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  • Violence Prevention Alliance

Beneficiaries of Project X-Change Laud Programme

Participants in Project X-Change play a friendly football match in Effortville, Clarendon.

Mike Anderson*, had challenges in resolving conflicts and as such would sometimes find himself in fights and engage in nonproductive activities that would see him on the wrong side of the law.

But since being involved in Project X-Change, an initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), being implemented through a partnership with the Violence Prevention Alliance(VPA), Anderson’s life has taken a positive path.

“From this programme started I have been learning a lot, from how to resolve conflicts to life skills training. This exposure makes me start to think consciously about life and the value of it,” said the Jones Town resident who also plans to introduce his friends to the programme.

The project, which commenced in March 2023, targets high-risk youth, who have been assessed and have expressed a willingness to make a change in their lives and move on a more positive trajectory, and away from the potentiality of being involved in a life of crime and violence.

Anderson is not the only participant in the programme who is having positive feedback. Maria Blake *, one of the females on the programme also said she appreciates this programme. Blake whose 15-year-old brother was a victim of crime, believes that her brother might be alive today if such a programme was around.

Saraean Williams, a member of the Effortville community where the programme is also being implemented commended the organisers of the initiative.

“We welcome the Project X-Change programme. The intervention is really needed, and I do hope that they (participants) in the programme will make use of the opportunity provided to them and will make changes as young men as they are the future,” she said.

Colleen Wint-Bond, Project Coordinator at the VPA, said that the project includes life skills training, and job readiness, which helps put the beneficiaries, ages 18-29, in a better position to obtain gainful employment or to develop their own entrepreneurial activities.

Project X-Change includes peace building activities such as conflict prevention, conflict management, conflict resolution and transformation and post-conflict reconciliation. Project X-Change is a two-year project.

Dwight Spence, community activities coordinator for the project in Kingston, said that the feedback from some of the high-risk youth participants in Hannah Town and Jones Town has been positive. Along with teaching the participants about conflict management and economic opportunities, they are being assisted in getting basic civil documentation, such as their birth certificates, if they do not have one, and their Tax Registration Number and other means of identification.

(*Name change to protect identity)

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