St. Hugh's High School student wins Outstanding Child Researcher 2007 prize
Kingston, October 25, 2007.- Student of St. Hugh's High School in Kingston, 17 year old Danielle Edwards won the top prize from among seven child researchers who presented at the second Caribbean Child Research Conference held October 23-24 at the Jamaica Conference Centre. The conference was staged by the UNICEF Country Office for Jamaica in partnership with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) and the Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC) of the University of the West Indies, the Early Childhood Commission, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Children Issues Coalition, the Child Development Agency and the Ministries of Health and Education.
Attended by policymakers, planners and researchers from across the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries, Latin America and as far away as Nigeria and South Africa, the conference allowed researchers and non-researchers to discuss findings of the most recent studies and share recommendations for action focusing on improving the situation of children and fulfillment of their rights.
The inclusion of children in the conference was aimed at exposing them to high quality research undertaken during the past three years and to encourage their participation in researching of issues that of their concern and interest. This year the organizers supported the Ministry of Education to further promote Child Rights and research especially participatory action research among adolescents through a series of workshops organized by SALISES with technical and financial support of UNICEF Jamaica. As a result 15 research papers were submitted by students of which the best seven were presented during the Conference. All seven students were presented with gifts and they were awarded sectional prizes in oral presentations, excellence in written presentation and excellence in methodology. The top prize of a laptop computer to the 2007 Outstanding Child Researcher was provided by UNICEF whilst the sectional prizes were donated by Kingston and Sangster's Bookshops. Danielle was presented with a plaque and her prize of a laptop computer by Marta Santos Pais, Director, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
Danielle's research on "The psychological effects of crime & violence on teenagers from an inner city community" revealed that 18 of 20 teenagers interviewed had been exposed to gun violence and had experienced a high amount of stress and fear. These students stated that thoughts about crime and violence were interfering with their studies and had become very aggressive and defensive. Approximately 45 per cent of the students interviewed stated that they did not feel safe at home and are often concerned about their safety.
The 2007 Outstanding Child Researcher recommended improvements in the justice system, group counselling in schools for students affected by violence, effective parenting and family life and the promotion of anger management and values and attitudes.
Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie, first female principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona received the Distinguished Research Award for extensive research over many years in children's issues, especially in the area of education. She received a grant of J$500,000 to continued research in children's issues.
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