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Overcoming Violence:WCC report: stopping the gun trade -stealth gun control for citizens

Overcoming Violence:WCC report: stopping the gun trade -stealth gun control for citizens

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Published by Carl Cord

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Published by: Carl Cord on Dec 21, 2012
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“Jamaica, an island of only 2.7 million people, is locked in a crisis of aggression and
violence. Forty percent of the recurrent hospital budget of the Ministry of Health is con-
sumed in the treatment of trauma. It is estimated that the cost to the country of criminal
violence alone is between four and fve percent of the GDP.”4

Te global Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) was launched at the WHO Assembly
in January 2004 (see “Networks Related to DOV” section on p. 128); the Jamaican
chapter was launched in November of the same year.
Te Jamaica VPA’s mission is “to create a violence-free and safe Jamaica”. Te
Alliance provides an opportunity for organizations from all sectors of society to
unite around a shared public health approach to violence prevention that addresses
the root causes of violence and improves services for victims.
Alliance initiatives have reduced violence in several neighbourhoods which have
become “safe communities”. “By bringing together various organizations and creat-
ing discourse, the VPA is able to initiate interventions from the roots and dance hall
level to governmental and international agencies.”5
VPA projects include:

A Crime Observatory Project that integrates data on crime and violence from
several organizations including the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Univer-
sity of the West Indies Institute for Criminal Justice and Security. Beginning in
July 2008, it successfully mapped homicides and crime hotspots in ten commu-
nities across the island.
Law enforcement ofcers were trained in data collection and analysis.
Community members received training to introduce them to alternate occupa-
tions reducing dependency on the spoils from armed violence, such as produc-
ing cash crops. Workshops taught life skills and literacy, supported by the VPA
training and job placement programme. Grief counseling workshops were
supported by church services.



Te Mapping Project promoted partnership between the Crime Observa-
tory and community groups, the police and interested individuals working
on the ground to help better their communities. Te overwhelming response
from communities provided an avenue for them to channel their interests into
participatory action, resist violence and create peace and “social capital”.

Te Learning Net-Works Project is intended to improve self-esteem and create
positive attitudes among inner-city youths. It uses computer software to im-
prove literacy and mathematical skills while simultaneously teaching computer

Te programme targets unattached “corner youths” from violence-torn
communities. It aims to attract their interest and assist in developing their
literacy skills to the point where they become functionally literate. It also pro-
vides training in confict management, leadership and life skills and facilitates
linkages to entrepreneurial and job/placement opportunities for skills training.
“Tis holistic approach seeks to develop young people through an improved
knowledge base and marketable skills, and inculcate positive values and atti-
tudes needed to help them fnd alternatives to violence and become worthwhile

Learning Net-Works uses computer software purchased by a private foun-
dation and put at VPA’s disposal. Currently, there are six functional centres
with over a 100 enrolled students.

Click is an annual summer project sponsored by corporate bodies with 20
youngsters from “safe communities” to learn digital photography and video
animation skills while experiencing mentorship, guidance and life skills from
trained tutors. In February 2008, $10,000 was donated to each child based
on the proceeds collected from the sale of their 2007 photographs. All Click
participants serve two summers.

Peace Day Initiatives include a peace march, a concert, and various commu-
nity activities. Peace Day has evolved into a month-long campaign for Peace.
In 2008, more than twenty church groups gave their support to Peace Month

Te work of VPA Jamaica provides a link between the Decade and the IEPC,
where it is featured in the workshop programme.

More Information:

VPA Jamaica Website. http://vpajamaica.com/
VPA Annual Report 2008. http://bit.ly/he4fE9

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