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Residents of North Western Clarendon have been urged to organise themselves in order to benefit from development projects in their communities.
Speaking at a Constituency Development Fund (CDF) public consultation meeting held on June 5, at the Sunberry Primary School in the parish, Community Development Officer, Social Development Commission (SDC), Region 4, Anice Denton urged the residents to come together and participate in the setting up of Community Development Committees (CDCs).
The CDCs are the governing bodies of communities. They form part of the new local government structure and are designed to manage the affairs of communities and to ensure that the problems of residents reach the Parish Councils.
She pointed out that the SDC would facilitate meetings and train executive members of the group. Miss Denton added that the SDC would also teach persons how to do community profiles by instructing them on data collection and the drawing of maps.
“We train in advocacy and we train you in leadership building. We train you in conflict resolution. All we want you to do is come forward, co-operate, plan in your community and get it going,” she urged.
The Community Development Officer told residents that in order to attract financial agencies to fund development projects in their communities, they must be able to take charge of their funds.
“They want the community persons to take charge. We will train you to ensure that you can deal with money matters,” she said.
Emphasising the need for the setting up of a CDC, Miss Denton said that it was necessary in order for the community to enter the annual national Best Community Competition, aimed at encouraging community self-help activities and to establish partnerships between communities. The last competition was won by the Glengoffe CDC in St Catherine.
“There are a lot of skills here. You need to find out what you have; hence when we do the research we will find out what is here and you will know what you have and then I hope next year you will enter the Best Community Competition,” she told the residents.
“You have natural resources that you can use to develop your communities. Work with your elected representatives. Government agencies are here to help you, but if you don’t ask for the help you won’t get it,” Miss Denton added.