CSJP Transforming De La Vega City Community
PHOTO: Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) scholarship beneficiary and De La Vega City Community Development Committee (CDC) volunteer, Richard Dumphrey, assists a resident in using the Essential Learning Programme in the community centre.
The residents of the De La Vega City community in Spanish Town are now reaping benefits from the continued intervention of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).
Since 2011, CSJP has been working in the community through the De La Vega City Community Development Committee (CDC), offering services such as parenting support, violence interruption support, sports programmes, vocational skills training, secondary and tertiary scholarships, operational training for the CDC executive body, and counselling intervention, among other things.
CSJP Community Case Management Officer, Kadian Hutchinson, tells JIS News that residents have been reacting favourably to the various offerings.
“The response has been rewarding. The CDC has taken on the affairs of the community and they are a vibrant group. They go the extra mile to ensure that the (programmes) are very effective,” she says.
“There is a stigma that has been placed on the community, but in that community, there are a number of overachievers, and with the CDC and what they stand for, that community can go a far way,” she points out.
Treasurer of the CDC, Joan Black, hails CSJP for working with the residents and helping to change the image of the community.
“With (their) help we have grown tremendously. Without CSJP, our recognition was next to none. Some people say that we are volatile, some say we are ghetto and when they come in and see our community they see this is not so,” she points out.
Ms. Black also credits the CSJP for guiding the CDC into becoming a fully operational organisation.
“CSJP has given us strides that we never knew we had. With CSJP, we have become accountable and transparent. When we are audited, we can prove to people that we are reliable and responsible. Now we can make representation anywhere through their training,” she boasts to JIS News.
Another benefit of the CSJP’s involvement in De La Vega City is the number of volunteers that the programme has generated. In order to benefit from the scholarships, a resident must be a volunteer and also a member of the CDC.
Richard Dumphrey, who is a scholarship beneficiary, is giving back to the community by assisting at the homework centre.
Mr. Dumphrey had previously participated in the CSJP’s internship programme, when he was placed at the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) as a filing clerk for more than a year.
After the internship, CSJP stepped in again and awarded him a partial scholarship to pursue tertiary education at the Portmore Community College, where he is completing studies in the area of Information Technology.
When not attending school or working, Mr. Dumphrey can be seen in his community engaging at-risk youth.
Through use of Essential Learning Program software, Mr. Dumphrey provides an interesting and interactive way of helping those with reading challenges to master the art.
“I got interactive software because I found out that the youth like the computer setting. I did not want them to get bored with books. There is a computer lab and I got software that could help them interact with a learning program. It helped with phonics, grammar and learning the alphabet,” he says.
“Up to now, they still come in on Fridays, and more of them have been attending the classes. Now we do not have enough computers for all of them. We had to try and reduce the numbers by targeting the persons who are not in school,” adds the 27-year-old.
Mr. Dumphrey, who is an Operations Officer at Wisynco Group Limited, says that as a result of CSJP’s emphasis on volunteering, he has grown to enjoy giving back to his community, in particular its youth.
“I find what I do fulfilling, because if you can get one youth off the street and away from crime and violence, you are saving a life. A lot of the youth here just need guidance and someone who can relate to them. Sometimes the parents do not relate to them on certain levels, so I hang around them and reason with them about making better life choices,” he shares.
He also thanks CSJP for improving the quality of life for the De La Vega City residents.
“What I like about CSJP is that they target the inner-city communities and the people, who really need help because there are a lot of persons here who do not have the financial stability to advance themselves and help their community. CSJP is one of the best outreach programmes in Jamaica,” Dumphrey expresses.
CSJP is a multifaceted crime and violence-prevention initiative of the Ministry of National Security that focuses on building community safety and security.
More than $1 billion has been allocated to the CSJP in the 2016/17 Budget to carry out interventions in the 50 project communities, covering eight parishes.
The money will go towards parenting education and counselling interventions; violence-interruption services; vocational skills training; provide support for community infrastructure projects, including multipurpose centres, among other things.
The project, which is slated to end in November 2019, is being funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development; Global Affairs Canada (formerly Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development); the Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank.