UNICEF Jamaica and Parenting
© UNICEF Jamaica, 2005
UNICEF Jamaica tries to meet the needs of parents through various activities under its country programme.
UNICEF has supported the establishment of Parent Support Advisory Teams (P-SATs) two of which now function in the parishes of St. James and St. Catherine. The P-SATs give parents the opportunity to share and learn from each other, with the support of specially trained persons who give information on a number of topics from time to time. P-SATs bring together persons from major organisations in the parish who have an interest in parenting. These organisations may include schools, churches, community- based organisations and citizens’ associations, among others. Key persons from these organisations are then trained to educate parents in communities and at their workplaces about good parenting practices.
The Coalition For Better Parenting, an umbrella organisation representing a number of local agencies and organisations which focus on parenting issues, has also been a beneficiary of UNICEF support.
The media is another partner which UNICEF works with to support and strengthen parenting in Jamaica. Radio Jamaica (RJR) is a UNICEF partner in producing a 15 minute feature, “Lets Talk Parenting”, aired twice weekly. The radio feature provides helpful tips for Jamaican parents and utilises drama as well as the services of counsellors, psychologists and social work professionals to highlight various parenting concerns. The programme can be heard on Radio Jamaica 94 FM (or online at www.radiojamaica.com) on Wednesdays at 8:45 p.m. with a repeat of the programme on Sundays at 11:45 a.m.
UNICEF Jamaica’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) projects address parents’ needs and concerns in various ways:
Support is given to the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission programme of the Ministry of Health to prevent transmission of HIV from pregnant and nursing mothers to their babies
The Transitions Project to ensure a more successful transition from early childhood to primary schools for children in south Clarendon also targeted parents and provided them with basic training and information on child development and parenting skills.
The Roving Caregivers Programme, run by partner RUFAMSO, is a non-formal, integrated programme of child development and parenting education provided by trained caregivers who provide a home visiting service to at-risk households where young children are in need of stimulation.
The St. Catherine PSAT has receieved support from ECD.
ECD also works to encourage breastfeeding among Jamaican mothers as way to protect the health and well-being of children.
A series of booklets “What Every Parent Should Know” is being developed
UNICEF Jamaica’s Adolescent Development and Participation (ADP) programme addresses parenting concerns via:
Its support to the St. James PSAT. While this PSAT is supported by the ADP programme, it focuses on parents of children of all ages and is not limited to adolescent concerns. It approaches parenting education within a life cycle framework. The intervention is supported in the context of a number of challenges which exist to parenting in the parish of St. James including - a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, high unemployment, the presence of a number of squatter communities which developed around the tourist industry and high rates of teenage pregnancy.
UNICEF Jamaica’s Policy, Advocacy and Special Care and Protection activities address parenting concerns through various activities including:
Support to Radio Jamaica’s “Let’s Talk Parenting” programme
Support to the activities of the Jamaica Coalition of the Right of the Child including the publication of “Rights and Responsibilities – A Guide for Parents based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Support to the Ministry of Health for printing the booklet “Raising Children to Resist Violence.”
Support to the implementation of the National Plan of Action for OVC including activities to support for training of and provision of income generating opportunities for HIV positive parents.
Support to the National Initiative for Street Children which has activities which try to improve the parenting practices of the parents and guardians of the children enrolled in its programme.