Youth, Peace & Security Study Jamaica
Highlighting the ways that Jamaican youth can and are contributing to violence prevention and peace building locally
Jamaica was selected as one of ten countries to contribute to this progress study. There is much Jamaica stands to gain from the United Nations’ newly adopted Security Council Resolution (SCR) 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security as the resolution has the potential to not only recognize the vital role of youth in peace and security issues but also advocate for the inclusion of youth in such decision-making processes. In support of the work of the progress study, this contributing case study aims to demonstrate the potential of Jamaican youth to contribute to violence prevention and peace meaningfully. This case study also identified several youth-led initiatives which were working to improve peace and security. We also aimed to highlight the opportunities which exist to strengthen youth collaboration and contribution to violence prevention.
In December 2015, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS), the first resolution fully dedicated to the important and positive role young women and men play in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.
Resolution 2250 requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations “to carry out a progress study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels”, and to present the results of the Study to the United Nations Security Council and Member States.
Click to read the full report here
In fact, youth are the primary cohort of the population that are most affected by crime and violence in Jamaica, both as victims and perpetrators. In fact, young Jamaican males between the ages of 16 to 24 are the main victims and perpetrators of violent crimes while women and girls are the primary victims of sexual crimes .Jamaica stands to gain from greater youth inclusivity in their approach to addressing and meaningfully reducing crime and violence.
The national agenda has mostly focused on strengthening policing and incarceration of offenders, although more recently, there has been a growing number of public health and citizen security approaches to violence. Concurrently, youth development and inclusivity has been a priority for several years. The government of Jamaica, particularly the Ministry of Education, has made a fair attempt to include youth in decision making around youth issues like education but rarely for security matters as youth are seen more as the perpetrator or victims than as solution makers. Unfortunately, an effort to tap into the potential of youth to address peace and security has not been implemented or meaningfully delivered and is not an area of focus.
Key Youth Recommendations:
Support and strengthen youth-led community engagement activities through local youth clubs
Increase collaboration with youth on the ground
Design intervention programming according to the needs of youth
Increase availability of funding for violence prevention projects
More discourse and focus on the issues facing youth is required in order to engender action.
Short video documentaries were made to capture four youth-led contributions to peace and security in Jamaica.
Life Yard is the first income-generating eco-village in the city of Kingston, Jamaica. The youth-led social enterprise and community based organization situated on Fleet Street in downtown Kingston is creating changes in the community of Parade Gardens through art, craft making, agriculture and academics. In collaboration with Paint
Jamaica, Life Yaad has beautified the surroundings on Fleet Street with art murals to form what is now one of the largest art spaces in the Caribbean. As a result of their activities, the once marginalized and violent community has become transformed into one of the most crime and violence-free in downtown Kingston.
Track on the Streets
The inner-city Development Youth Association (IDYA) – Kevaughn Ellis is an active member of Jamaica’s ‘Talk Up Yout’, an organization which works to develop, support and highlight programmes that encourages adolescent development and participation. As a youth from Allman Town in downtown Kingston, Kevaughn Ellis began his own youth-led charity called the IDYA which hosts several activities geared towards community cohesion in and around his community. His initiative ‘Track On Streets’ is a back-to-school sports day on a main street in Allman Town where all children who participate are given back-to-school materials and scholarship opportunities. Funded by youth from the community and local businesses, the small community-based initiative has supported several underprivileged youths to attend school through the provision of scholarships.
The Heights Youth Club
The Heights Youth Clubwas born in July 2005 out of several of the crime-strickenand volatile communities in Montego Bay, Jamaica: Rose Heights, Capital Heights,Green Pond and Norwood along with other surrounding communities. The YouthClub has a very active youth marching band striving to promote peace andtogetherness in the community. They are given the opportunity to learn music whichis shared with the public at civic ceremonies, hotels and other venues across the islandand internationally. By engaging youth and providing them with opportunities toband together the Height’s Youth Club marching band has helped to reduce the levelof juvenile delinquency in and around these communities by instilling positive value and discipline as well as by providing a safe place for youth to thrive.
Serving a Protective Role
Natalie Williams of the Middleton District in St. Andrew, Jamaica shares the story of how the protective role of her uncles has caused her to now serve an informal protective role of other children in her community, keeping them away from crime, violence and abuse. Natalie shares the issues of sexual harassment, abuse and rape of young girls in her community. The issue of fatherlessness compounded this problem, leaving many young children without a protective father figure and this is where Natalie’s uncles took on paternal role for her and other young girls in her community. Natalie, herself has now taken on a similar informal protective role for young girls in her community.