A call has been made for the implementation of a national peacebuilding curriculum to be taught at the early childhood institutions, primary and high school levels as a means to stem the tide of violence in the society.
He was one, among five panellists, offering up thoughts during a panel discussion on Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace and Justice Strong Institution) - Youth Participation: the Key to Peace and Security at a Youth Month Forum hosted recently by the National Integrity Action (NIA) and Equality Youth Jamaica at the UWI Regional Headquarters, Mona.
“Just like how they have Mathematics and English curricula, we want them to have one for peacebuilding. We want them to teach human rights as it relates to peacebuilding,” he implored while adding that, teachers would require training in how to carry out this curriculum.
Charlton also said there was a need to create a national movement for young people to advocate for peacebuilding as the security of all, was not the remit of any one person. It was time, he said, for all voices, especially those of the youth, to be heard,” he noted.
He stressed that in order to pursue advocacy, persons had to be committed, despite the challenges faced. “You want to see change and at the end of it, you don’t, when you are not committed,” he pointed out.
With the focus of the Commonwealth Youth for Peace Ambassadors Network Jamaica being youth development and volunteerism, Charlton said his organization was willing to collaborate with like-minded organisations. Time, he explained, had come the organisation to align with others given the scarcity of funds.
On hand also was panelist, Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance, who echoed a similar sentiment regarding the need for more collaborative effort as it pertained to peacebuilding.
“Many young people are doing wonderful work but I think one of the challenges is to get them all to work together and this has to be done because we are losing too many young people to violence. We have to save them,” she stressed.
The media, she added, had a role to play in supporting the peacebuilding initiatives pursued by youth. Dr Ward pointed out that on most occasions the media only appeared in marginalized communities when there was a tragic event, but failed to highlight and expose the positive work occurring within these communities.
“Young people need the media to listen and pay attention. There is the ‘Track on the Streets’ initiative which has been going on for years and getting bigger and better each year, and you don’t see anything about it in the media. Here is a young man making a difference,” she explained.
Dr Ward further impressed upon the media to hold the government more accountable for their promises to the youth. “It is great to get up in parliament and promise things, but we need a clear, strategic and consistent way to make them accountable,” she implored.
The Youth Month Forum, which brought together several stakeholders from the youth and educational sectors, was held under the theme,” Keeping Us More Accountable on the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Students from the secondary level also attended the event and were involved in questions and answers.