Study: Inner-city youths say jobs, training needed to combat crime

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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YOUNG people from inner-city communities want job opportunities, technical and skills training, as well as mentorship programmes to be made available to combat crime and violence, according to a study conducted by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA).

A release from VPA said the study, entitled Youth, Peace and Security Case Study, Jamaica and conducted by its team, used data analysis guided by focus group discussions in Kingston, St James, Clarendon, and St Ann.

The 54-page study was recently released by the Commonwealth Secretariat, VPA said.

According to the release, the young people also called for therapeutic interventions, youth empowerment and entrepreneurial capacity-building opportunities.

“They shared that they believed 'government intervention', which is the term they used to describe the work of politicians in their communities, and police intervention were both ineffective in reducing crime and violence,” VPA said.

The also saw the youths recommending that the Government should support and strengthen youth-led community engagement activities through local youth clubs.

“They suggested that these youth clubs should be provided with training so as to build capacity in organisational management and funding among the youth,” VPA said.

These youth clubs, situated particularly in violence-prone communities they posited, would be responsible for the organisation of community activities which would attract and streamline youth, the release said.

The findings of the study, according to VPA, also saw the youths calling for increased collaboration with youth on the ground. Government and civil society were called to not only consult with youth more, but to actively involve youth in the implementation of projects.

“It was put forward by the youths interviewed for the study that local authorities should become active, on-the-ground resource persons, working collaboratively with the youth to target and reduce violence and support their activities,” VPA said.

According to the release, they also wanted increased availability of funding for violence-prevention projects and recommended greater ease in accessing funding and more funding opportunities for young people to apply for and channel resources into their projects geared towards violence-prevention and youth development interventions.

In addition, VPA said the youth recommended more discourse and focus on the issues facing youth in order to engender action, stressing that more advocacy was needed to create more exposure and response regarding the issues they faced.

In the meantime, 57 participants were interviewed in the focus group, which comprised 36 males and 21 females between the ages of 18 to 29 years.

The study pointed out that, in light of work being done in the country to address the high violence, Jamaica was selected to become a pathfinder country, joining the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, with a committed goal to end the abuse, exploitation and all forms of violence against children.

As a pathfinder country, the release said Jamaica will use evidence-based, data-driven approaches and collaborative actions as the way forward to achieve safety for all children and share lessons learned with the rest of the world.

The release said the study aims to demonstrate the potential of Jamaican youth to contribute meaningfully to violence prevention and peace.

“It identifies the threats which youth are facing, highlights the ways that youth can and are contributing, and the opportunities which exist to strengthen youth collaboration and contribution to violence prevention,” VPA said.

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