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Residents of Kendal in Manchester are being encouraged to get organised in order to effectively contribute to the development of their community.
“You need to become organised (with) people from all the different sectors within the community coming together as one people and charting and planning the way forward for the betterment of the people,” said Development Area Co-ordinator at the Social Development Commission’s (SDC) Manchester Parish Office, Oren Osbourne.
He was addressing residents at a recent meeting held in collaboration with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) at the Kendal Community Centre to discuss matters pertaining to the development of the area.
Mr. Osbourne said that the SDC is aware that there is no functioning community-based group in Kendal and that “this is begging for trouble”.
“If you do not have an organised group where the people are united and together, it is giving the opportunity for outside forces to come into this community and take charge of it,” he said, noting that all aspects of development planning will be left up to external entities.
“When people from the outside plan for you, they do not know your needs, they do not know your wants. So when they plan for you it might not impact on everybody in the community,” he pointed out.
Mr. Osbourne advised that the best way for residents to become organised is to form a broad-based community group, inclusive of farmers, business people, young people, senior citizens, church groups, among others.
The residents in the meantime, pledged to meet shortly in order to elect executive members for a Community Development Committee (CDC) and, following that exercise, to have another meeting involving the SDC, to begin discussions on development plans for the community.
The SDC is the agency of the Government that is charged with creating and strengthening mechanisms for the involvement of civil society in the management of their affairs at the community and the national levels.
The SDC actively works with 785 communities, 4,000 districts, more than 5,000 community-based organisations and approximately 300 CDCs in Jamaica.

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