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  • Violence Prevention Alliance

East Kingston Residents Benefit from Peace Interventions on International Women’s Day

Women in the communities of East Kingston benefitted from a series of peace initiatives that were organised by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) and other partners in observation of International Women’s Day, which was celebrated on Monday, March 8.

The interventions included community outreach, which was focused on addressing issues of gun violence and the effects on women and children. The outreach was in observation of Peace Month under the theme ‘Peace in the Pandemic’.

“What we did along the Mountain View and Rockfort areas was reached out to some of the women, following all COVID-19 protocols, and implemented initiatives to address gun control and how we reduce the use of guns and the destruction in our society and shape peace together,” said Professor Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA.

Professor Ward said the initiative involved working with the women to develop positive messages through video skits and artwork and different forms of expression, which will be used as messages to reach the wider community.

She also informed that the outreach included the distribution of care packages to some 75 households. The care packages were supplied to the vulnerable members of the communities such as children, women and the elderly located in Dunkirk, Rockfort and Mountain View in East Kingston.

The packages included toiletries; basic food items such as rice, flour, sugar, mackerel, sardines and crackers; masks and hand sanitizers. The packages were delivered to the communities in collaboration with the Peace Management Initiative (PMI).

Milton Tomlinson, PMI’s intervention manager, stated the community were grateful for the packages.

“The community members were thrilled to receive the packages. It has been extremely rough on many families during the pandemic as many are under restrictions such as the elderly who have responsibilities for their household,” he pointed out.

The initiative was implemented in collaboration with partners such as: American Friends of Jamaica; Nursing Association of Jamaica; the International Network on Small Arms, Canadian Women’s Club and the Council of Voluntary Social Services.

Professor Ward informed that researchers from the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) and other grassroots organisations such as the PMI have indicated that the pandemic has had a debilitating effect on the evolving nature of gang violence and the increasing numbers of domestic related conflicts in marginalised communities.

This year's theme seeks to target vulnerable groups deeply affected by community based violence and the excesses of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus has restricted movement of persons, the government has established gathering limits; communities continue to grapple with the fractious nature of community relations,” she said.

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