JIS News

This year, the ‘YWCA Week Against Violence’ will be observed from October 17-23, and featured activities will be carried out in close collaboration with the Mediation Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
General Secretary of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Mildred Dean told JIS News that the theme for the week would be ‘Mediation’. One of the highlights of the week’s activities will be the planning of a Mediation Training Programme for members and friends of the YWCA, on Thursday October 21.
The Training Programme will benefit from the input of persons from a number of institutions, including police officers from the Mediation Unit of the JCF, officials from the Child Development Agency (CDA), and persons from the Association of Women of Jamaica (AWOJA).
“Given the level of violence in our country. we feel that mediation is a good way to settle disputes. And so we have asked the experts from the mediation unit and we hope to have a representative also from the Disputes Resolution Foundation, to design a training programme for us, so that we can help them to spread the information about the value of mediation,” Mrs. Dean informed.
The week of activities will commence with a Church Service, on Sunday October 17, at the Covenant Community Church, at 12 Collie Smith Drive in Trench Town, Kingston. The JCF choir is among the participants.
On Tuesday October 19, members of the YWCA and an officer from the Mediation Unit of the JCF will visit the Elsie Bemand Home for Girls to discuss mediation and conflict resolution. These activities, Mrs. Dean said, were of critical importance in the effort to create a peaceful society.
In previous years, the General Secretary added, visits to another girls’ home to discuss conflict resolution had proven to be very useful, employing such methodologies as role playing, discussion, and question and answer sessions.
Wednesday, October 20 will see the YWCA officials, young members, and members of their School Leavers Institute, sharing in midday reflections at the Webster Memorial Church on Half Way Tree Road. The Tom Redcam Library will host an exhibition on mediation on the final day of activities on October 22.
The YWCA has five branches island wide, located in Kingston, Spanish Town, Montego Bay, Christiana, and Darliston in Westmoreland. The Association currently carries out a number of programmes including the School Leavers Institute, which was started by educator Ethlyn Rhodd. The School Leavers Institute, Mrs. Dean said, was established to give young girls who had dropped out of school, a second chance to complete their education. It offers a combination of academic and vocational skills.
The General-Secretary also told JIS News that the YWCA had established a bee-farming project in Christiana and Spanish Town, with the assistance of the Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA). The project, which had suffered some decline in recent times, was being resuscitated she pointed out.
Another effort on the part of the YWCA, Mrs. Dean disclosed, was the Uplifting Adolescents Project, which targets youngsters from ages 10 to 18 years. The project is co-funded by the Government of Jamaica and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“It is for ‘at risk’ youngsters, girls and boys.because they are not in school anywhere. We take these youngsters in and we work with them. and when they are ready, we put them in the formal school system,” she informed.
The four year-old project has helped many youngsters with successes not only in returning students to school, but in achieving positive results in the GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test), and the Grade Nine Achievement Test, Mrs. Dean noted.

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