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Fact Sheet on the Xchange Movement for Violence Reduction

TO:  Members of the Media
FROM: UNICEF – Jamaica 
May, 2005

BACKGROUND
 In 2004, Xchange as a movement for bringing about positive change among young people and adults, was developed out of concern about the rising levels of violence perpetrated by and against children in the Caribbean.
 The idea for Xchange was first conceived of by Machel Montano, Trinidadian soca star and Chief Executive Officer of Xtatic and by Derrick Lewis, Creative Director of Island People also of Trinidad who approached UNICEF.  UNICEF Regional and Caribbean Representatives supported the idea and assisted with conceptualization. 
 Xchange’s objective is to create safe and protective environments for children in the home, school and community where they can live and reach their full potential.
 The movement was officially launched with a concert in Trinidad and Tobago on 19 March 2005. The launch was preceded by a five-day Young Leaders Workshop. The young leaders from Jamaica who participated in the workshop were drawn from eight inner city communities – Fletcher’s Land, Grants Pen, Downtown Kingston, Mountain View, Bennett Lands, Tawes Pen (Spanish Town) and Flankers (Montego Bay).
 At the end of the training Jamaican participants identified some key actions which they would like to implement locally.  These include: Community beautification and creation of  green spaces; more organized and sustainable community sports activities; use of  popular entertainers as role models in communities; use of popular culture to get young people involved in alternatives to violence ;improved/expanded training and education for community members; and greater media exposure for both positive and negative happenings in their communities

XCHANGE IN JAMAICA
 Xchange is part of the Violence Prevention Alliance, an umbrella organization  headed by the Ministry of Health, 
 aimed at  uniting groups from all sectors involved in violence prevention in Jamaica.
 Between 2005/2006, UNICEF will be spending over US$600,000 to scale up the implementation and scope of the holistic response to children and violence being developed through a National Plan of  Action.  At present, UNICEF funds a number of  activities which address the issue of children and violence  by working with both government and NGOs in the areas of  Early Childhood Development, Adolescent Development and Participation and Child Protection.   
 The Jamaican Xchange launch, which took place on May 28 at Emancipation Park, New Kingston  was planned as an event which would raise awareness not simply about the problem of violence in Jamaica, but also about initiatives being taken to address the problem, about the communities affected and about what steps they have taken to tackle violence. It took the form of a one-day Exposition culminating in a concert. Booths were be mounted by community organizations as well as public, private and voluntary sector organizations. There were also discussions (“reasonings”), competitions, entertainment, all geared at violence prevention. A concert headlined by popular, socially conscious artistes will bring the day’s events to a close and will officially launch the Xchange movement.

Follow-up activities
 Immediately following the launch, UNICEF will assist the young leaders in initiating activities at the community level so as not to lose the momentum. This will be done in close collaboration with relevant public and private sector organizations and with other stakeholders in the eight target communities mentioned above as well as new ones to be added. The young leaders, known as Xchangers, will spearhead the community initiatives.
 Among the activities identified for immediate action by the youth participants are: Youth Leaders Workshops in each community; creation of green areas and community beautification; greater media exposure for the targeted communities and community talks by positive role models - popular artistes and sports personalities.

Contacts: Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative, bbainvel@unicef.org, Monica Dias, Communication Officer, mdias@unicef.org 

 

Click here to learn about UNICEF Jamaica's activities on Violence and Children

 

 
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