JIS News

Several communities are to benefit from social and behavioural intervention, thanks to 12 small grants that were awarded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Positive Pathways activity.

The grants, totalling J$21 million, were awarded under three categories – Community Peacebuilding, Social and Behavioural Science, and Positive Youth Development.

Under the Peacebuilding Grant award, the Peace and Love in Society organisation (PALS) will be launching their project, ‘We Can Do That!’, in the May Pen community of Clarendon.

Through developing a curriculum, tailored to both parents/caregivers and youth, this project will bolster life skills and the ability to solve conflicts positively and to employ alternatives to violence. Weekly two-hour life skill sessions with youth and parents will be conducted over the course of 13 weeks.

Three communities in Kingston and St. Andrew will be impacted by the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) project. Under this award, IGDS will partner with the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) for their project, ‘Community Transformation Through Training’.

This project will implement nine extensive seminars and workshops over three weekends, which will contribute to disrupting interpersonal conflicts in the communities of Jones Town, Hannah Town and Denham Town.

The area of focus will be domestic and community-violence reduction, with an emphasis on sexual and gender-based violence, especially affecting women, girls and young males.

Gregory Park in St. Catherine will benefit from two grants. The Institute of Law and Economics (ILE), working with Project Gold, will use a grant to execute its activity, titled, ‘Potentiality Project’. The project seeks to introduce life skills, soft and emotional skills to youth and their parents through skill-building activities, while simultaneously training youth/parents to communicate effectively.

The Forward Step Foundation (FSF) used their grant  to pioneer the project, ‘Parent & Pickney Engagement Programme’, in Gregory Park. Through this grant, FSF engaged 15 families in a four-week Group Activity Days practical community-based project.

The Violence Prevention Alliance received a grant to fund their arts and creativity-centric project, ‘Pathway to Peace – Children Leading the Way’, in the Jones Town community. The 20 children were from primary or other secondary schools within the community, ages 10 to 13. Children were exposed to storytelling, role playing, drawing, video shooting, interpersonal evaluation, and more.

Flanker in St. James will benefit from a project by the Family and Parenting Centre in Montego Bay called ‘Pathway to Peacebuilding’. The two-month programme will include the engagement of children and their parents/guardians. The target is to engage 15 youth in the age group 13 to 17 years as well as their parents.

A reward system will be built into the programme to give each child a sense of belonging and achievement. The Sandals Foundation, in collaboration with the Flanker Resource Centre, will implement its project, titled, ‘Pathways for Better Life Outcomes For Flanker Youth’. The project will provide selected youth, aged 13 to 17 years, with clear positive pathways to a sustainable and violence-free lifestyle.

The Salt Spring Community Development Committee Benevolent Society received a grant to launch their project, ‘Ending conflict among the Youth’,  in the Salt Spring community of St. James, through conflict mitigation, reconciliation and healing through sport and life skills.

This project will focus on youth who are extremely affected by conflict and the tragedy of revenge killings. By prioritising sport input and peace mitigation, the project will focus on the development of anger control and reflection. Parenting sessions will also be held.

The USAID also awarded a grant to the Jones Town/Craig Town Benevolent Society. The grant will be used to execute its project, ‘Hearts and Hands United’, through a set of short-term activities, including asset-based skills training for youth and the pairing of youth and their parents to additional youth-friendly services, such as vocational training, apprenticeship and mentorship programmes.

Director, Office of Citizen Security, USAID, Shannon Stone, said it is critical that when stronger and more vibrant societies are built then people can flourish.

“That is why USAID is pleased to partner with the selected organisations to help catalyse the growth and promote youth development; strengthen citizen security, which in turn will provide impactful changes to community and society,” Ms. Stone noted.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of National Security, Shauna Trowers, said the Ministry fully endorses the partnership with USAID’s Positive Pathways.

“The administration of the grants under this initiative seamlessly aligns within the national strategic goal to reduce youth crime and violence by providing for social investments in our most vulnerable people and communities,” Ms. Trowers noted.

This is just the first of many grant activities that USAID will be funding in the coming weeks and months through the initiative.

The Positive Pathways activity is a five-year commitment by the people of the United States to work with the Jamaican Government, communities and organisations to reduce violence in 12 vulnerable communities in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James.

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