The island’s largest Independent Power Provider (IPP), Jamaica Energy Partners Group, is proud to announce that fifty-nine more students/teachers residing in St Catherine, Western and Eastern Kingston are the Company’s newest recipients of tablets under its tablet distribution programme. Last week, members of the Group’s Human Resources and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team granted the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Region One, thirty additional tablets, on the heels of the twenty-nine previously donated to Region Six earlier in March.
The digital initiative unfolded as part of the organisation’s response to the current pandemic to abate the educational disadvantages precipitated by the new normal. In March, the JEP Group celebrated an over 11-million-dollar ongoing partnership with its neighbouring communities focused on powering through COVID-19 since March 2020.
“Education is no education without our students,” MOE Region Six Director, Sophie Forbes-Hall, affirmed in her opening remarks at the presentation last month.
“We all acknowledge that this is a challenging time, but it is by no accident that CEO McKenzie and his team decided to reach out to the communities of St Catherine in order to support our children. As conscientious citizens, they are aware of the dilemma currently facing our children as it relates to education. We take this opportunity to laud the Jamaica Energy Partners Group, thanking them as we welcome them as a vital partner,” Mrs Forbes-Hall said.
The IPP, which includes Jamaica Energy Partners, West Kingston Power Partners and Jamaica Private Power Company, appropriates over 50% of its CSR budget towards educating youngsters from the communities mentioned above. To date, the company has donated 130 tablets for students, including PEP scholarship recipients who receive up to J$50,000 per year, to assist with funding the completion of their secondary studies.
The Group’s Corporate Responsibility Manager, Melissa Newman, who delivered remarks at the tablet handover, stated, “our tablet distribution programme is one of our CSR approaches tailored to assist with restabilizing the learning process of our nation’s children. The pandemic has devastated our education system, but we endeavour to bridge the gaps, ensuring that students get the chance of a proper education.”
MOE’s Community Relations and Education Officer of Region Six, Mrs Kerene Reid-Clarke, shared how overwhelmed she was with emotions when she received Ms Newman’s call about the donation of the tablets.
“She made my day because, in the region, we have children with serious needs, and when we do the community visits, we see the need to the point where we want to go into our pockets. This is what we appreciate about Jamaica Energy Partners, we know we can’t fix the entire education system, but there is a little that we all can do – and the JEP Group is doing it. We are thankful for the gesture,” Reid-Clarke said.
The tablets donated will change the lives of teachers, basic schoolers, and students from grades 5, 6 and 10 by assisting with virtual classes and exam preparation. Other beneficiaries include teen mothers who are determined to complete high school and even matriculate at the tertiary level regardless of their situation. According to the ministry, most of these young mothers don’t always receive the financial or emotional support they need to excel. For many of them, a solid education is the only way out; as such, tablets and other digital devices go a long way in actualizing their educational pursuits.
Region One also expressed heartfelt gratitude for the assistance:
On behalf of Region One, I want to thank Jamaica Energy Partners wholeheartedly for this significant contribution towards education in our country. It is amazing when private organizations have a vision of how the country needs to develop and contribute from their resources. This means a lot to us, and I am really proud to be a Jamaican participating in such an activity. We know that with partners like the JEP Group, we can achieve a better country, a better people and all of us can do well.” – Region One Director, Mrs Dasmine Kennedy.
The Jamaica Energy Partners Group would like to say a big “you are welcome” to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. It is our pleasure to give back and advance the personal and professional growth of our youth.
This initiative contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #4 & #10, titled ‘Quality Education’ and ‘Reduced Inequalities’. The company hopes that these efforts will continue to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and “reduce inequality within and among countries” (retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals).