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Story Highlights

  • JSIF has spent over $10 billion to implement upwards of 1,600 projects in four parishes, under the European Union (EU) funded, Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP).
  • Approximately 1.6 million Jamaicans from 544 communities have, to date, benefitted under the programme.
  • Its implementation also supports the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) implementation of the Government’s Community Renewal Programme (CRP), which focuses on delivering a range of infrastructure and human development projects in these parishes.

The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has spent over $10 billion to implement upwards of 1,600 projects in four parishes, under the European Union (EU) funded, Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP).

Approximately 1.6 million Jamaicans from 544 communities have, to date, benefitted under the programme, which is in its third phase (PRP III), has been channelled through engagements undertaken in education, transportation, health, security, environment, agriculture, and tourism in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, and St. James.

Its implementation also supports the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) implementation of the Government’s Community Renewal Programme (CRP), which focuses on delivering a range of infrastructure and human development projects in these parishes.

Speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank Forum, at the agency’s head office, in Kingston, JSIF’s Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said the PRP interventions contribute directly to the administration’s achievement of local and international development targets.

He said locally, JSIF is helping to attain the outcomes of the country’s long-term National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, which will position the nation to attain developed country status within 15 years and, in the process, make it the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.

These outcomes, Mr. Sweeney outlined, relate to the attainment of a healthy and stable population; world class education and training; effective social protection; safety and security; strong economic infrastructure; internationally competitive industry structures; sustainable management and use of environmental and natural resources; and hazard risk reduction and adaption to climate change.

Mr. Sweeney said JSIF is also helping to position Jamaica internationally, to meet the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in relation to ending poverty and hunger; attaining universal education up to the primary level; improving child and maternal health; and environmental sustainability.

In this regard, the JSIF Managing Director lauded residents in the beneficiary communities for their invaluable contribution to the success of projects, while noting that for most of these engagements, they are expected to contribute 10 per cent of the total cost, in cash or kind.

“They contribute through discounted or free labour and arranging storage of material (among other inputs). So they do feel a part of the project because they are contributing, and they take ownership. We welcome their continued support for more successful projects to come,” Mr. Sweeney added.

Meanwhile, PRP Programme Manager in Jamaica, Dr. Eleanor Henry, underscored the importance of maintaining JSIF implemented projects, and the role of the community in that regard.

“One main focus for the projects is sustainability. We need to see that once we invest in a project, 10 years later we want it to continue and benefit more than those who we have initially intended,” she said.

She outlined that for 10 of projects implemented by JSIF, five representatives have been placed on maintenance training programmes, and are currently engaged in discussions with all related regulatory agencies, including: the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), and National Works Agency (NWA).

“So essentially it is a rigorous programme, assessing how they will maintain their facility weekly, quarterly, monthly, (and under) pre-hurricane arrangements, because a number of the schools are used as shelters in the hurricane, (as well as) how they arrange things so that persons in shelters do not interrupt the business of the school,” she explained.

Dr. Henry advised that following the training exercise, each participant receives a tool-kit containing a wheel borrow, broom, bucket, and garbage bags, “the kind of basic package you would need to start maintaining a building.”

She further informed that the representatives also prepare an initial maintenance plan which is ratified by JSIF, adding that the Programme Management Unit of the Poverty Reduction Programme conducts periodic follow-up monitoring to track their progress.