Sports and Skills Training Identified as Peacebuilding Efforts that Work
Sports, skills training, education and weekly staging of social events referred to as ‘round robin’ were some of the strategies residents of four inner-city communities in Kingston have attributed to what works in peacebuilding in their communities.The residents who were from
Marverley, Ambrooke Lane,Cassia Park and Kencot in Kingston made the disclosure during a Peacebuilding Action Workshop in Kingston, which was organized by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA).
“What works is getting the community involved,” said, Shanari Howlett, President of the Marverley Police Youth Club. “We need a collaborative effort. Sports, socializing and ‘round robins’, bingo parties and getting the community involved in peacebuilding. When you are
having fun, you don’t have time to think about violence,” he added. He also cited skills training and education as other key strategies which he said helped in peace building in his community.
“You cannot blame people for what they don’t know. If you are not educated and you are
not mindful of things and you don’t know how to react, people will say you are dark and
ignorant but you are not mindful of what you are doing,” he argued. Howlett further said skills training programmes conducted by the HEART Trust/ NTA and the Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) were good initiatives that should continue and be expanded in marginalized communities.
Charlotte Lindsay of Ambrook Lane and the Half Way Tree Community Development Com-
mittee also voiced similar sensentiments expressed by Howlett. “The programmes that
have worked for us are youth clubs. Youth Clubs are at the forefront of peacebuilding for our
community because when you have the children in your little pockets and you can mentor them, then you will get the parents involved,” she shared. Ms. Lindsay said that ‘round
robin’ where the community gets to socialize also helped in the effort. “There is no violence in it. It starts early and it finishes at an appropriate time. That is the type of unity that I see in the community that I like,” she said. They however identified divisive politics and poor parenting skills as some factors that detracted from peacebuilding.
“One of our biggest problems in Jamaica on a whole is poor parenting. I feel like parents
have failed in Jamaica. I grow up hearing my grandmother and grandfather saying that
they once could discipline any child in the community and the parents would support the discipline. Now, that can’t happen because of fear of reprisals from parents. Good parenting is totally falling down in our communities and this is something that we need to get back on
track,” she said.
The objectives of the VPA workshop were to provide data for the communities and major
crimes in 2017 and the trend data from 2012 to 2017.The workshop also disseminated 2017 focus group data on the impact of violence against women and children shared by citizens from the four communities.
The Peacebuilding Action workshop is one of several organized by the VPA and is funded by CSJP III, Ministry of National Security and the Department for International Development Caribbean.
Article was originally published in Peace Guardian Issue 1 Volume 1 : January - March 2018 by the Violence Prevention Alliance.