Ten civil society organisations graduate from policy monitoring training in Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Twenty-one participants from ten civil society organizations (CSOs) have completed a series of training on monitoring human rights and governance in Jamaica and were recognized for their efforts at a graduation ceremony recently.
“This is the first in a series of practical capacity building exercises – I am stressing practical because these are skills we want you to use,” said Carol Narcisse, member of the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) in her address to the graduates last Friday. “By the time this project ends we hope to see in the news and elsewhere more of your advocacy work.”
The JCSC has partnered with the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) to implement a two-year project titled “Improved Civil Society Capacity for Research-Based Advocacy”, under which the training falls.
“Significant and sustainable change can only be achieved when citizens are involved. You who are graduating represent the empowered in society. One challenge faced is that people feel they cannot advocate because they are not empowered enough but you are one of the sets that can go out and change the world,” said Ivan Cruickshank, CVC’s finance and administrative manager in his remarks to the graduates.
“As policy monitors I want to charge that you must play a part to build the evidence needed for policy change. It is your responsibility as policy monitors to disseminate the information to your colleagues – if you are doing the research you need to share your findings with your colleagues so that it can build a community of advocates to challenge the status quo and call for changes in programmes for the betterment of the society at large,” he said.
Among the organisations that participated in the training programme were: Jamaica Community of Positive Women, Jamaica Aids Support for Life, The Ashe Company, Eve for Life, Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, JFLAG, Stand up for Jamaica, Woman Inc, and Jamaica Network of Seropositives.
They were invited to participate in the training based on research done by JCSC and CVC which showed that many CSOs have limited policy-monitoring capacity as well as limited ability to do the research required for policy critique and for the articulation of CSO policy positions and advocacy.
Therefore the curriculum of the training course, which was administered over a seven-month period, was specifically designed to address this gap. The organisations are now better able to focus on human rights violations especially where marginalised groups are concerned and also gender equity issues.
“Jamaica is a ready space to learn about rights and advocacy,” said Vanna Lawrence, from the European Union (EU) delegation to Jamaica.
The EU is the main funder of the two year project.
“The EU is proud to fund this initiative to – give people like you the will to stand up for rights – like Bob Marley said,” Lawrence told the graduates. The project will host another group of CSO’s for policy monitoring as well as conducting its other activities.