In 2016, NextGen raised $250,000 to support an array of violence prevention programs, including the Violence Interruption Program (VIP). VIP was created to combat the high levels of violence and homicides in Jamaica, in which children were nearly 10% of victims. In response to the Government of Jamaica’s concerns regarding the homicide rate, UNICEF supported the VIP initiative of Ministry of National Security (MNS) and Peace Management. NextGen’s funding first supported the training of VIP and MNS personnel and the development of training materials, strengthening of the monitoring and evaluation system of the program, implementation of a communication/advocacy strategy, and more.
Violence prevention programs also include EduSport – a program designed to build key life skills, boost school attendance, and aid in classroom learning at public schools in rural communities. The program is being implemented by UNICEF NGO partner, BREDS, based on the principles of inclusivity and integration. In 2018, it was reported that 11,000 students in 75 schools (preschool and primary) benefited from EduSport across St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. An EduSport activities manual was completed to be more inclusive of all children and incorporate other important life skills, including listening skills, discipline, teamwork, confidence building, and conflict resolution.
The School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (SWPBIS) has also been piloted in fifty-six schools with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Information. This values-based initiative that aims to move schools away from punitive discipline (suspension, expulsion, arrests and exclusion) towards a school culture that that rewards positive behavior where trust and connection are built among all members of the school community.
UNICEF’s Safety and Justice Program focuses on ending violence in all forms in every sphere of a child’s life. UNICEF, in partnership with Jamaica’s Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) and Ministry of National Security, developed guidance that will be used to help police officers divert children away from detention and address abuse and violence in their communities, as well as held a forum organized with key justice stakeholders, child protection actors, and government representatives on children in the justice system and how agencies could cooperate to improve children’s rights. Through this Safety and Justice Program, 361 youth from six volatile communities benefited from greater access to development and diversionary interventions, including personal development, meditation, and resilience.