Promoting positive change through digital access
Neville Charlton, Founder of the Youth Inspiring Positive Change JA, says he is motivated to help bring an end to crime through conflict resolution.

The Youth Inspiring Positive Change JA (YIPCJA) organisation recently benefited from the I Believe Initiative, hosted by the Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence of which the Flow Foundation is a sponsor. Through the Foundation’s partnership, the YIPCJA, along with three other social intervention programmes, received smart devices to help power their projects.

YIPCJA is a registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that, for the past 10 years, has been a peace advocate in some of the most volatile communities. The YIPCJA organises and trains youth in conflict resolution, honing their unique skills to create innovative approaches to tackling Jamaica's social issues.

The mandate of the YIPCJA is a challenging one that became more difficult with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the strict national protective measures including restricted movements, the YIPCJA’s impact was reduced as they could no longer visit schools or communities and engage directly with participants. It was at that point that YIPCJA Founder Neville Charlton gained a better appreciation for the value of the internet in supporting his organisation’s mission. Charlton and his team transitioned to virtual meetings and online training to ensure continuity of the Youth 4 Peace JA programme while adhering to the no-movement requirements.

Charlton hosted a training session recently.

“At the start of the pandemic, we had to transition to the online space. Our Youth 4 Peace JA programme was done 90 per cent virtually and it was a challenge because about 60 per cent of the participants didn’t have access to the internet. So, we had to send them money to purchase data and we would meet over Zoom once a week,” shared Charlton.

With the devices now in hand, Charlton said his administration team will benef it greatly by helping to streamline his organisation’s operations and facilitate better communications with the ambassadors being trained. Charlton said he is motivated to help bring an end to crime through conflict resolution and investing in young people from troubled communities. This, he said, requires ongoing engagement and interpersonal connections whether in person or virtually.

"As a young male in Jamaica, I am very concerned about the future of our young men which seems rooted in violence, so this project is very important to me,” he remarked. “I believe that education, coping and mediation skills are critical to changing the pattern of violence. Technology is also key to getting and holding their interest; it is equally vital because digital skills are a must if you want to be able to get a job. The devices we received will contribute to the programme and I am very grateful to the Flow Foundation for their support.”

The Youth 4 Peace JA campaign has been implemented in Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town, Denham Town, Rae Town, Jones Town, Cavaliers District and Waterhouse with plans for other communities across the island.

The Flow Foundation continues its mission of enabling progress through digital inclusion by supporting initiatives that empower Jamaicans through digital access.

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