- The concept and focus of Trench Town-based, Fathers United for Change, has attracted the attention and support of the United Kingdom’s DFID.
- Fathers United for Change is an all male Community Based Organisation (CBO), which focuses on parenting.
- Fathers United for Change continues with its objective of mentoring youth, and inspiring men there to “Make the Change: Be the Change”.
The concept and focus of Trench Town-based, Fathers United for Change, has attracted the attention and support of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Fathers United for Change is an all male Community Based Organisation (CBO), which focuses on parenting. The body was formed by a group of males who were frustrated with the negative messages about fathers, regarding their absence in the home, and in the lives of their children.
“DFID views this group’s concept as a best practice, not only for Jamaica, but for other Caribbean countries, given the centrality of parenting and the very critical role that fathers need to play in their children’s lives,” Senior Community Action Coordinator for the Citizen Security and Justice Programme, Orville Simmonds said .
He noted that while there are citizens’ security programmes in other Caribbean countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana, Jamaica is ahead in implementation and best practices.
“Already Fathers United for Change is known in certain quarters,” Mr. Simmonds remarked.
He was speaking at a graduation ceremony held on Monday, May 5 at the Trench Town Multi-purpose Community Centre, where 25 members of the CBO were rewarded for successfully completing training over nine months.
Mr. Simmonds also noted that representatives from DFID having visited the group, were impressed that the men had come together to initiate such an intervention, to address the critical issue of parenting.
“Since they have met the group they are always enquiring about the interventions organised and executed by the group. They are very supportive of our continued involvement with the group to see how best we can help to build their capacity as a group,” Mr. Simmonds shared.
“Certainly DFID would want to see the success of this group in order to propose it as a best practice…something that other Caribbean countries can look at to see what they could learn from our experience that could help them treat with this particular issue of the role of fathers in families and communities in general,” he outlined.
Fathers United for Change, true to their motto, ‘Make the Change: Be the Change’ approached the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) for assistance with training in leadership, proper parenting practices, and remedial education.
He said this was a move towards empowering themselves to be better leaders in the group and their community.
CSJP, in collaboration with the Social Development Commission (SDC) organised for the group, training in leadership and parenting, which was delivered at a series of workshops held at the Council for Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) in January and February 2013.
In July 2013, the Joy Town Community Development Foundation (JTCDF) was contracted to deliver six months training in life skills to the group.
Four members of Fathers United for Change were successful in achieving certification from the HEART/Trust NTA.
Assistant Public Relations Officer for Fathers United for Change, Oliver Rowe is one such participant.
“If it was not for the classes that I have been attending at the Joy Town Community Development Foundation, I do not think I would be able to pass the JAGAS [Jamaican- German Automotive School] entry examination,” he said.
Mr. Rowe was ranked second, overall, based on his score in the examination.
Fathers United for Change continues with its objective of mentoring youth, and inspiring men there to “Make the Change: Be the Change”.
According to Community Action Officer for the CSJP, Alva Marie Graham, “CSJP salutes the five founding fathers of the group for their vision of transformation and the willingness to seek support to build their capacity to deliver training and positively impact lives”.
The founders include, Harold Lowe, Curtis Robinson, Trevor Edmondson, Chevannes and Mark Rodney.