March is Peace Month

March 07, 2019
Janilee Abrikian (left), general manager of PALS, participates in Peace Day activities at Denham Town Primary School last year with (from second left) Akelia Thompson, student; Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance; Joshua Jeffrey, student; and Eugenie Brown, principal of the school.
Janilee Abrikian (left), general manager of PALS, participates in Peace Day activities at Denham Town Primary School last year with (from second left) Akelia Thompson, student; Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance; Joshua Jeffrey, student; and Eugenie Brown, principal of the school.

The Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), in collaboration with Peace and Love in Society (PALS) and its other partners, will be hosting 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 said.

Peace Day observation began on Tuesday in schools, with activities spearheaded by PALS.

During these activities, schools will be encouraged to register for the 2019 Trees for Peace Competition.

Yesterday, the VPA, in association with Masters and Celebrities, hosted the Bob Marley One Love Fun Day football matches at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Arnett Gardens.

This will be followed by the 10,000 Men March in Spanish Town, St Catherine, scheduled for Sunday, March 10.

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 violent-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, from Emancipation Park to Mandela Park. The march will be spearheaded by the Nurses' Association of Jamaica.

INSPIRE STRATEGY

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

"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.

In Jamaica, according to a UNICEF Situation Analysis of Jamaican Children Report released in 2018, approximately 80 per cent of Jamaican children experience some form of psychological or physical violence administered as discipline, and 79 per cent witness violence in their community or at home.

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