Tuesday 24 November, 2020

Peace Day to be observed on Tuesday

Nesline Lawrence (right), principal of Prospect Primary School and her students take a group photo before their Peace Garden in 2019, which won the Trees for Peace Competition. Sharing in the moment are: (from left) Colleen Wint-Bond, project coordinator at the VPA; Lanceford Grant, education officer at the Ministry of Education; Dr. Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA; Cassidy Edwards, then research assistant at the VPA and Lois Morgan of the Forestry Department.

Nesline Lawrence (right), principal of Prospect Primary School and her students take a group photo before their Peace Garden in 2019, which won the Trees for Peace Competition. Sharing in the moment are: (from left) Colleen Wint-Bond, project coordinator at the VPA; Lanceford Grant, education officer at the Ministry of Education; Dr. Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA; Cassidy Edwards, then research assistant at the VPA and Lois Morgan of the Forestry Department.

Peace Day will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 3 under the theme “Peace is the Way for a Better Day”.

The Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), in collaboration with its partners will observe the series of activities in celebration of the day.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Peace and Love in Society, the VPA will engage students in Peace Day activities across the island on Tuesday.

The highlight event will be the announcement of the winners of the Trees for Peace Competition for 2019, during an awards ceremony to be held at Maryland All Age School in Hanover.

The competition, which was introduced in 2018, encourages schools across the island to designate a space for a ‘Peace Garden’ to plant trees and shrubbery, so as to provide an area for conflict resolution as well as relaxation.

Sixty-five schools at the early childhood, primary and secondary levels, across the island participated in the competition.

“The entries were outstanding given the challenges with the drought last year,” said Professor Elizabeth Ward, chair of the VPA. “The judges were impressed with the entries and the level of work input to create the Peace Gardens,” she noted.

Professor Ward said that the competition not only saw teachers and students working harmoniously to create Peace Gardens but in some cases, the entire community.

She said the aim of the initiative is to catalyze a conversation around peace in schools and to encourage schools to develop programming through guidance counsellors geared towards peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

“Empowering our children with skills to avoid the use of violence and to resolve conflicts where they arise will facilitate building a more peaceful Jamaica,” said Professor Ward.

Support and further endorsement for the project has also come from other stakeholders including CB Facey Foundation; JN Foundation; Food for the Poor; Trees that Feed Foundation; Mona GeoInformatics Institute; the Early Childhood Commission; National Council of Drugs Abuse; National Environment and Planning Agency; Forestry Department and the Jamaica 4-H Clubs.

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