Friday, 21 October 2016

Barbershop Networking To Improve Literacy in Boys

“We read to know we’re not alone”- William Nicholson
Girls continue to outperform boys at all levels of Jamaica’s education system. Regrettably, a significant percentage of boys begin school struggling to speak in full sentences due to their limited vocabulary. The process of reading over the years has been stigmatized as a ‘sissy’ activity in which ‘real’ men are pressured to avoid. Disturbingly, boys who display school smarts are often ridicule as effeminate by peers and even adults in areas where academic excellence by males is typically devalued. According to data from the United Nations (UN) it is estimated that worldwide 103 million children lack the skills to be literate. The news emerging from the UN is mixed as in an effort to meet their Sustainable Development Goals #4 (SDG) of ensuring inclusive and quality education and promoting lifelong learning the UN is reporting  that basic literacy skills have improved greatly, however, bolder strategies are required in achieving 100 per cent literacy as 57 million children remain out of school. It bear thought that without the ability to read, comprehend and interpret our students will have a difficulty competing for those better paying jobs which are integrated into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme. It is very clear that we are in the midst of a boy crisis and as such we need to find creative measures to promote and encourage our boys to read more. An expansion of the stakeholders for improving literacy must be explored at this time. An additional stakeholder which could be added to the various intervention methods which currently exit is our nation’s barbershops. How would such a project be implementing one may ask? Such an ambitious plan would require a civil society partnership involving the churches, service clubs, such as, Rotary International and the Kiwanis Clubs and the owners/managers of barbershops. Over the years there has been a proliferation of barbershops all across the island. It has become rather common to see boys at barbershops on a Saturday or Sunday waiting for that special haircut. It is quite standard to wait at least 30-45 minutes at any such establishment. Imagine just for a moment how many hours per year boys spend at the barbershop? This waiting period could be used to promote reading among boys. Unfortunately, it very uncommon to see books at barbershops and this needs to be revisited by forging a partnership between non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and service clubs to donate books. Parents could also be encouraged to donate old books to their favourite barbershop to assist in this project. Boys have varied interests in reading material; however, many boys are interesting in comics as well as sports related books and magazines. We need to stimulate within boys a passion for reading and this must be inculcated at an early age to capture the creativity of our boys. A barbershop reading project is not a novel idea. In Michigan barbershops have gone a step further by giving discounts to boys who read aloud to their barbers while they are getting their hair styled. In addition to improving literary skills among boys, books have the ability to build the self-esteem of the reader which is lacking in many boys as they continue to bleach their skin. Such a barbershop reading project would assist immensely in character building of our boys into men, as well as assist in reclaiming a brand of masculinity which places a high premium on education. We need to finds ways of getting our boys to read again. Reading is fun. This message of repackaging reading as fun must be spread across the length and breadth of the society and especially among boys to get them to turn the pages of books. Reading is a macho activity. In the words of Kofi Annan, “acquiring literacy is an empowering process, enabling millions to enjoy access to knowledge and information which broadens horizons, increases opportunities and creates alternatives for building a better life”. 
waykam@yahoo.com
@WayneCamo
... and incorporates <b>barber</b>, <b>barber shop</b>, and <b>barber</b> chair design themes


Friday, 14 October 2016

Urbanization, Governance and Environmental Management

“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strength governance”. Ban Ki-moon 
According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) by 2050, 2.5 billion people, a larger population than China and India combined will move into the world’s cities. As the global population increases so too are the chances of interpersonal conflicts as we share the space around us. It matters a whole lot that governments work assiduously to make our cities safe and sustainable for all its inhabitants in spite of budgetary constraints. The United Nations (UN) has been around for more than 50 years and has been integrally involved in programmes aimed at transforming societies for the better. The UN has established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) all of which are geared towards ending poverty, protecting our planet and ensuring prosperity for all. The New World Encyclopedia defines sustainable development as balancing the protection of the natural environment with the fulfillment of human needs so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but in the indefinite future. Regrettably, sustainable development is not always as obvious to policy makers as in too many situations the environment is sacrificed on the altar of development. Goal 17 of the UN’s (SDG’s) addresses the issue of partnership which is critical to sustainable development. According to the United Nations a successful development agenda requires partnership between governments, the private sector and civil society. These partnerships the UN added should be built upon principles and values, a shared vision and shared goals. Unfortunately, we live in a society where the laws are not always adhered to by some of the citizenry. There is a tendency for many of us in the society to dispose of garbage into gullies which oftentimes are flooded during times of disasters. We then blocked the roads and cry for justice forgetting to connect the dots that we too have a civic responsibilities to make our cities safe and secure. One can be poor with a heightened sense of civic pride. The society must remind itself and be mindful that government also has a wider responsibility to the citizenry to ensure that the gullies and drain are clean regularly. Recently, we saw what less than an hour’s rain can do to our urban and rural areas as many roadways, communities and gullies were flooded.  It can be argued that each social class has its own set of principles and goals which inevitably leads to chaos and underdevelopment. All across the corporate areas and in some parts of rural Jamaica, areas once considered as prime residential locations have been allowed to be taken over and changed into commercial purposes without any sanctions being applied to those who are involved in such practices. For example, in recent times there have been influxes of junk yards selling used car parts. In many instances these used car parts are stored on top of buildings or elsewhere without being secured. The recent scare with hurricane Matthew has made us realize that as a society our community risk management approach is not where it should be. The government needs to act now to ensure that we look at the broader picture regarding risk management instead of the insular and incremental approach which now exits. The current situation increases the stake for huge risks and hazard for communities all across the country. What would have happened to all those unsecured car parts stored in junk yards and elsewhere if hurricane Matthew had impacted us directly? Presently, unsecured used car parts form the basis of a potential peril and threat to the life and the security of residents. No one is advocating that we should not have outlets which sell used car parts. The issue here is one of regulation and enforcement of zoning rules so that we do not continue to erode neighborhoods and negatively change the dynamics of such communities. The Kingston and St. Andrew (KSAC) and all the other relevant government agencies need to act with a sense of urgency to address this growing problem. It should not be that anyone because of wealth and or political connection is able to do just about anything without thinking about his/her responsibilities to the wider community. The concept of social justice must work for all Jamaicans, whether they live uptown, midtown or downtown or in rural areas. Jamaica’s 20/30 vision is at risk if we continue along this path. We will not realize the dream of Jamaica becoming that place to live, work, raise families and do business if we do not effectively manage risks in a communal manner and be mindful of the rights of others. The UN reminds us that by 2030 almost 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. This has implications for all of us as our personal space is set to decrease with urbanization and an increase in population. We must develop and put policies in place now in order to meet these new realities, development cannot be sustained in this unstructured manner. There needs to be some monitoring of these junk yards by the authorities. We all have a right to enjoy the country of our birth regardless of our social class. In the words of Samuel Wilson, “as population susceptibilities are better understood, we will be in a better position than we are in today to make informed decisions about risk management.
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.
waykam@yahoo.com
@WayneCamo

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Managing Community Risks

The Jamaican Constitution guarantees every citizen certain basic rights. As a result all Jamaicans are viewed as equals before the law. Unfortunately, we live in a society where the laws are not always adhered to by some of the citizenry. All across the corporate areas and in some parts of rural Jamaica, areas once considered as prime residential locations have been allowed to be taken over and changed into commercial purposes without any sanctions to those involved in such practices. In recent times there have been influxes of junk yards selling used car parts. In many instances these used car parts are stored on top of buildings or elsewhere without being secured. The government needs to act now! Any delayed action will only make matters worse. The situation poses huge risks and hazard for communities all across the country. What would have happened to all those unsecured car parts stored in junk yards and elsewhere if hurricane Matthew had hit us? These used car parts form the basis of peril and threat to the life and security of residents. The Kingston and St. Andrew (KSAC) and all the other relevant government agencies need to act with a sense of urgency to address this growing problem. The issue of the inconveniences associated with junk yards in residential areas cannot be underestimated. Many residents have suffered and continue to be denied ready access to their homes since patrons of these entities park anywhere that is available blocking off entry to their gate. It cannot be that anyone because of wealth and or political connection is able to do just about anything without thinking about his/her responsibilities to the wider community.  Jamaica’s 20/30 vision of promoting the country to become the choice to live, work, raise families and do business will not be achieved if we do not manage risks in a communal manner, mindful of the rights of others. Development cannot be sustained in this unstructured manner. There needs to be some monitoring of these junk yards by the authorities. Additionally, these used car parts also serve as a haven for rodents and well as mosquitoes. We all have a right to enjoy the country of our birth regardless of social class. In the words of Dan Shechtman "sustainable development requires human ingenuity. People are the most important resource". 

Monday, 3 October 2016

#World Habitat Day 2016

Everyone deserves a decent place to live. United Nation’s World Habitat Day is annually celebrated on the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of human settlements and people’s right to adequate shelter. The day serves as a reminder to the world of its collective responsibility for the habitat of future generations. As the global population increases so too have the challenges. Regrettably, the number of people especially the poor and vulnerable groups, including women, migrants and persons with disabilities find themselves living in less than desirable conditions as they face discrimination based on their circumstances. It is estimated that a billion new houses will be needed by 2025 to accommodate 50 million new urban dwellers. Access to affordable housing is not new phenomenon. It is a global challenge which requires commitment, resources and creativity from governments in order to reverse the growing trends of informal settlements and slums which many urban dwellers now call home.  Squatting on government and privately owned lands is now a common feature in many societies including Jamaica. The eradication of poverty should be a priority for all governments as this is a barrier to quality and affordable housing. The housing crisis in Jamaica is desperate. It is estimated that between 15 to 35 per cent of Jamaicans are living in abandoned buildings or in squatter settlements. This is most unacceptable and requires urgent attention by the government as it relates to land reform. The theme of the 2016 World Habitat Day is “Housing at the Centre”. Interestingly, the first World Habitat Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1986 to raise awareness about the plight of the 1.6 billion people in need of adequate shelter. Disturbingly, women are at a disadvantage regarding quality and affordable housing. This issue is made worse since a significant number of women work in the home and this unpaid work renders them ineligible for a mortgage and powerless to  pay rent for themselves and their children. The United Nations has outlined seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which are geared towards transforming the world in which we live.  Goal 11, addresses the issue of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. However, there are multiple challenges including a shortage of housing stock as more and more residential houses are being converted for commercial use and purpose. It is imperative that governments draft legislation or enforce existing laws in order to zone communities and protect the housing stock which are available for people. It cannot be that the rich and powerful are allowed to transform a community or neighborhood from residential to commercial without any sanction at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. Every one of us regardless of skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, social class and or sex deserves the opportunity for a better future. There is a collective responsibility on all governments to lead the way in empowering and engendering their citizenry to achieve quality and adequate housing in order to achieve sustainable development. In the words on Ban Ki-moon “building sustainable cities and a sustainable future will need open dialogue among all branches of national, regional and local government. And it will need the engagement of all stakeholders including the private sector and civil society, and especially the poor and marginalized”.     

#WorldHabitatDay #affordablehousing #Aleppo #sustainabledevelopment #Jamaica #poverty
Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com
@WayneCamo

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Take A Stand Against Ageism

In youth we learn; in age we understand- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
The world’s population is ageing and rapidly so. According to the World Population Ageing Report of 2015, between 2015 and 2030, the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56 per cent, from 901 million to 1.4 billion. Alarmingly, by 2050, the global population of older persons is projected to more than double its size reaching nearly 2.1 billion. We therefore cannot continue to discriminate against those older members of our society since a sizeable proportion of our human capital and development rest with them. It is estimated that over the next years, the number of older persons is expected to grow fastest in Latin America and the Caribbean with a projected 71 per cent increase in the population aged 60 years or over. The 2011 census in Jamaica indicated that 305,163 Jamaicans are 60 years and over. It must be noted that women tend to outlive men for many reasons and as a result women account for 54 per cent of the global population aged 60 years or over. In 2014, governments around the world adopted a resolution at the Economic and Social Council that recognized ageism as the driving force behind age discrimination. Each year on October 1, the world community pauses to commemorate the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP). The day is set aside to raise awareness of the negative stereotypes and misconceptions which exist about older persons and ageing. The theme this year is “Take a Stand against Ageism”. Ageism is a widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that has its genesis in the cultural norms and mores of most societies which places little value on the care and protection of the elderly often leading to the abuse of the older person. Unfortunately, we live in a world where emphasis and premium is placed on youth and in fact millions of dollars are spent on cosmetics, surgical and medical interventions to remain young and we seek the fountain of youth at all cost . The failure of governments and societies to tackle ageism undermines the human rights of the older person and places limitations on their ability to contribute to the social, cultural and political life in their society. Issues such as affordable health care and housing need to be addressed for the elderly. We need to engender a culture and society in which we view the elderly with respect having a reservoir of knowledge and expertise in their chosen fields of endeavour. Let us not judge anyone based on their age. Let us embrace the theme of the International Day of the Older Person and take a stand against ageism. Let us be mindful that if we live long enough we too will one day become old. We should not define each other by a mere number. Discrimination has no place in the 21st century and is unacceptable in any form. In the words of Satchel Paige, ‘age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter’.  
Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com
@WayneCamo
#YearsAhead #ageism #discrimination #Jamaica #UNIDOP