Claudette Richardson-Pious, Executive Director of Children First Agency wants a more coordinated approach in how change agents work at the community level to address crime and violence.
Mrs. Richardson-Pious made the call while addressing the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) Steering Committee meeting, recently.
“We have in a way become so funder driven that a lot of times ‘I’m in my corner and you are in yours’ and we are doing the same things and we are not talking to each other. Why can’t we come together, develop a comprehensive plan that is really about looking at violence prevention in a real way?” she asked.
She pointed out that if the various stakeholder groups were more coordinated in their efforts, the change would be more effective. The Children First executive director said there should also be a critical assessment of the strengthens and weaknesses of each organisation and segmentation of the work.
“We need to learn from each other. The pie is big enough and it is better if we decide on how we are going to share this pie,” she said.
She observed that because of these silos, it appears as if it is a competition among social agents and that this defeats the purpose.
Meanwhile, turning to the issue of crime in the country, she sought to explore with the audience what is being done from a national perspective, and in so doing opined, that “We have been studying this thing (crime) for a long time, but when are we going to come together in a real way? This is our Jamaica,” she said.
The social advocate said there is still the dire need to revisit what worked previously, and how to fuse them with more modern efforts, for example exploring a village again raising a child/children.
“The peace has to begin with us, each and every one of us. We have to look at how we encourage the families and how do we help them. What are we doing in terms of educating? And it is not just about Math and English, it is about Life Skills and it is not ok when two brothers or cousins have a dis-agreement and then in the process a four-year-old child is shot and killed,” she said.