JIS News

Since its inception in 1996, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has successfully completed 469 projects throughout the most underserved areas of the island with some 619 projects approved to date representing a total investment of $3.1 billion.
This is contained in the JSIF’s 2003/04 annual report, which was tabled recently in the House of Representatives. During the review period, the Fund approved a total of 63 sub-projects with a value of $496 million, while 58 projects at an approximate cost of $212 million were completed.
In addition, some $415 million was disbursed on sub-projects, representing an increase of 24 per cent compared to the previous fiscal year. In fact, the report indicated, 81 per cent of all disbursements for the year were for sub-projects, which was above the target.
The Fund’s performance during the period was influenced by a number of changes such as a new application process and a greater time period to prepare communities to implement projects using the Community Based Contracting (CBC) method.
Through the CBC method, community based-organizations were required to take responsibility for aspects of their projects including project management, financial administration and the procurement of goods and labour.
Recognising that training was necessary to prepare communities for the additional responsibilities, JSIF held seven workshops between October 2003 and June 2004. The Fund also developed a simple instruction manual outlining the models for CBC roles, implementation and the responsibilities of the community project management committee and guidelines for executing projects.
In February of this year, JSIF signed an inter-institutional agreement with the Social Development Commission (SDC) under which the SDC has been contracted to assist communities to prepare development plans and complete JSIF applications.
Further, the Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies has been providing the necessary training for these groups to enable them to establish Benevolent Societies, which meet the necessary legal requirements.
Up to July, JSIF approved 18 CBC projects estimated at a value of $181 million. Among the more significant CBC projects that have been undertaken in the review year is the Whitfield Town Sanitation Upgrading project, the St. Leonard’s Basic school upgrading and the construction of the Galilee Basic School. The Whitfield Town Sanitation Upgrading project is being financed under a $35 million allocation from the European Union’s Poverty Reduction Progamme (PRP). Some 100 domestic sanitation units consisting of flush toilets and showers are being constructed with 70 existing units being rehabilitated. An external water supply sewer system is also being installed. Over 1,500 inner city residents are expected to benefit from the project, which was implemented in December 2003 and is to be completed by the end of 2004.
More recently, JSIF provided $5 million in financing to upgrade the St. Leonard’s Basic School in Westmoreland. The community raised funds to start work on the building and acted as project managers for the completion, which was financed by JSIF. Work on the school was completed in two phases, with phase one involving the expansion of the canteen, kitchen, staff room and principal’s office.
Meanwhile, the construction of the Galilee Basic School was the first project to be implemented and completed under the PRP. The school was constructed at a cost of $12 million, which was $1.5 million under budget. Again, the community played a significant role in the execution of the project.
The Fund’s investments are supported by funding from the Government of Jamaica and external agencies such as the World Bank, the European Union, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Netherlands, the Department for International Development (United Kingdom) and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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