Hundreds of New Providence residents, over the last several weeks, have been sharpening their skills in mediating challenges involving gender based violence, sexual assault, conflict resolution and parenting.
In an effort to equip more Bahamians with the tools to tackle social ills facing their communities, nearly 400 new community members have been certified during multiple-day workshops conducted around town by the first cohort of Citizen Security and Justice Programme trainers.
As Community Leader Sgt. De’antia Jones – who recently led training at the C.H. Reeves Junior High School – sees it, there is presently a great need for the skills and the knowledge that comes along with the training.
“Especially for the young people in our country, the high school students, it shows them how their actions in many cases don’t make sense,” said Jones. “It is very vital at the same time that they learn things in a social environment and through role play they were able to see a lot of things differently.
“It’s important for us as a people to understand that we can think and act in a different way and how to respect someone’s opinion and culture and reevaluate how to treat others, because we don’t want to be discriminated against. So, the training teaches them how to look at things from a different angle. To evaluate if the things we do are from a culture perspective or from a human rights aspect.” Jones is one of 27 Local Leaders who were the first New Providence residents to complete the program in October. The trainers immediately began their work within the communities to identify more people to train on the curriculum.Dr. Rochelle Lightbourne, The CSJP coordinator for the Component under which the training falls, said the training program seeks to address nine distinct forms violence – physical , sexual, emotional, psychological, cultural, spiritual, financial abuse, verbal abuse and neglect.
“We see a lot of violence in our country in many cases because we’re seeing the cycle perpetuated where the husband abuses the wife or vice versa and the children witness this and then they turn to abusing other children and grow up to be abusers themselves.” Dr. Lightbourne gave as an example. “At the CSJP, we are looking at breaking that cycle of violence by equipping community members with the knowledge and skills on how to recognize these sign and when we do, how to intercede for a positive outcome.” The training sessions are open to the public at no cost and are a part of a multi-level approach, under a CSJP mandate for Youth and Community Development, which uses evidenced-based research on the best methods to tackle the rising crime in the capital. Around 400 trainees in total will officially graduate from the program with their certificates this week.