Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls through Sports Psychology: “Beyond Sports: Enabling Life Skills for Youth”, An initiative of The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Sameer Younis Foundation, UN Women, Elite Sports Psychology and Respect Jamaica
(L-R) Lloyd Distant- Former president of Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Samantha Chantrelle - Managing Director, Change Makers (Spotlight Implementing Partners),Melanie Subratie - Board Member of the JCC, Jahmel Brown and Shawn Connery, Respect Jamaica Ambassadors, Warren McDonald- Chairman of the JCC Sameer Younis Foundation, Dr Hamilton – Clinical Psychologist, Elite Sports Psychology, Monique Long, UN Women MCO-Caribbean Planning & Coordination Specialist, Jason Younis – Son of Sameer Younis, Founder of the JCC SYF displays the tablets presented to the Respect Jamaica ambassadors.
The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Sameer Younis Foundation (JCC-SYF) launched its latest development intervention targeting at-risk youth using sports psychology, in collaboration with the UN Women Multi-Country Office (MCO) – Caribbean under the EU funded Spotlight Initiative. The project titled, “Beyond Sports: Enabling Life Skills for Youth”, is a multi-pronged approach that will engage youth through sports to address some of the psychosocial factors that increase their vulnerability and at-risk behaviours.
In partnership with Elite Sports Psychology and Respect Jamaica, the project will target women, men, boys and girls ages 15-24 years in Kingston and St. Andrew. “Beyond Sports: Enabling Life Skills for Youth” will address psychosocial factors such as improving youth’s mental well-being, stimulating behaviour change to promote positive life outcomes and the choice of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to solve conflicts before they escalate to violence. The project will also focus on promoting more equitable gender roles in our society with a view to reducing Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Speaking at the launch on July 7, 2022, at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Ms Monique Long, UN Women MCO-Caribbean Planning and Coordination Specialist, applauded this innovative approach to addressing violence against women and girls in Jamaica, using sports.
Monique Long, UN Women MCO-Caribbean Planning & Coordination Specialist, delivers remarks to attendees at the launch of the 'Beyond Sports' programme
Ms Long said: “We are pleased to partner with the JCC SYF on this groundbreaking programme, which reminds us of the importance of using creativity and innovation as we strive to make an impact. Gender-based violence continues to be a pervasive issue with significant consequences. Accordingly, one of our primary areas of work under the Spotlight Initiative is working with communities and engaging young people in the spaces they occupy towards preventing GBV. This intervention is key as it employs sports as a tool to reach youth and it aligns with the UN Women Foundations Programme which is a participant-centred, violence prevention programme for young people that encourages discourse on key concepts including gender, gender socialisation, gender hierarchies and constructions of masculinity and femininity, and explores their impact on relationships.”
Dr J.S. Hamilton, head of Elite Sports Psychology (ESP), a team of licensed Clinical Psychologists based in Jamaica and Miami that improves the performance of athletes, entertainers, sports franchises, and organizations, outlined the methods that would be used to implement the project.
Dr Hamilton said: “The team and doctoral students have identified high schools where we will be doing psychological evaluations using models and tools on the students. There will be pre-testing, base line assessments and progress reviews. The high school students will have to communicate with the psychologists daily (graduate students registered to the Jamaica Psychological Association) by SMS to indicate that activities have been completed while also documenting daily in individual journals.”
Dr Hamilton also added: “Elite Sports Psychology has been working with at-risk youth for many years in other countries. As a proud Jamaican, I am looking forward to bringing the tools we have learned are successful in helping youth reach their top potential. We have all gone through a difficult time these last few years with the pandemic, and now more than ever, our young people need the psychosocial help to assist them in navigating their situations. We are proud to be a partner in this project.”
Mrs. Samantha Chantrelle, Managing Director of Change Makers and Respect Jamaica Ambassador further explained the importance of the Beyond Sports project: “I have been working with at-risk youth for over 25 years, and this project is a culmination of what I consider to be the greatest ways to make an impact with our youth. Psychosocial skills are critical to anyone’s success, but for kids at risk, even more so. Together with a focus on sports by an organization that has worked with some of our best athletes, I see a recipe that will attract the kids to be a part of something great.”
The project will be conducted within the framework of the prevention Pillar of the ongoing EU funded-Spotlight Initiative Project in Jamaica, which focuses on gender inequitable social norms, attitudes and behaviours change at community and individual levels to prevent violence against women and girls and harmful practices.
Delivering opening remarks at the launch, Chairman of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Sameer Younis Foundation (JCC-SYF), Mr. Warren McDonald stated that the Beyond Sports project will build on the JCC-SYF’s mandate to address social challenges through development and partnerships among the private sector, government, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
Warren McDonald- Chairman of the JCC Sameer Younis Foundation acknowledge the alignment of the project with the mandate of the JCC-SYF
Mr. McDonald said: “In continuing our mandate to uplift our youth and our organisation’s commitment to women’s empowerment, we are proud to collaborate with our partners in this latest initiative Beyond Sports. We here at JCC-SYF are excited about this partnership, particularly as this project epitomizes the organisation's long-standing commitment to uplift our most vulnerable youth and making strides towards women’s empowerment.”
Jamaica is one of five CARICOM Member States (the others being Belize, Grenada, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago) receiving direct support from the EU-UN Global Spotlight Initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
More Information on the Organisations Involved:
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce-Sameer Younis Foundation (JCC-SYF)
Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) is registered as a privately owned limited liability, non-profit non-governmental organization. The non-profit, non-governmental arm of the organization is called JCC-Sameer Younis Foundation (JCC-SYF). The JCC-SYF seeks to build on its mandate to promote integrated urban development and address social ills through the development of partnerships among the private sector, government and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The JCC-SYF, the philanthropic arm of the JCC, has been actively working with youth-at-risk for over 20 years predominantly in violence prone communities within the Kingston and St. Andrew area, implementing programmes such as the “The Youth Leaders for Change Training Programme” to respond to the escalation of violent activities among factious groups from the communities of Downtown Kingston severely impacting the lives of residents, visitors, and businesses.
UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life.
Respect Jamaica Programme
Established in 2014, the aim of the Respect Jamaica Programme is to address the negative attitudes and behaviours which systematically affect disadvantaged groups in Jamaica. The programme tackles stigma and discrimination experienced by Jamaicans with a focus on the following pillars (i) race/colour/class; (ii) gender; (iii) religious affiliation; (iv) political affiliation; (v) sexual orientation; (vi) ability/disabilities. The initiative calls on Jamaicans to speak out and stand up against prejudice in support of those who are marginalised and vulnerable—to make positive changes in our communities so children will learn RESPECT, give RESPECT and enjoy a safe, cohesive and just society.
Elite Sports Psychology
Elite Sports Psychology (ESP), headed by Dr. Scott Hamilton LLC – a licensed Clinical Psychologist, seeks to improve the performance of athletes, entertainers, sports franchises, and organizations. Through the NGO arm of the organisation-Elite Quest, the organization is providing basic swimming survival skills to vulnerable, at-risk members of the community in countries such as the United States of America. ESP has been working in at-risk communities with much touted success in interventions in Jamaica, Miami, and in Africa.. ESP focuses on increasing performance by managing emotions and minimizing the psychological effects of psychosocial trauma, physical injury and poor performance, working with individual athletes, teams, coaches. ESP was selected by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) to travel to Tokyo, Japan for the 2021 Olympics to give psychosocial support to the Jamaican team. ESP works with several high-level sporting organisations such as MVP and have been working with elite athletes from inner city communities that involved in different sports activities.