‘JESSE’ TO ROLL OUT IN ST LU­CIA TO TEACH CHIL­DREN ABOUT DO­MES­TIC VI­O­LENCE

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of its ed­u­ca­tional com­puter game, JESSE, in Bar­ba­dos and Gre­nada, None in 3 is de­lighted to an­nounce that com­menc­ing this month, JESSE will be im­ple­mented in the south of Saint Lu­cia, in seven schools.

JESSE was the first proso­cial game de­vel­oped by the None in 3 Cen­tre (Ni3). Ni3 is a global Re­search Cen­tre at the Univer­sity of Hud­der­s­field, UK, which cre­ates ev­i­dence-based proso­cial games to ad­dress gen­der-based vi­o­lence. It cre­ated JESSE in a two-year project (2016-18) funded by the Euro­pean Union with sup­port from the Sweet­wa­ter Foun­da­tion.

Though JESSE's story is sadly fa­mil­iar, he is ac­tu­ally unique, for he is the main char­ac­ter in a com­puter game de­signed to teach chil­dren about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, tack­ling the neg­a­tive gen­der at­ti­tudes that feed gen­der­based vi­o­lence, help­ing chil­dren to make pos­i­tive choices and build­ing em­pa­thy along the way.

The story draws on char­ac­ters, en­vi­ron­ment, di­a­logue and voices from the Caribbean and has been de­signed specif­i­cally with Caribbean young peo­ple in mind. It tack­les many dif­fer­ent is­sues in­clud­ing the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol, the ef­fects of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence on chil­dren (in­clud­ing child vi­o­lence), gen­der in­equal­ity, pos­i­tive male role mod­els, in­ter­gen­er­a­tional vi­o­lence and, through its char­ac­ters, mod­els con­flict res­o­lu­tion skills.

In July Pro­fes­sor Adele Jones (Co-Di­rec­tor of Ni3) and Dr Ena Trot­man Jem­mott (In­de­pen­dent Con­sul­tant) vis­ited Saint Lu­cia to meet with the Act­ing and Deputy Chief Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fi­cers, Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, who ex­pressed to­tal com­mit­ment to the roll-out of JESSE across all schools in the coun­try. In light of a re­cently in­tro­duced rights-based cur­ricu­lum mod­ule (Ed­u­ca­tion for Demo­cratic Cit­i­zen­ship), the in­ten­tion is for JESSE to be em­bed­ded within schools' timeta­bles and sus­tained year on year. Ini­tial roll-out in the seven schools is be­ing con­ducted by Ni3 Con­sul­tant and In­ter­na­tional Ad­vi­sory Group Mem­ber, Dr Morella Joseph.

Pro­vid­ing teach­ers with a new child-cen­tred in­ter­ven­tion for raising aware­ness of the im­pact of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and what can be done about it is im­por­tant be­cause vi­o­lence in the home is closely linked to vi­o­lence in schools.

“The re­search is clear: when chil­dren play ag­gres­sive com­puter games their be­hav­iour can be­come vi­o­lent but when they play so­cially con­sci­en­tious games, their be­hav­iour cor­re­spond­ingly im­proves. Tri­als of JESSE show that when chil­dren play the game as part of a class les­son, lev­els of aware­ness of the im­pact of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and em­pa­thy are in­creased. These re­sults are im­por­tant be­cause, as the UN states, ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes which chal­lenge at­ti­tudes that con­tribute to vi­o­lence against women are an im­por­tant strat­egy in pre­vent­ing it,” said Pro­fes­sor Adele Jones.

JESSE is de­signed pri­mar­ily for work­ing with young peo­ple in ed­u­ca­tion set­tings. How­ever it is also valu­able as a train­ing tool for pro­fes­sion­als. It comes with a user man­ual and is avail­able for free down­load on PC & An­droid de­vices and also for web­play at: http://noneinthree. hud.ac.uk/bar­ba­dos-and­grenada/jesse/.

Pro­fes­sor Adele Jones and Dr Ena Trot­man Jem­mott in a work­shop for prin­ci­pals and teach­ers from par­tic­i­pat­ing schools in Saint Lu­cia.

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