KINGSTON — The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has embarked on a series of activities islandwide, aimed at heightening awareness and understanding of Jamaica’s National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica.
Central to these efforts is the publication and dissemination of an 88-page popular version of the original 400-page document, which was unveiled at the Vision 2030 Jamaica launch of the planning process at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, in 2007.
The provisions of the Vision 2030 – Jamaica National Development Plan are intended to position the nation to attain developed country status by 2030 and, in the process, make it the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
Programme Manager for Vision 2030 Jamaica at the PIOJ, Richard Lumsden, tells JIS News that the 88-page version summarises the original document in a more user-friendly, visual, and graphic way, “to make sure that we communicate the message of Vision 2030 Jamaica to as many Jamaicans as possible."
Over 35,000 copies of the popular version have been published since its unveiling last year, of which presentations have been made to key stakeholders, including the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the private sector, civil society, schools, and community groups.
“Among the main ones is the Ministry of Education. We gave them 10,000 copies last year, and they intend to use (those) in the roll-out of their Citizenship Education Programme in primary and high schools islandwide,” Mr. Lumsden informs.
Additionally, he says private schools, through the Jamaica Independent Schools Association (JISA), have also been presented with copies of the document.
The Programme Manager discloses that 530 copies were also presented to the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), describing this as pivotal to the PIOJ’s sensitisation effort.
“They have been partners in the planning process, from the very beginning, participating in the task forces that helped to prepare the plan. And, of course, through their network of parish libraries, branch libraries (and) book mobiles islandwide, they have already played an important role in distributing the main documents, the Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan (400-page document), and the Medium Term Socio-Economic Framework (MTF), which sets out the priorities for each three-yearly period to 2030,” he outlines.
Mr. Lumsden says the PIOJ has also been staging a series of training workshops, in collaboration with the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), pointing out that 16 of these were held between November 2010 and February 2011.
“One was held in 11 of the parishes, three in St. Catherine and two in Kingston and St. Andrew, with SDC field officers and community group leaders, to familiarise them with the Plan through the popular version, and how to use it to inform and educate community members of the key elements of the plan, and how to apply it at the community and grassroots, as well as parish levels,” he adds.
The PIOJ’s Vision 2030 Communications Specialist, who spearheads the sensitisation thrust, Carmen Miller, explains that a public education programme for
schools and community groups is currently being developed by representatives of the PIOJ, Ministry of Education, and SDC.
“So, what we are doing right now is planning what we call an edutainment programme for the schools and community groups. We are planning to do it regionally for schools, and on a parish basis at the community level. We will be targeting all schools according to the regions of the Ministry of Education. Additionally, when we roll out the edutainment programme, we will reach community groups through collaboration with the SDC at the parish level,” she tells JIS News.
“This will include the Parish Councils, key groups in the communities, such as faith-based organisations (FBOs), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), so that persons of influence, in civil society, can have access to the information and help to inform and educate others as to their role in the whole implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the plan,” Ms. Miller says.
She points out that efforts are also being made to reproduce the popular version of the Vision 2030 Jamaica Plan in other formats, to complement the 88-page publication.
“So, we have, through the Special Education Unit of the Ministry of Education, produced about 500 copies in Braille for distribution, through the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), and the agencies/organisations that assist the visually challenged in our society; and we are in the process of producing ‘talking books’ (similar to a cassette/compact). We will also be producing short video clips that will outline the information in a way that is more accessible to a broader target audience. These will be disseminated via YouTube, as well as on television, and in small group presentations,” Ms. Miller notes.
“Additionally, we have put the information on compact discs, so persons can have access to that. We also have a dedicated website: www.vision2030.gov.jm, where persons can access information on all aspects of the plan. We have (also) set up a Facebook page, so persons who are familiar with it, can just sign in to Vision 2030 Jamaica, and they will have access to the information,” she informs.
Ms. Miller says feedback on the popular version of the Vision 2030 Jamaica document has been “tremendous,” pointing out that “people welcome the smaller, more concise, simpler version of the plan."
She says the PIOJ’s collaboration with the SDC will underpin a mechanism to enhance the feedback methodology being utilised.
“What we plan to do is to have research undertaken, to secure feedback as to how much persons have learnt, (and) what the plan means to them. Additionally, when we go to the workshops, we talk to persons. While we have a few skeptics, the overwhelming response is that persons are willing to do whatever they can to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business,” she says.
An agency in the Office of the Prime Minister, the PIOJ leads the process of policy formulation on economic and social issues, and external co-operation management, to achieve sustainable development for the people of Jamaica.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter