British Council teams up with Women's Centre Foundation

Career & Education

British Council teams up with Women's Centre Foundation

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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In a stated intention to advance the issue of gender equity in education with a view to demonstrating how engaging youths contributes to a more egalitarian education system for the advancement of both boys and girls, the British Council took on supporting the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation in the delivery of its Parenting Transformation Workshop.

It was part of the organisation's activities to mark Child Month and was directed at providing adolescent mothers with resources that will improve their parenting skills.

The event was launched on June 4, while the workshops were staged at the Jones Town Outreach Centre in Kingston last week Tuesday to Thursday, June 5-7, under the Child Month theme A.F.F.I.R.M (Acknowledge, Friend, Favour, Influence, Respect, Motivate) Me.

Citing data from a Planning Institute of Jamaica commissioned study, Director of field operations at the Women's Center of Jamaica Beverly Martin-Berry stated that adolescent parenting is one of the major risk factors associated with early childhood development. In addition, she said, adolescent parents are not emotionally ready to become parents and their children often suffer the consequences.

“Studies on early childhood development find that adolescent mothers (19 years of age and younger) are less likely than older mothers to engage in emotionally supportive and responsive parenting. They tend to have less knowledge about child development and effective parenting, and often misjudge their infant or toddler's ability to adapt and learn,” she said.

The series of workshops then, Martin-Berry said, was designed to give teens mothers the tools to become transformative parents.

Workshop topics included: Parent and Child Communication, Parenting in a Digital Age, Family Relationships, Bonding, and the law as it relates to children.

At the June 4 launch, Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, country director of the British Council, reiterated the need for support to be offered to women at all levels especially at the adolescent level, where “parenting can be very terrifying”, and reinforced the British Council's support to the Women's Centre in this thrust.

Courtney Steadman, senior social worker at the National Parenting Support Commission, explained to the teens that as new mothers, it can't be business as usual, and urged them to embrace the principles of effective parenting. These, he said, should include love and respect of themselves and their children, as well as accountability and self-management.

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