DFID provides grant to help inner-city youth
THE Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (UK) has signed a grant agreement with ‘Fight for Peace’ in Jamaica, valued at $20.7 million, to provide positive alternatives for inner-city youth.
‘Fight For Peace’ is open to young people aged seven to 29 years living in the communities targeted by the programme – Hannah Town, Denham Town, Trench Town, Fletcher’s Land, Parade Gardens and Tivoli Gardens.
The programme’s Youth Committee, which includes young people from each of the six participating communities, has named the Jamaican version of the programme ‘Kick Out Crime and Violence’.
It uses boxing and martial arts combined with education employability, youth leadership and supporting services to help youth from these communities realise their potential.
Speaking at the Open Day and signing ceremony on August 20 at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Up Park Camp, Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security Pearnel Charles Jr said the ministry will continue to embrace ‘Fight For Peace’ and any other programme with similar goals.
“This is an opportunity for the ministry to really hold hands with you as we engage and empower our youth to become the ambassadors and messengers in their communities,” he said.
Charles said the ministry intends to roll out a similar programme aimed at preventing young people from getting involved in criminal activities.
“Prevention is really our primary goal and it is the best place to make serious investment. Prevention is better than cure. It is always going to be more cost-effective to treat with prevention than to deal with it as a response,” he emphasised.
The minster urged the ‘Fight For Peace’ team to stand ready as the ministry will be calling on them to roll out the programme in other communities across the island.
Meanwhile, Jamaica Country Lead for ‘Fight for Peace’, Kellie Magnus, said the grant from DFID, through the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), will allow them to expand the programme to the community level.
“All six communities will be offering boxing, wrestling and taekwondo throughout the week. We are also going to try to add a Saturday model to the programme, so that the young people can continue to have cross community interaction that they have enjoyed here at the JDF,” she said.
Magnus noted that the ‘Fight For Peace’ model has worked well in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and communities in London, England.
“What we are doing in Jamaica is to take that same successful approach to reducing youth violence and improving youth outcomes. Instead of introducing a new NGO into the landscape, we are doing it in a collaborative sense and I commend our partners for being so committed to the work,” she said.
Head of DFID, David Osbourne, said he is hopeful that ‘Fight For Peace’ and its partners will work in partnership with the ministry and the CSJP to further boost community security.
“The UK is incredibly proud to be one of the main sponsors for CSJP. We firmly believe that an effective government-led public health intervention targeting at-risk youth in the communities suffering most from the scourge of violence can really help to improve community security in Jamaica,” he said.
Other partners are Peace Management Initiative, Jamaica Boxing Board of Control, Capoeira Alafia, RISE Life Management, YUTE, Fletcher’s Land Benevolent Society, Joy Town, Boys’ Town and Breds Treasure Beach Foundation.
The group meets at the JDF Up Park Camp on Saturdays for training sessions.