“This thing about all men are privileged is not true, individuals experience life differently and so we have to look at the issues,” said Acting Policy Analyst of the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), Nashan Miller. According to Mr. Miller, the top issues facing Jamaican men and boys are related to violence, health and an unawareness of their own rights and value.
In fact, with 90% of the perpetrators of violent crimes being men and over 70% of the victims of said crimes also being men, male guidance is of utmost importance. Moreover, men are the leading victims of mental health concerns and suicide which also underscores the importance of attention. This is according to statements from the BGA.
To this end, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has developed several initiatives and support mechanisms.
‘Mentor Me’ Male Mentorship Programme
This is a school-based mentorship programme that helps to provide personal and professional guidance for young boys. These boys are often recommended by deans of discipline and teachers, they are then matched with mentors, who develop activities tailored to each mentee. The programme was launched in 2019 and currently engages with five schools – St. Andrew Technical High, Camperdown High, Haile Selassie High, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) in Spanish Town and Fairfield International Academy.
Young Father’s Initiative
In collaboration with the Women’s Centre of Jamaica, this initiative seeks to support the young men who are partners of the young mothers at the centre. The young fathers are given parenting advice and developmental tools to help with their education and employment.
Annual Outstanding Fathers Awards
This celebration acknowledges the role that fathers, and father figures play in their families and wider communities. This was developed by the BGA and saw 25 men being awarded in November 2020. As expressed by the Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport (MCGES), Hon. Olivia Grange, “It is important to recognise and remember all the fathers who have done and are doing an outstanding job raising our children and building our nation.”
These are places of shelter and safety for boys who face a variety of issues such as abandonment, abuse or their families’ inability to support them. All Government boys’ homes are overseen by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).
The BGA partners with several public and private organisations to host conferences, workshops and campaigns from time to time. These organisations include Men of God Against Violence and Abuse (MoGAVA), CPFSA, Jamaica Mental Health Advocacy Network (JaMHAN) and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).
International Men’s Day Observance
This is celebrated annually on November 19 to focus on men’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality and highlighting positive male role models in the society. It also provides an opportunity for men and boys to celebrate their achievements and contribution to community and national development. Through the MCGES, several activities are planned during that week. These include health forums, jingle competitions and presentations.
For additional information, contact:
Bureau of Gender Affairs
5-9 South Odeon Avenue
Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA)
48 Duke Street, Kingston