Wed | Aug 16, 2017

'Stamp It Out' High School Tour

Published:Friday | April 7, 2017 | 4:00 AMKeisha Hill
Sixth-form students of Meadowbrook High School wait excitedly for the launch of the ‘Stamp It Out’ school tour at their school on Thursday, March 9. The ‘Stamp it Out: Ending Gender-based Violence and Violence Against Women and Girls in Jamaica’ school tour is a partnership with the Delegation of the European Union and its member states resident in Jamaica, and the Institute of Gender Development Studies, University of the West Indies.

The Embassy of Spain, in partnership with members of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, and the University of the West Indies' Institute of Gender Development Studies, recently launched the 'Stamp it Out: Ending Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Violence Against Women and Girls in Jamaica' school tour.

In line with the International Women's Day theme - 'Be Bold for Change' - the objective of the joint initiative is to empower students to become active participants in social changes, specifically actions to end violence against women and children.

This was encouraged through the facilitation of open dialogue with young Jamaicans on GBV, and how to deal with potentially offensive behaviour that could possibly lead to gender violence, in an interactive session with gender experts; and by increasing awareness of and articulating the EU's commitment to protecting human rights in partnership with Jamaica.

The students of Meadowbrook and Ardenne high schools were educated by gender specialists Professor Verene Shepherd, Dr Odowa Onura, Judith Wedderburn, Suzanne Watson and Nadeen Spence. However, they received rich 'edutainment' from dub poet Randy McLaren and a heartfelt testimony from LASCO Top Cop 2015-16 Ava Lindo which touched students and dignitaries alike.

Chief executive officer of Island Grill Thalia Lyn and media personality Emprezz Golding made special guest appearances at Ardenne High School to bring positive messages of the fruits of bold behaviour in their respective lives.

RE-EDUCATE JAMAICAN YOUTH

Presentations throughout the tour will initially focus on teens with responsibilities in their schools, such as peer mentors, prefects, members of student government and the student council body, in an attempt to equip these participants with useful strategies to combat GBV in schools, and tips on how to identify and refer suspected cases of GBV among their peers to the relevant authorities.

"The sessions are conceptualised within a youth empowerment framework and seek to re-educate Jamaican youth, who are not only victims but perpetrators of GBV, and whose harmful gender practices as children could eventually produce adults who commit the vicious acts now being seen in the society," Shepherd said.

The EU has been supporting the Government of Jamaica to address some of the barriers to development, including violence, through direct socio-economic interventions and support to key sectors such as agriculture and security and justice.

"The European Union and its member states are committed to fighting for gender equality, keeping women and girls safe, and empowering them to realise their full potential. We are pleased to engage young people to help them become advocates for ending gender-based violence, and to foster economic empowerment," said Malgortzata Wasilewska, head of the EU delegation in Jamaica.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com