Reducing high school drop-out rate can reduce criminal behaviour — Harriott
Independent Consultant on Crime and Criminal Justice, UWI Professor Anthony Harriott, noted that a programme that comprehensively reduced the total number of school drop-outs in a population can have a direct impact on delinquency and violence in a population. He was speaking with PIOJ Community Development Specialist Antonette Richards during the 2021 staging of the Symposium of Best Practices in Social and Community Development held as a virtual event on November 10. The event video is available on the PIOJ YouTube channel.
Kingston November 13, 2021
The task of boosting the many laudable community development projects across Jamaica, from giving small-scale support to providing long-term solutions, was a major topic at the 2021 staging of the Symposium of Best Practices for Social and Community development. The event was held on November 10 by the Planning Institute of Jamaica and partners.
International expert on project scalability, Senior Advisor at Management Systems International Lawrence Cooley, urged Jamaica to get to the stage where providers deliver coverage to all individuals in a community that need it rather than short term projects with a limited scope. He said that community renewal needs solutions that are as big as the problems. “What will change the rate from incremental to exponential?” he asked, “If it is 100 communities we need to get to all 100 and everyone who needs support in that community. Helping one, two or five is good, but not enough.”
Mr Cooley gave several points on achieving scalability, such as: getting all relevant stakeholders organized with their respective roles to mobilise and empower communities; attacking the problem in a concrete way to have measureable effects at scale and across a large number of communities; keeping the intervention good enough and cheap enough to have an impact at scale; and incorporating lessons and adapting.
In his remarks, Independent Consultant on Crime and Criminal Justice, UWI Professor Anthony Harriott, noted that interventions for children are needed at scale in St James to address the social problems there. He said, “St James, every year, churns out between 1 200 to 1 500 high school drop-outs, so it is important to find a scalable programme to impact the problem of delinquency and violence. We clearly would have difficulty designing projects to scale to meet the needs of 1 400, plus the backlog of previous years, but what if we think about a prevention intervention that is designed to keep them in school? That may be more manageable. We may reduce dropouts to 400 and can have a scalable intervention to address that problem. There is need for innovative thinking not at the back end of a programme, but moving to the front.”
Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Eastern Caribbean in Advisory Services, David Rees, also contributed to the session on scalability. He noted that monitoring and evaluation should be used, including geospatial mapping, and analyzing data so that decision makers can identify the factors that are having an impact.
Addressing the inevitability of conflict that happen within collaborations was addressed by Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at the Florida International University, Alexander Kroll. He said that scalability brings groups that have different values and different priorities together and that tension is inevitable. He also said that it is important that there is a top down administrative structure but bottom-up participation so that people feel involved and excited and that they are contributing meaningful ideas.
In his opening remarks, the Director General, Planning institute of Jamaica, Wayne Henry, urged implementing agencies to work together rather than in silos, do better targeting in programme designs, strive to be inclusive and ensure that each partner has a clearly defined role and submit the efforts to monitoring and evaluation, and research.
The symposium is available for replay on the PIOJ YouTube channel. The partnership with the PIOJ included the Ministry of National Security, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Social Development Commission (SDC), Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network (JDTAN); the National Commission on Violence Prevention and the National Housing Trust (NHT).