Sat | Dec 4, 2021

‘Be the Peace’: VPA and partners roll out month of activities

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2019 | 12:17 AM
Ward
Ward

The Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in collaboration with Peace and Love in Society (PALS) and its other partners will roll out a month of activities in celebration of Peace Month, which is being observed under the theme ‘Be the Peace’.

Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA, said that the choice for peace begins with the individual and underscored that true peace can only be achieved when everyone adopts a non-violent approach to problem solving.

“Let us ‘Be the Peace’ in our homes, in our communities, and in our society,” she urged.

Peace Day observation will commence on Tuesday, March 5, in schools with activities spearheaded by PALS. During these activities, schools will be encouraged to register for the 2019 Trees for Peace competition.

The VPA, in association with Masters & Celebrities, will host the Bob Marley One Love Fun Day Football Matches at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Arnett Gardens in Kingston.

This will be followed by the 10,000 Men March in Spanish Town, St Catherine, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. The march is being organised by Bishop Rowan Edwards and the churches in Spanish Town with the aim of having mass spiritual outreach. This is in addition to other interventions by the churches focused on changing lives, reducing murders and violent crimes while bringing peace to some violence-prone communities in Spanish Town.

The month of activities will culminate with the Orange Day Walk March against domestic violence on March 23 in Kingston, starting at 6:30 a.m. from Emancipation Park to Mandela Park. The march will be spearheaded by the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica.

Turning to the issue of violence against children, Ward urged the country to implement the INSPIRE Strategy, which is an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) that identifies a select group of strategies that have shown success in reducing violence against children.

Strategies

“These strategies include the implementation and enforcement of laws, norms and values; safe environments, parent and caregiver support, income and economic strengthening, response and support services, and education and life skills,” she explained.

According to statistics from the WHO, globally up to one billion children have experienced physical, sexual, and psychological violence in the last year, with homicides being the top five in the cause of death in adolescents.

Here in Jamaica, according to a UNICEF Situation Analysis of Jamaican Children Report released in 2018, sixty-eight of every 100,000 Jamaican children are victims of violent crimes. Approximately 80 per cent of Jamaican children experience some form of psychological or physical violence administered as discipline, and about 65 per cent of students are bullied at school and 79 per cent of children witness violence in their community or at home.

“We can ‘Be the Peace’. Join together to make Jamaica a safer place for our children,” said Ward.