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KINGSTON — Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Michael Stern, is encouraging Jamaicans to build and maintain community groups, in order to receive funding for sustainable projects.

Speaking recently in Smithville, North West Clarendon, where the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), broke ground for the rehabilitation of the Top Quarter Road at a cost of $30 million, Mr. Stern told the gathering that the Member of Parliament’s (MP) role is not to collect and put agencies' money in the hands of individuals in communities.

"The Member of Parliament only pushes and get them (funding agencies) to give priority to your community based organisations, such as the citizen association, the youth clubs, and the farmers' groups," he said.

Mr. Stern, who is MP for the area, pointed out that many local and international organisations will only provide money for viable projects in communities, and urged that residents stay clear of partisan affiliation, as that can jeopardise and put their credibility into question, thereby preventing them from getting projects approved by the agencies.

The JSIF mobilises resources and channels these into community-based socio-economic infrastructure and social service projects. Through a national partnership among central and local government, communities and private/public organisations, the JSIF addresses the immediate demands of communities in a manner that is quick, efficient, effective, transparent and non-partisan.

In fulfilling its mandate, the JSIF facilitates the empowerment of communities and assists in building national capacity to effectively implement community-based programmes aimed at social development.

During the last financial year, the agency approved a record 166 sub-projects, funded at a cost of $1.26 billion. The JSIF was established as a component of the Government’s national poverty alleviation strategy.

 

By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter

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