RAISING AWARENESS TO STOP GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

Community members from Denham Town and Trench Town in Kingston, Jamaica have been raising awareness of gender-based violence via Spotlight Initiative activities coordinated by Fight for Peace under the UP Unity & Peace programme.

The activities, which focus on parenting, social norms and behaviour change, and sports for development, are designed to build on the work delivered by Fight for Peace and its community partners in Jamaica. From June 2021 to March 2022, both adults and youth were included in sessions aimed at helping them understand gender-based violence and how to design and communicate and spread the word in their communities. Meanwhile, parents learned positive parenting strategies and contributed to resources to help build stronger and safer relationships with their children.

As a group, young people named their awareness campaign ‘Respect Everyone!’ and Reynard, who is 18 years old and from Arnett Gardens in Trench Town, shared his rationale: “the problem with gender-based violence issues in the community is that people are not accepting others as they are.”

The campaign included posters distributed in partner organisations, schools and community centres, and saw social media content that explained the signs of gender-based violence, what can be done to stop it and how to reduce conflict in relationships.

Taire, a father from Trench Town who contributed to the parenting programme shared: “if violence has happened to us in the past, we should not take it as an excuse to do the same. Family is important and each one teaches one.”

Master Trainers and  facilitators worked together to create worksheets and flashcards that explained what makes a family, how to spend time together and share responsibilities, and encouraged family members during everyday life.

The sport for development component of the initiative was geared to supporting people who work in sport to understand gender issues and make their sessions gender-sensitive, gender-responsive and gender equitable. It also built on work promoting the value of teamwork and respect for others, supporting the development of healthy self-esteem and building social connections.

“It’s useful information. The training session helped us understand [gender-based violence] and how we can overcome it. I think we need to give our young people constant reminders, and we do it throughout the sessions by playing a game or [talking with] the boys and the girls. We take a holistic approach to what’s right and wrong and what should be done differently.” said taekwondo coach, Damany Gayle.

To close the initiative, a learning exchange was held where participants and partner organisations shared experiences, challenges and future plans to continue the fight against gender-based violence.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Fight for Peace has been working in Kingston Jamaica since 2015 under the UP Unity & Peace Collective which uses a collective impact approach to bring together organisations and services to deliver programmes and support to young people across focus communities.

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