Child Protection



Opal Dunn - Power Peer Advocate

© 2005
Power Peer Advocate Opal Dunn makes her point at the 2005 World AIDS Day Schools Debating Competition, organised by the Jamaica Red Cross.

Opal Dunn, a fifteen year old student from the Montego Bay High School for Girls in Western Jamaica, has been empowered.

Opal is one of 25 young people who participated in training under the Power Peer Youth Advocates Programme, developed and implemented by the Jamaica Red Cross and supported by the Adolescent Development and Participation programme of UNICEF, Jamaica.

“We learnt a lot of new things. Normally when we do our projects at school we just have ideas, we decide on what idea we want to go with and then organise some fundraising activities. During the training, I learnt that there is so much more! I learnt to do proper programming and planning, how to organise our thoughts and how plan and carry out a project efficiently,” an enthusiastic Opal explains. She was also happy to have had the opportunity to meet students from other schools and exchange ideas with them.

Opal is not only the president of her school’s Red Cross Club, but is also involved in the Key Club, 4-H Club and Gold Club at Montego Bay High. She, along with four other students from her school who also received training, have already started using the knowledge they gained.  They shared the information they gained with other Red Cross Club members and the club now has plans to refurbish the Nurse’s Station/Sick Bay at the school.

“Because Red Cross deals with health and first aid, we thought this would be an ideal project. We have done our planning and have started typing letters seeking sponsorship and we want to present our ideas to our principal when she returns……We also used the training in other ways. We had Open Day and each club was required to present on our activities and achievements. We used the information we learnt to plan and implement our presentation,”
The Power Peer Youth Advocates Programme began in 2005 and aims to train young people across the island in programme planning and implementation. The Red Cross recognised that many young people were working in implementing projects but that few of them had actually had the opportunity to develop the programmes that they were executing. In fact, many of these projects and programmes were developed by older persons.

The training empowers young people by providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively conceptualise, develop and implement projects, ensuring that programming for youth can be created by youth. Some 25 youngsters were trained in the first workshop held in late 2005. There are plans for an additional three workshops in 2006, which will each train 25 persons.

These are plans which Opal supports heartily: “I would recommend that they have this training more often. It was exciting, terrific, educational and fun! It would be good to even have it over a longer period, like a summer workshop.” 



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