On Thursday, March 9, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) and its Member States resident in Jamaica (Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom) will launch a series of conversations with students in some of Jamaica’s high schools to discuss the issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and women’s economic empowerment. The initiative, in keeping with the theme of International Women’s Day 2017, Be Bold for Change is being staged in partnership with the Institute for Gender Development Studies (IGDS) Mona Unit, with the support of the World Bank, Thalia Lyn, President of Island Grill, and Lasco Top Cop 2015-2016, Detective Sergeant Ava Lindo who will be MC.
The sessions which will kick off at two representative schools in Kingston, Meadowbrook High at 9: 00 am – 10:00 am and Ardenne High 11:00 am – 12:00 noon, will provide students with information and tips that will empower them to play a role in breaking the cycle of GBV and ultimately all forms of violence.
Presentations 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/refer suspected cases of GBV among their peers to the relevant authorities.
“The sessions are conceptualized 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,” noted Verene A. Shepherd, Professor of Social History, IGDS, RHQ, UWI.
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," declared Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Malgotzata Wasilewska.
“We are proud to be partnering with local experts to contribute to eradicating this violation of human rights,” stated Chargé d’Affaires a.i Embassy of Spain, Carmen Rives. “Gender Based Violence is not solely a Jamaican issue, it is happening world-wide. It is important to provide a platform for a conversation within communities; especially in light of the most recent public and horrific acts of Gender Based Violence.”
International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 each year to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and to accelerate action towards gender parity. This year's theme #BeBoldForChange is a call to action for all to help forge a more gender-inclusive world and for collaboration to help women advance and play their part in the building of their economies.