Feature
Jamaica Country Representative, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Jason Fraser.

Story Highlights

  • The project will be implemented in the Kingston and St. Andrew communities of Jones Town, Denham Town, and Hannah Town; Flanker, Norwood, and Salt Spring, in St. James;  Naggo Head, Gregory Park, and Newland, in St. Catherine; and May Pen, Effortville and Palmers Cross, in Clarendon.
  • For Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, the programme is “timely” and her group is dedicating itself  to it, because it is a “holistic approach with the right stakeholders at the table, from the Government to the young people.”
  • Under the project, grants will be provided to build family-based therapy models; improve referral systems; build family and youth resilience; improve parental engagement; provide life skills, vocational and entrepreneurship training; and strengthen other evidence-based violence prevention tools.

Partners in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) US$15 million Positive Pathways initiative, have pledged to ensure that it works for the improvement of communities, and the building of stronger families.

The programme will run for five years across five parishes and seeks to complement existing initiatives to prevent youth involvement in crime and violence, by building community, family, and youth resilience.

It will utilise behavioural change methods to build community and family resilience against crime and violence. The project will also strengthen the capacity of parents, caregivers, youth, and the community to leverage economic and social resources to prevent youth involvement in criminal gangs, and other deviant activities.

The project will be implemented in the Kingston and St. Andrew communities of Jones Town, Denham Town, and Hannah Town; Flanker, Norwood, and Salt Spring, in St. James;  Naggo Head, Gregory Park, and Newland, in St. Catherine; and May Pen, Effortville and Palmers Cross, in Clarendon.

Through the USAID-sponsored activity, being managed by Democracy International, the strategy is to put communities that are beset by criminal elements on sustainable pathways, where businesses can grow, and youth can take advantage of training and education, with active participation from the private sector and civil society groups.

President of the Hannah Town Community Development Committee (CDC) and the Down Town Development Area Committee (DAC), Nicholas Campbell, said his group is happy for the opportunities being provided under the initiative, to tackle social problems in the area.

“We are grateful for this USAID initiative in our space, and the entire West Kingston,” he said while addressing the recent virtual launch of the project.

For Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, the programme is “timely” and her group is dedicating itself  to it, because it is a “holistic approach with the right stakeholders at the table, from the Government to the young people.”

“Our team remains committed to being a part of this,” she told the launch.

Youth Development Officer for the parish of Clarendon, Chevelle Campbell, said she is witnessing programmes that are funded by the USAID and other agencies having a “significant impact” in troubled communities, especially on young people, “challenging the mindset that they have and getting the desired results.”

“I am welcoming this partnership with Positive Pathways and USAID, to ensure that young people can see results,” Miss Campbell said, adding that the youth that she works with are adaptable, and will make use of the opportunities being provided under the programme.

Under the project, grants will be provided to build family-based therapy models; improve referral systems; build family and youth resilience; improve parental engagement; provide life skills, vocational and entrepreneurship training; and strengthen other evidence-based violence prevention tools.

Positive Pathways will also support: training for Jamaican youth violence prevention practitioners to improve their skills in Positive Youth Development; the use of Social and Behavioural Science; parenting engagement; the use of sport as a tool for development, and other key programme methods.

In his endorsement of the programme, Minister of National Security and Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the initiative has the potential to be a “major contributor” in the transformation of targeted communities.

Jamaica Country Representative, USAID, Jason Fraser, informed that under the Positive Pathways initiative, “we have two main targets, one is parents and caregivers, and the other is youth.”

“For the parents and caregivers, we will support Jamaican organisations to implement activities that help build a more peaceful and supportive home environment for youth,” he explained.

“For youth, we will develop pathway programmes that help them make better day-to-day decisions and provide greater access to market-driven vocational and entrepreneurship training, leading to improved economic opportunities,” Mr. Fraser added.

President of Democracy International, Eric Bjournlund, argued that  coordination of the initiative is a “tremendous” responsibility, but it is one that “we take seriously and accept wholeheartedly.”

The President  emphasised that while the solutions to the issues are not easy, “they are possible.”

“We pledge our commitment, that we will implement this activity in a collaborative manner…encouraging participation whenever possible, and working in ways that strengthen Jamaica’s democracy,” he said.

Skip to content