The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), under its World Bank funded Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), has signed agreements to fund six community projects in Manchester and St. Elizabeth at a cost of over $24 million.
Speaking at the signing on Thursday (January 13) at the Ridgemount United Church, Manchester, REDI Project Manager with REDI, Stephanie Hutchinson-French, urged the public to play their part in ensuring the success of the ventures.
“Your role is to hold these groups accountable, and to assist them in ensuring that the sub-projects are successfully implemented and sustained overtime. This will be done by your active participation in the purchasing of goods and services offered by these groups. Tell your families, friends, home and abroad and let us eat and buy Jamaican, build the brand Jamaica and build our communities,” she stated.
The projects in the two parishes are the Porus Craft and Agricultural Association Cassava Production, Top Plowden and Wigton Sweet Potato Cultivation, Maggotty and its Environs Benevolent Society Pig Rearing, Prospect Pig Farmers Pig Rearing, Treasure Beach Women’s Group Benevolent Society Promotion and Training, and the Manchester Parish Development Committee (PDC) Equipping and Capacity Building.
World Bank Special Representative, Dr. Badrul Haque, said that the funding provided an opportunity for rural entrepreneurialism, and growth in rural economies.
“These projects demonstrate the strength of rural Jamaica, a commitment to agriculture, an ability to diversify products and innovate in traditional fields. A strong foundation in community life and the capacity to work with others for community development,” he stated.
JSIF Board member, Yvonne Frederick, said developing and sustaining the projects allow persons to access valuable products and services in their local community.
“We need to decentralize and make available, at the local level, all the support and services needed, and this is the reason for the capacity strengthening sub project with the Manchester PDC,” she said.
“This investment is expected to have multiplier effect on the economic growth and development in the respective communities and, overtime the businesses expand and include more persons within the community,” she added.
The JSIF’s REDI project is geared towards executing small-scale agriculture and tourism community-based projects in rural communities. Its main objective is to improve the earning potential of groups in the business of agriculture and tourism.
REDI is financed by a World Bank loan of US$15 million, and is being implemented by JSIF on behalf of the Government of Jamaica. It ends in 2016.
CONTACT: GARFIELD L. ANGUS
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE, MANDEVILLE