What is #OutLoudJa?

OutLoudJa is an initiative of Equality For All Foundation (EFAF) designed and implemented since 2017 to build the capacity of LGBT Jamaicans and allies to share their lived experiences and speak on diverse social justice issues. Our #OutLoudJA ambassadors are equipped to use their  stories to increasing the critical awareness of the experiences of LGBT Jamaicans.
#OutLoudJA ambassadors are trained using our Speakers’ Bureau training curriculum which gives the capacity to tell authentic stories while centring them in a discussion on human rights. All ambassadors can share their stories and use them to raise awareness among the general public as well as with key decision-makers and stakeholders of how homophobia and transphobia impact their full enjoyment of rights, privileges and services in Jamaica. Ambassadors can also use their stories of human rights abuses to help to raise awareness among legislators, opinion leaders, the media, service providers, political leaders and key decision-makers on the need to strengthen accountability mechanisms. This is to ensure that rights violations are being taken seriously at the level of individual institutions.

A trained #OutLoudJA ambassador is expected to use the knowledge and platform afforded them to speak out loud and advance the welfare of LGBT Jamaicans.

What are ESC Rights?

Economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) are those human rights relating to basic human needs and conditions needed to live a life of dignity and freedom.
These include the right to:

  • work
  • adequate food
  • adequate housing
  • education
  • health care
  • social security
  • participation in cultural life
  • water and sanitation

The right to work, for example, is concerned with just and favorable conditions of work, which includes fair wages, equal pay for equal work, and equal remuneration for work of equal value. They form a part of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights to which Jamaica has been party-state since 1975. This places an obligation on the government to take active steps to progressively make these rights a reality for each and every.

What is 'Promoting the Protection of Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) Rights of LGBT Jamaicans'?

Over the next three years, EFAF will be implementing our EU-funded project “Promoting the Protection of Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) Rights of LGBT Jamaicans”.

While economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) are important for all members of society, key populations such as the LGBT community, PLHIV and persons with disabilities are often at a disadvantage in accessing these rights.

A review of the National Policy on Poverty and the Social Protection Strategy commissioned by EFAF in 2017 highlighted, among other things, the failure of both the policy and strategy to address the root causes of poverty as a structural issue and merely shift blame of poverty on the weakness of the individual. Similarly, an assessment of the available social protection services conducted in the same year, highlighted that there was a general lack of awareness and misinformation about the services offered by the Government of Jamaica, particularly among the LGBT community.

Additionally, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in reviewing Jamaica’s compliance with the ICESCR in 2013 noted, among other things, the absence of a universal social security scheme, the absence of data on the extent of homelessness and lack of effective programmes and policies to address the issue as well as the failure to take adequate legislative steps to address discrimination faced by LGBT persons and persons with disabilities.

The project has four specific objectives, as follows:

  1. Improving existing social support services to make them more LGBT-friendly;
  2. Increasing awareness of the challenges faced by LGBT Jamaicans and the consequential limitation of their enjoyment of ESC rights;
  3. Improving civil society participation in ESC rights advocacy;
  4. Raising awareness of key decision-makers across the public and private sectors of the need for legal and policy reform to ensure greater protection of ESC Rights.

The project’s target groups include social support service providers, members of civil society, politicians, parliamentarians & policymakers, members of the LGBT community and allies and the general public. Over the next three years, project activities targeting these groups will include:

  • Legal analysis of economic, social & cultural rights in Jamaica
  • An audit and evaluation of the social services in Jamaica
  • Community sensitisation sessions
  • Training of civil society actors
  • Development of an advocacy toolkit
  • Capacity building trainings with service providers
  • Speakers’ Bureau trainings
  • Public awareness campaign and activities
  • Sensitise the general public about economic, social & cultural rights
  • Advocacy publications — policy briefs, press releases, op-eds etc
  • Public Fora