Career & Education

Sports, skills training, 'round robins' identified as peace-building efforts that work

Sunday, February 18, 2018

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SPORTS, skills training, education, and the weekly staging of social events referred to as 'round robins' have been identified by residents of four inner-city communities in Kingston as some of the useful strategies employed to foster peace in their communities.

The residents who hail from Marverly, Ambrook Lane, Cassia Park and Kencot made the disclosure during a peace-building action workshop which was recently organised in Kingston by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA).

“What works is getting the community involved,” said Shanari Howlett, president of the Marverly Police Youth Club. “We need a collaborative effort. Sports, socialising and 'round robins', bingo parties and getting the community involved really work in peace-building. When you are having fun, you don't have time to think about violence.”

He also cited skills training and education as other key strategies which have helped to create a level of peace in his community.

“You can't blame people for what they don't know. If you are not educated and you are not mindful of things and you don't know how to react, people will say you are 'dark' and ignorant, but [in fact], you are not mindful of what you are doing,” he argued.

Howlett said that skills training programmes conducted by the HEART Trust/ NTA and the Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) were worthwhile initiatives that should continue and be expanded in marginalised communities.

Charlotte Lindsay of Ambrook Lane and the Half-Way-Tree Community Development Committee also voiced similar sentiments.

“The programmes that have worked for us are youth clubs. They are at the forefront of peace-building for our community, because when you have the children in your little pockets and you can mentor them, then you will get the parents involved,” she shared.

Lindsay said that 'round robins' where community members could socialise also helped to foster peace.

“There is no violence in it. It starts early and it finishes at an appropriate time. That is the type of unity that I see in the community that I like,” she said.

However, they identified divisive politics and poor parenting skills as major factors that destroyed peace-building.

“One of our biggest problems in Jamaica on a whole is poor parenting. I feel that [many] parents have failed in Jamaica. I grew up hearing my grandmother and grandfather saying that they once could discipline any child in the community and the parents would support the discipline. Nowadays that can't happen because of fear of reprisals from parents. Good parenting is totally falling down in our communities, and this is something that we need to get back on track,” she said.

The objectives of the VPA workshop were to provide data for the communities on major crimes in 2017 and the trend data from 2012 to 2017. The workshop also presented 2017 focus group data on the impact of violence against women and children shared by citizens from the four communities.

The workshop was funded by CSJP III, Ministry of National Security and the Department for International Development Caribbean.




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