08/04/2020 – Over recent weeks we have all had to adapt quickly to the challenges COVID-19 has presented. As well as innovating in our approach to programme delivery and service provision, for us this has meant, wherever possible, working in partnership to have the greatest impact. This has been the case in Kingston, Jamaica where our Safer Communities Programme (SCP) has brought together actors from the government, NGO and private sectors to strengthen community-based responses to the pandemic.

This partnership has seen Fight for Peace work together with UNICEF, the Jamaican National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) and the Victoria Mutual Building Society Foundation to train mentors to support parents via a newly established helpline. As a result of the partnership, and at a particularly challenging time for parents, 36 six professionally trained mentors will be responding to callers who may be in distress, and referring them to a range of services offering support.

With the support of UNICEF, the NPSC is providing training to the parent mentors, carried out online over Zoom following the social distancing measures introduced in Jamaica. Within this training package, members of Fight for Peace’s psycho-social team are delivering Psychological First Aid training and providing ongoing one-to-one sessions with the mentors. Meanwhile, the purchase of the smartphones which will be used by the parent mentors is being funded by the Victoria Mutual Building Society Foundation.

The support to which the mentors will be referring parents will draw on the Directory of Services for Children and Families. This resource, which is distributed free of cost to parents, teachers and NGOs working with children, was recently updated by a team of Fight for Peace Youth Councillors in Jamaica, in collaboration with UNICEF.

This collective impact approach is characteristic of the work which has been coordinated by Fight for Peace through the Safer Communities Programme over the past five years. It now takes on extra significance at a time when innovation and partnership is vital in responding to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.