- The Kitson Town Community Development Committee (CDC), in St. Catherine, is putting together an economic enterprise to earn from some of the fruits produced in the area, at the $15 million resource centre now under construction.
- The facility is to be located at the Kitson Town Resource Centre (KTRC), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
- Past Chairman of the CDC, Donna-Marie Daley notes that the initiative has received tangible support from the USAID and the Social Development Commission (SDC).
The Kitson Town Community Development Committee (CDC), in St. Catherine, is putting together an economic enterprise to earn from some of the fruits produced in the area, at the $15 million resource centre now under construction.
The community and its surroundings are known for mangoes and other crops, much of which are not developed into profit making enterprises, but Immediate Past Chairman of the CDC, Donna-Marie Daley, informs that with help from the Scientific Research Council (SRC), they are going to make a new turn in the area.
“We will be having a Social Enterprise (SE) that is going to drive the productive aspect of Kitson Town. That is where we are starting,” she tells JIS News.
The facility is to be located at the Kitson Town Resource Centre (KTRC), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“Kitson Town is a farming community. We have natural resources, we have mangoes that go to waste, and we plant a lot of cassava, so our kitchen, which will be started at the SE, will first utilize these products. Kitson Town will be on the map for big and better things,” the former CDC head says.
Mrs. Daley notes that the initiative has received tangible support from the USAID and the Social Development Commission (SDC).
“We had the vision for it, but I never knew it would be so soon. We could not have done it without the people who started as forerunners – Mitzie Gordon, Tyrone Napier, Elizabeth Barton, and the SDC officer, Norda Lyons,” she adds.
Mrs. Daley is appealing to the young persons in the communities to utilize the Resource Centre, being constructed on the compound of the Kitson Town Baptist Church. “This is for them. It is a legacy that the older persons have started. We want them to use it, and to build on it to empower themselves,” she adds.
President of the Kitson Town Citizens’ Association, Elizabeth Barton, tells JIS News that she never lost hope for the transformation of the community.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Kitson Town. The Citizens’ Association and the SDC…we are mere stewards. It is for the young people, and we would like for them not to squander the opportunity,” she says.
Head of the Kitson Town Baptist Church, Rev. Norva Rodney, says allocation of the land for the centre was an easy decision for the church.
“We saw this as fitting neatly into what we have been seeking to do over the past years. The church is open to facilitate the needs of persons who are not necessarily church oriented,” he notes.
Technical Specialist with the Community Renewal Programme (CRP), at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Charmaine Muirhead, says the role of the residents are critical in “the transformation that we are focusing on, and we are happy that USAID is here to give a hand.”
The police, represented by Deputy Superintendent, Hector Cummings, also lauds the establishment of the centre.
“I am sure that there will be an opportunity for the police to be much more involved with the community. It is about bringing the police to the citizens, and we embrace this,” he says, adding that in all communities where such facilities exist, security will improve.
Principal of the Kitson Town All Age School, Nerica Powell-Hay, tells JIS News that she is excited about the resource centre. “It will be beneficial to the young people in the community, as some students are desirous of skills training,” she says.
“With a resource centre here, we can channel those children in that programme; also, with a homework programme on board, it will strengthen the work that we are doing at the all age school,” Mrs. Powell-Hay points out.
For her part, Community Development Officer with the SDC, Norda Lyons, says with the training that her agency has provided, “I am very confident that the community has been prepared to make sure that this project works. The SDC has been here from the start, and we are going to be here.”
In the meantime, USAID Mission Director to Jamaica, Denise A. Herbol, tells JIS News that with the centre being utilized for economic activities, “the community will be better positioned to create more social value.”
Adding that the centre will be equipped with water catchment facilities, solar panels, and environmentally safe waste disposal capabilities, Miss Herbol says it will be a “climate resilient structure that is able to weather torrential rainfall, prolonged droughts, hurricane force winds, increased temperatures and extended electrical power supply disruptions,”
Under Phase Two of its Community Empowerment and Transformation Project (COMET II), the USAID is providing $330 million in grant assistance to targeted community activities
The Small Grants Programme provides direct funding to community groups, faith-based organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society organizations, to assist in strengthening local governance structures, and to improve safety and security, particularly in volatile and vulnerable areas.