Representatives of the European Commission’s (EC) Delegation to Jamaica and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) signed contracts and broke ground for a multi-million dollar expansion project at the Maverley Primary and Junior High School, Kingston, on Wednesday (September 16)
Head of the EC Delegation, Ambassador Marco Mazzochi Alemanni; Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings; Member of Parliament for North West St. Andrew, where the project is located, Derrick Smith; and representatives of the contractor, Tankweld (Construction) Company Limited , inked the deal during a ceremony at the school.
The project, which will cost some $30 million, will involve the construction of four classrooms and a resource room over a five-month period. The resource room will be used to administer reading classes for children with special needs in this area. It will cater to youngsters in Maverley, as well as neighbouring communities such as Olympic Gardens, Cassava Piece, Drewsland and Waterhouse.
Main source of funding is a $23 million grant from the EC under its Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP) II initiative. Members of the Maverley community committed the remaining $7 million, through a range of resources, representing 25 per cent of the cost. Project implementation is being spearheaded by JSIF.
Head of the European Commission Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Mazzochi Alemanni (second right), along with Member of Parliament for North West St. Andrew, Derrick Smith (right), and Managing Director of Tankweld (Construction) Company Limited, Jerome Gayle (left), sign documents for the construction of four classrooms and a resource room at the Maverley Primary and Junior High School, Kingston, on Wednesday (September 16). Looking on is Managing Director of the project implementing agency, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Scarlette Gillings, who also co-signed.
In a brief address, Mrs. Gillings described the project as a “testimony” of what can happen when Government, international donor agencies, communities and families come together to improve lives.
Alluding to the residents’ input into the development, she said that this would include: provision of the land; electricity and water connections; storage and security of the construction material and equipment; landscaping on the completion of the project; and discounted labour.
“Today is about partnerships that bring about transformation. We have come together because we all understand that quality education is everyone’s responsibility,” Mrs. Gillings noted.
She said that the JSIF, on behalf of the Government, was pleased to be partnering with the EU and the Maverley Primary and Junior High School Parent/Teachers Association (PTA) to improve and expand the educational facilities and services at the school.
“We believe that for a project to be successful, communities must be willing to work hand in with our organisation. And, by getting involved in the socio-economic structure, community members will have a vested interest in the success of the projects,” she added.
Ambassador Alemanni noted that, while the EC has contributed to undertakings at the national level, including crime reduction initiatives, it wanted to do something at the community level, as well.
“This is why we have a programme, the Poverty Reduction Programme, that has over J$1 billion to help communities, such as yours,” he said.
In his address, Mr. Smith thanked the EC for its support, and implored the residents to assist in the smooth implementation of the project, in order to facilitate timely completion.
Regional Director in the Ministry of Education, Elaine Roulston, described the project as an indication that the team at Maverley Primary and Junior High is relentless in pursuing the creation of a successful education system.
“This addition of four classrooms and an equipped resource room, will take children in this community closer to the realisation of that100 per cent target,” she said.
The EU’s Poverty Reduction Programme II, which commenced in 2007, is a joint five-year initiative with the Government, designed to increase participation of marginalised communities in the choice and implementation of projects, and to improve living conditions.