JIS News

The Social Development Commission (SDC) is inviting applications for the annual National Best Community Competition and Programme (NBCCP).

The deadline for submission is March 2012.

Director of Governance, SDC, Sherine Walker Francis told JIS News that any of the island’s 783 Community Development Committees (CDCs) as identified by the SDC can participate in the competition.

“This year’s competition is now opened. I encourage all Community Development Committees to enter and keep volunteerism alive in your community. We can all work to build Jamaica one community at a time,” she said.

Application forms and guidelines for the Competition can be collected at the SDC’s Regional Offices island wide and at its head office on Camp Road, Kingston. Upon completion, the forms must be returned to the regional offices for verification before they are sent to the Steering Committee of the NBCCP.

Communities are encouraged to approach private sector businesses and public sector organisations, and funding institutions to assist them with grant funding or other forms of assistance including in kind, technical and professional help for various types of projects, programmes and for training and education.

Mrs. Walker Francis is advising community leaders to send in their applications early so that there is adequate time to implement their proposed activities. She noted that projects or programmes would have to be fully implemented and “on-going” before they could be judged.

“They would have to start the programme and have it going so that when the judges come, they actually have something to judge,” she added.                                                       

Mrs. Walker Francis explained that CDCs will be vying for first, second and third place prizes in eight categories. In addition to the top prizes awarded at the parish and national levels of the Competition, special area prizes are awarded for the Best Kept Community Facilities; Most Beautiful community; Most Improved Agricultural Practices; Best Community Spirit and Self-reliance; Youth Development; Best Kept Educational Institution; and the Best Cultural and Heritage Programme.

In the 2010-2011 competition , some 49 CDCs won prizes valued at over $17 million. The money was used in developmental programmes and projects, such as training, loan schemes, and agricultural projects for economic enablement of residents. Funds were also used for education to improve literacy and employment and to develop open areas, schools, parks, roads, historic sites, and beach parks.

The Governance Director said that SDC plays a critical role in working with the CDCs and community groups at various stages of the Competition. She stated that Community Development Officers assigned to the parishes work with community groups to ensure projects are implemented according to plan/schedule, and assist them in preparing and making reports on progress of implemented projects for donors as well as on records for transparency and sustainability.

The NBCCP is a community-based initiative, which seeks to establish partnerships between communities and those who have technical, professional, spiritual, educational and financial capabilities. The objective is to assist communities in achieving sustainable development and encourage community self help activities.

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