KRC Tackles Poverty Through Action Research Initiative


The Kingston Restoration Company (KRC) is helping to tackle poverty in poor urban communities across Jamaica through its Action Research Initiative (ARI), which was launched last year to explore ways to improve poverty alleviation projects.
Research Programme Manager for the ARI, Alain Williams, said the conceptualization of the ARI was a direct response to a programme known as the Jamaica Urban Poverty Project (JUPP), which the KRC launched in 1997 to facilitate sustained improvements in the quality of life for residents of poor urban communities in Jamaica.
Mr. Williams was speaking at a recent forum titled ‘Partnerships for the Alleviation of Poverty’, organized by the KRC as part of its ARI project. The forum was held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.
The Research Programme Manager observed that the community of Jones Town in Southern St. Andrew was selected as JUPP’s pilot project and the programme’s co-ordinators sought to rebuild community life, strengthen the capacity of the KRC and community-based organizations to respond to poverty issues and transplants the lessons learnt to other areas.
“In pursuit of these outputs,” Mr. Williams remarked, “the JUPP, through the KRC, has elaborated five themes drawn from KRC’s distinctive value chain, which guide its activities. These are environment and shelter; education for change; enterprise development and income generation; safer communities; and community and institutional capacity building.”
He told the audience at the forum that while for the most part JUPP had proven successful, “challenges faced ensure that there are still fundamental poverty issues in the target communities, yet to be substantially addressed,” which gave rise to the need for a project to combat such teething pains.
Following a review conducted in 2001, it was agreed that more data would be necessary if JUPP, whose funding and technical assistance came from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Department (DFID), was to prove effective.
Mr. Williams said in response, the ARI unit became operational in 2003 within the KRC, with funding also being derived from DFID and support from the Universities of the West Indies and Technology.
According to him, the mandate of the ARI “is to explore and clearly identify blockages and bottlenecks to the successful implementation of poverty alleviation programmes and the formulation of effective and workable solution strategies and policies to address these issues.”
To achieve its objectives, the ARI focuses on five key areas: legal and secure access to land by the urban poor, access to improved shelter in inner-city communities, enterprise development and job creation, social capital formation in the alleviation of urban poverty, and private/public partnership in poverty alleviation. Research documents to detail findings in the listed areas will be prepared, Mr. Williams said.

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