Approximately 48 children in State Care, ages 13 to 18 years, have benefitted from a recent three-month Debating Intervention Project to help them resolve conflicts more amicably and improve their self-esteem.

The programme which was an initiative of the CPFSA was undertaken in collaboration with the Jamaican Association for Debating and Empowerment (JADE) Limited.

The aim of the programme was to expose the children to the full gamut of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) during their training, as well as different aspects of debating to improve their self-confidence.

 A total of five training sessions were held in each region (South East, North East, Southern and Western) with the participants, from which the winning teams were selected.

The project culminated with a final competition on Tuesday, December 17, 2019; which saw the winning teams from each region competing against each other in two separate semi-finals matches, following which the two top winners (Southern and North East Regions) from both matches contested each other for the win.

The teams put their arguments into perspective, proposing and opposing the moot “The declining values and attitudes, growing acts of violence and depravity against children in the Jamaican society is the primary factor infringing on the inherent right to life, survival and development of our children. (UN CRC Article 6).

In the end, the Southern Region emerged as victors. Both teams were awarded trophies and cash prizes. All participants were given medals for their participation. Sectional prizes were also given to the four top regional debaters and the overall top debater for the competition.

Director of Children and Family Programmes, Audrey Budhi said that the programme was a worthwhile initiative that was embarked on in culmination of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 30th anniversary observance.

The programme was designed for the children to. I am happy that the children benefited from this this project. It warms my heart to see how susceptible they were throughout the entire programme, which has helped to improve their self-confidence and general demeanour. Our objective throughout the competition was for the youngsters to have a greater appreciation of the elements within the UNCRC, which was achieved.

Miss Budhi noted that the competition is a spin-off from a debating summer initiative, undertaken in 2017, between the CPFSA and Debate Mate.

The Programme however received much success, as such; the Agency saw the need to further develop the competences of the children who participated in the Debate Mate Programme, through the Debating Intervention Project.