Peace Day Activities Observed in ZOSO Communities on Jamaica's Day of Peace
The zones of special operations (ZOSOs) in the communities of Mount Salem, St. James and Denham Town, Kingston were the venues for the launch of Peace Day activities on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Spearheaded by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in collaboration with Peace and Love in Schools (PALS) and the Ministry of Education Youth and Culture, Peace Day activities were held under the theme,“Peace Wi Seh.”
Activities for the day revolved around the launch of the Tree for Peace Planting Project, whereby trees were planted at the Mount Salem Primary School in St. James and Denham Town Primary School in Kingston, as well as other participating
schools across the nation. “The planting of trees symbolizes hope and the continuity of life. It enables children to focus on respect, tolerance, care for our environment and each other,” VPA Chairman, Dr. Ward pointed out. Additionally, she noted that by involving children in any form of group activities that were educational developed a sense of collective responsibility and pride. This, she further said could be successfully transferred to
the human condition to foster peace. She lamented that the country was facing unprecedented levels of crime and violence that was creeping into the nations’ schools. Fifty-five children were victims of homicide in 2017, 34 per cent over the previous year and therefore it was imperative to have such interventions.
“Children can learn how to resolve conflicts peacefully,” she said, adding this was encapsulated in the theme for this year’s Peace Day. In the meantime, schools are being encouraged to register to participate in the Trees for Peace Project. She further noted that across six regions of the Ministry of Education Youth and Information schools would be encouraged to share their stories on the impact of participating in the project in order to, build support from other schools to join in the Trees for Peace Planting movement.
“As a commemoration of International Peace Day in September this year, we will recognize schools, that have not only kept their gardens alive but are also able to share how it has impacted their school environment, with prizes and additional media stories,” she informed. Partnering with the VPA were: JN Foundation; C.B. Facey Foundation; Child Protection and Family Services Agency; the Sandals Foundation; the National Environment and Planning Agency; the Forestry Department; Trees that Feed Foundation; the Mona Informatics Institute; The Broadcast Commission and the Jamaica 4-H Clubs.
Article was originally published in Peace Guardian Issue 1 Volume 1 : January - March 2018 by the Violence Prevention Alliance.