This partnership seems like a perfect match to me: The Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC), which is based in Lyndhurst/Greenwich and surrounding communities in Kingston, and the anti-corruption lobby group National Integrity Action (NIA) are collaborating on the Strengthening a Culture of Integrity in Jamaica project. This initiative seeks to address some of the challenges young people in particular face when trying to “do the right thing” and to speak out against corruption in their communities. This is not an easy thing to do. The pressures are great; however, the training sessions described in WROC’s press release below, working with Fathers United for Change, are aimed at strengthening young men’s public speaking skills. The time is ripe for them to speak out, so they too can change the society they are growing up in – for the better.
“Young people like mi self can make a difference, if wi just taak up”
February 20, 2018
The Women’s Resource & Outreach Centre has teamed up with Fathers United for Change to encourage young men from the community of Trench Town to speak up against violence and corruption.
The young men ages thirteen (13) to twenty-five (25), were given practical skills in communicating effectively during a two week session held at the local Church of the Latter-Day Saints in the Lyndhurst-Greenwich community. The first workshop was facilitated by Mr Winston Williams of Fathers United, who led the discussion on the importance of having good communication skills and expressing one’s emotions and thoughts. He stressed that paying attention to body language, voice tones, and getting feedback are all part of a good recipe for effectively getting your point across.
Mr Williams also demonstrated to the youngsters that they too are able to impact those around them, especially their peers, in positive ways. One of the participants, Mikhail, a twenty-four (24) year old resident of Arnett Gardens was quoted as saying ¨the session was nice man, it mek me realize that young people like mi self can make a difference, if wi just taak up.” The session, he continued, helped him to see that simple changes in the way he communicates can influence his peers away from a life of the ¨gun culture¨ in his community. Speaking positively and with conviction can also help him to get his point across more effectively.
The second workshop was facilitated a week later on February 17, 2018 by veteran communicator Mr. Errol Lee. He focused on encouraging the young men to ¨speak their truths” while imparting essential skills needed to communicate effectively; these included maintaining eye contact, body language and speaking clearly to your audience, and having a good understanding of what you are talking about. During this session, the participants voiced sentiments of what speaking their truth could mean to them, as opposed to lying. In most cases it meant the difference between life and death in some of their communities. Mr Lee encouraged them however, to keep a standard of integrity regardless of the consequence, because speaking up for what is right and true will give them respect in the eyes of their peers and especially in the working world. He reiterated that their word should be their bond.
Another young man at this session, Richard, thanked the WROC and Fathers United team for teaching him how to speak his truth while using appropriate language to communicate his point to others. After the session, Jamoi, said ¨The session helped me to keep focused, and what I learn here today will also help me as I am in the working world.” He also stated that “reading is very important and the only way that you can be able to pass on knowledge to others is if you have it yourself”.
The young men were able to showcase what they learned at the end of each session by giving a one-minute speech, imagining that it was being made to someone that could give them the opportunity to make a difference. Marsha Grant, Project Coordinator at WROC, stated: “We hope to see positive outcomes in the lives of the participants and that they will influence their wider community.”
These workshops were the result of the Women’s Resource & Outreach Centre´s Strengthening a Culture of Integrity in Jamaica (SCIJ) project funded by the National Integrity Action (NIA). A series of other activities including community outreach and mobilization, are also part of the project’s mandate to tackle the issue of corruption and gender based violence in the Trench Town communities.
The Women’s Resource & Outreach Centre is a non-profit organization that was established thirty-five (35) years ago on International Women’s Day, March 8, 1983. We cater to the Lyndhurst/Greenwich and surrounding communities by providing support to women and their families, as well as young men. Our programmes include employability training, gender advocacy, research and communication, remedial classes, seniors club and community building.
The Strengthening a Culture of Integrity in Jamaica project is being undertaken by the National Integrity Action and WROC to target issues of corruption and Gender Based Violence.